A Summit to Put Research to Work: Speaker Bios - Digital Promise

A Summit to Put Research to Work: Speaker Bios


Martha Kanter
New York University
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Kara Chesal
Innovate NYC
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Kristin De Vivo
Lucas Education Research
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David Dwyer
Education Technology Consultant
Formerly at USC Rossier School of Education
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Bart Epstein
Jefferson Education Accelerator
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Martha J. Kanter is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education and Senior Fellow at New York University. Her academic interests include: The Confluence of Access, Equity and Excellence; The Intersection of Policy and Politics in American Higher Education; and The Contributions of America’s Community Colleges to the Nation’s Social Fabric, Civic Future and Economy. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Kanter to serve as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, with oversight responsibility for all federal postsecondary statutory, regulatory and administrative policies and programs for the U.S. Department of Education, including the $175B annual federal student aid programs, higher education, adult education, career-technical education, international education and six White House Initiatives. Through the first term of the Obama Administration, Kanter and her team focused on increasing college access, affordability, quality and completion to implement President Obama’s goal to have the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by 2020. She oversaw the successful implementation of the Direct Student Loan program that resulted in a 50-percent increase in college enrollment, growing from six to more than nine million students today who are Pell Grant recipients. Previously, Kanter served as President of De Anza College and then Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District for sixteen years. She began her career as an alternative high school teacher. She holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from Brandeis University, an M.Ed. from Harvard University and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. More info

Kara Chesal is the Director of Innovate NYC Schools for the Office of Innovation (iZone) at the NYC Department of Education. Kara joined the iZone shortly after its launch four and a half years ago and leverages her knowledge of research and design to launch pilots with internal teams, early-stage companies, researchers, and educators. By better aligning these stakeholders, the iZone is leading the nation in building a network and the capacity to sustain an education innovation cluster. Kara’s research interests include behavioral insights and decision-making in education technology, and policy informatics. Kara holds a master’s degree in Economics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a dual bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Economics and Science, Technology, and Society Studies. She enjoys volunteering and is passionate about improving access and success in technology and engineering education for young women. More info

Kristin De Vivo is the first Executive Director of Lucas Education Research, founded in 2013 as a sister division to Edutopia at the George Lucas Educational Foundation. The division’s mission and strategy, developed by Ms. De Vivo, focuses on building an evidence base to support transformative practices in K–12 education. The group’s specific five-year strategy focuses on building an evidence base for rigorous project based learning by employing design-based implementation research. Innovative methods for conducting research incorporate the use of a web portal to disseminate project based learning curricula, collect teachers’ adaptations, build community, support teachers, and gather analytics. Before heading Lucas Education Research, Ms. De Vivo served as Vice President of Research and Validation at Scholastic Inc., from 2003 to 2013. During her tenure at Scholastic, Ms. De Vivo implemented a continuous research and evaluation cycle that strategically improved the company’s blended-model interventions, setting the highest-quality benchmarks for research in educational publishing. Before joining Scholastic, Ms. De Vivo worked at two education-related start-ups in the Bay Area: LeapFrog Enterprises and Scientific Learning. In each case, Ms. De Vivo developed the research strategy from the earliest start-up phase through an initial public offering. Prior to this work, Ms. De Vivo conducted extensive neuropsychological and achievement testing with young children and adults at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and at the University of California at San Francisco. She received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. More info

David C. Dwyer is currently enjoying time with his family, but is a consultant for educational technology projects he believes can make a difference. Previously he was the first holder of the Katzman-Ernst Chair for Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at USC’s Rossier School of Education from 2009-2014, culminating almost 40 years of experience as an industry leader, researcher, and educator. Dr. Dwyer served as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at KD Learning, where he developed an imaginative virtual world, engaging a quarter-million children. He was Chief Academic Officer at Apex Learning, where he led the development of an award winning, full four-year digital high school curriculum. As Apple’s Director of Educational Technologies, he led the development and implementation of the Apple Learning Interchange, a media-rich repository for examples of outstanding teaching practice. From 1986 to 1996, Dr. Dwyer was the director of the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) project. During that same period as an Apple Distinguished Scientist, he collaborated with leading research institutions to document changes in instruction and learning in technology-intensive classrooms, demonstrated technical innovations in education settings, and advised education policy leaders and educators internationally. Dr. Dwyer was also Founder and CEO at Edpoint, Inc. and Vice President for Advanced Learning Technologies at Computer Curriculum Corporation. He began his career as a middle and high school science teacher over eleven years and instructed pre-service science education courses at several St. Louis area universities. He received his Ph.D. specializing in innovation and change in schools, school organizations, and program development from Washington University in St. Louis in 1981. More info

Bart Epstein is Founding CEO of the Jefferson Education Accelerator and Research Associate Professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. For many years Bart has run, advised, served on the board, and/or owned stakes in a variety of startup and growth-stage education companies. Prior to founding the Jefferson Education Accelerator he helped build the world’s largest online tutoring and homework help service, Tutor.com, which he helped sell to IAC in 2012. Bart has mentored and coached scores of CEOs and growing companies through his work with the Grubstakes Breakfast, as a guest lecturer at the Georgetown University MBA program, as a mentor and judge for the Startup Weekend EDU program, and now at the Jefferson Education Accelerator. Bart received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his extensive (and ongoing) work leading what is known as the most efficient charity in the country (Gifts for the Homeless, in Washington, DC), and for his work as a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight. More info

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