Alan November - Keynote Speaker

Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor. While Alan was a computer science teacher in Lexington, Mass, he was probably the first teacher in the world to have a student project online in 1984, a database for the handicapped. 

He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant, and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments, and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology. Audiences enjoy Alan's humor and wit as he pushes the boundaries of how to improve teaching and learning. His areas of expertise include planning across curriculum, staff development, new school design, community building, and leadership development. He has delivered keynotes and workshops in all fifty states, across Canada, and throughout the UK, Europe, Asia, and Central America.

Each summer Alan leads the Building Learning Communities summer conference with world-class presenters and international participants. Visit novemberlearning.com/blc for more details.

Julie Evans - Featured Speaker

Julie Evans has been the CEO of Project Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.org) since 1999. Prior to this position, Ms. Evans enjoyed a successful 17-year career in sales and marketing management with Unisys and two education technology startups. Ms. Evans is a graduate of Brown University and serves on the Board of Directors of Project Tomorrow, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the TechAmerica Foundation and the Children First Advisory Council. She has also served on the Advisory Boards for the 2009 Horizon K-12 Report and the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Horizon Higher Education Reports. Ms. Evans is a frequent speaker, writer and commentator on children, education, science and technology issues.   

In April 2008, Ms. Evans was named as one of the Top Ten Most Influential People in Education Technology over the past 10 years by eSchool News, a leading national publication. 

Lucy Gray - Featured Speaker

Named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005, Lucy Gray has worked in the field of education for nearly 20 years. Her career began as a primary grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. For the past 10 years, she has worked at the University of Chicago in a variety of capacities related to educational technology. 

Lucy is now an independent education consultant, working with a variety of institutions and businesses on 21st century learning initiatives. Lucy is a seasoned conference and workshop presenter, and has developed curriculum materials for a variety of companies. Her varied professional interests include digital equity issues, information literacy, global education, multimedia development, and the incorporation of social media technologies into educational settings.

Steve Dembo - Featured Speaker

A former kindergarten teacher and school Director of Technology, Discovery Education’s Director of Social Media Strategy and Online Community Steve Dembo is a pioneer in the field of educational social networking. Among the first educators to realize the power of Web 2.0 technologies to create professional learning communities, Dembo has been instrumental in the explosive growth of the Discovery Educator Network and its online presence at http://community.discoveryeducation.com/

In addition to demonstrating continued innovation in serving Discovery Education’s online community, Dembo continues to be a prolific blogger whose personal blog and companion podcast, Teach42, has served as inspiration for tens of thousands of educators around the world.

Jennie Magiera - Featured Speaker

Jennie Magiera is a 4th-5th grade math teacher and a Math/Technology Coach at National Teachers Academy. She received her B.A. in Psychology & History at Columbia University, then attained her M.S.T. in Mathematics Education at University of Illinois-Chicago. When Jennie is not in the classroom, she writes curriculum, speaks at conferences and leads workshops for various organizations.

In 2008, Jennie was named a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction and subsequently helped to co-found and run the GA Teachers for Tomorrow annual conferences. She is currently involved in the University of Chicago Teacher Leadership Institute for Math and Science and served this summer as an Everyday Mathematics curriculum fellow.

Last year, Jennie began implementing a 1:1 iPad technology grant. She has enjoyed using this innovative technology to improve assessment practices and increase differentiation. This year she is overseeing an expansion of this grant to 9 other classrooms in her building. Recently she was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and has been exploring best practices in technology integration as a part of this community. Aside from her students, Jennie's great loves in life are sci fi, mashed potatoes, Tabasco sauce, her dog and her husband.

Todd Yarch - Featured Speaker

Todd Yarch graduated from Michigan State University in 1998 and began his career as a Social Studies Teacher at Simeon Career Academy on Chicago's Southside. After leading many initiatives to increase digital and online instruction during his eight years at Simeon, he was accepted into New Leaders for New Schools, an urban principal preparation program. His passion for creating great learning opportunities for students through digital instruction led him to being selected as VOISE's founding principal in 2008. VOISE is a Chicago public school that practices a blended learning method of instruction. In its third year of existence, VOISE has become the model for blended learning in CPS and has spurred the creation of several online learning models within the district.  

John Connolly - Featured Speaker
John Connolly serves as the Education Technology Director for the Chicago Public Schools.In his role, he manages and coordinates the instructional technology initiatives for the third largest district in the US. This includes technology integration programs such as the nationally known iPad implementation, innovative technologies, digital media, video conferencing, professional development, online learning, Internet safety, and grant opportunities.  His passion and innovation for using technology to transform teaching and learning has been recognized by the US DOE.

He has 11 years experience with enterprise wide technology solutions and served as a consultant for Cleveland, Columbus, and Wichita school districts prior to joining CPS.  John has played a key role for CPS in the roll out of the Curriculum & Instructional Management system and the use of data to inform instruction.  He has been instrumental with the loading of digital reading content for all teachers at CPS.  His innovations and organization of the digital content have proved to be major achievements for the development of 21st century skills in the district. John is an avid sports fan and enjoys outdoor activities.

Anthony McPhearson - Featured Speaker

Anthony McPhearson is the Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Office of Information & Technology Services. In this role, Anthony is responsible for finding ways to provide technology leadership and support to the CPS community, ensuring that technology is accessible and user-friendly, ensuring that information is secure and reliable, ensuring that technology is high-quality and dependable and partnering with education thought leaders and decision makers to drive the use of new and innovative technologies. 

 Anthony has served in many senior management roles at CPS over the past eight years. He started his IT career as a college intern for the Department of Vocational Education (now the Department of Career and Technical Education) but has spent 17 of the past 18 years with the CPS IT department. His first senior management role was in 2003 as the Director of LAN Services, overseeing Local Area Network operations for the district and managing critical IT projects, including the implementation of an enterprise email system for over 400,000 students and teachers and the upgrade of the district’s time and attendance tracking application that is used by over 50,000 employees and consultants. Anthony also functioned in the role of Acting Deputy CIO and helped the department become more effective by adopting industry leading IT service management best practices, including the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework.

His entire education took place here in Chicago, including his first 13 years (K-12) as a student of the Chicago Public Schools District. He attended Kate Starr Kellogg elementary, Whitney M. Young Magnet school and DePaul University (Bachelors of Arts in Computing). Anthony also holds several technical certifications in the Information Technology field.