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Past Guest Keynote Speakers

George Couros - Keynote Speaker

George Couros

Author and Innovative Teaching, Learning and Leadership Consultant

George Couros is a leading educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning. He has worked with all levels of school--from K-12 as a teacher and technology facilitator, school and district administrator, and is the author of the book “The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity.” He is a sought-after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement and has worked with schools and organizations around the globe. George is also the creator of Connected, an initiative that brings educators and leaders together from around the world to create powerful learning opportunities for students. 

Although George is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people and what is best for learners. His belief that, meaningful change happens when you first connect to people’s hearts, is modeled in his writing and speaking. You can connect with George on his blog, “The Principal of Change” (located at or through Twitter (@gcouros). 

Melissa Dodd - Keynote Speaker

Melissa Dodd

Chief Technology Officer
San Francisco Unified School District

Melissa Dodd serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Melissa Dodd has effectively increased equity of access to technology and learning opportunities enabled by technology for students for the past 15 years in leadership roles with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and SFUSD.

At SFUSD, Ms. Dodd is charged with leading the district’s technology vision and digital district plan, Building a Digital District. The plan articulates the SFUSD’s strategy to leverage technology to transform teaching, learning, and operations to realize the goals of Vision 2025 and the SFUSD graduate profile for each and every student to thrive in the 21st century.

Prior to joining SFUSD, Ms. Dodd worked in the Boston Public Schools for more than eleven years in various capacities, including Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer. Ms. Dodd sat on the Massachusetts Board of Education Digital Learning Advisory Council and plays an active role with the Council of Great City Schools. Prior to joining BPS, she worked at Tufts and Harvard Universities managing academic programs and designing online communities of practice.

Melissa has presented nationally on the role of technology in education, including leading transformation to build digital districts, technology and data governance, and women in educational technology leadership; and published on the use of digital simulations to teach problem-solving in the social sciences.

Fluent in Spanish, Melissa has worked and traveled globally, including Spain, Latin America, and South Africa. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ms. Dodd is the 2017 CoSN Withrow Outstanding CTO of the Year and currently serves on the CoSN Board. She tweets @MelissaPDodd.

Susan Beltz - Keynote Speaker

Susan Beltz

Chief Technology Officer
Oakland Unified School District

Educated in aerospace engineering, Susan began her career as a founding engineer of a digital media management company, developing products that enabled online video as the world began to focus upon digital content. She subsequently spent more than 15 years building and managing large-scale products and solutions centered on media and data management. During this time, she supported clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50 corporations, professional sports leagues, movie studios, and internet portals. Susan joined OUSD in 2013 as the Director of Applications, responsible for planning, developing, integrating, operating and supporting the 30+ school and administrative technology applications in use at OUSD. Susan was subsequently named Interim Chief Technology Officer in late 2016, a role which became permanent in early 2017. As the Chief Technology Officer, Susan is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all operations of the Technology Services Department, including educational technology applications, administrative software and systems, network and data center infrastructure, project management, training, and support. Susan enjoys working with colleagues to deliver the technology solutions needed to support education at OUSD and is happy to be leading the talented and dedicated team members who comprise the Technology Services department.

Ellen Dorr - Keynote Speaker

Ellen Dorr

Chief Technology Officer
Renton School District

Ellen Dorr serves as the Chief Technology Officer Director for the Renton School District, where she oversees Technology Services, which includes customer service, infrastructure, and digital learning. She leads the team to provide the resources and supports to empower educators to create inclusive, equitable instruction in classrooms as well as increase efficiency and effectiveness across the district.

Previously, Ellen served as the Director of Digital Learning in Renton and the Learning Technology Manager for Highline Public Schools. In both roles, she helped to write district technology plans and ensured that supports for students learning were provided and used intentionally. She identified and planned implementation of digital tools that met specific learning needs and evaluated data on these tools, focusing support on instructional practices.

Ellen is an adjunct faculty member at Seattle Pacific University, supporting the Master in Education in Digital Education Leadership Program. She is a member of Transcend Education’s Yellow Hats League and serves on the steering committee for the Community of Innovative Practice. She is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL). She is currently working toward her doctorate in education and superintendent certification in the Leadership for Learning program at the University of Washington, which is focused on equity-focused leadership and transformation of educational systems to realize ambitious learning goals for all students.

Ellen began her career in education as an English/Language Arts teacher in a low-income, high-diversity middle school, where she served in various leadership positions and developed a strong commitment to educational equity.

Marlo Gaddis - Keynote Speaker

Marlo Gaddis

Chief Technology Officer
Wake County Public School System

Marlo Gaddis is the Chief Technology Officer for Wake County School System. Curiosity and the constant drive to make things better for others led her to uncover a passion for education and later, a love of technology. She has a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Elon College (now Elon University) where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. She also has a Masters in Instructional Technology from North Carolina State University and a Graduate Certificate from Johns Hopkins University in School Administration and Supervision. She served three other NC Districts of various sizes in the past as 21stCentury Learning Coordinator, Lead Teacher for Technology (K-5) and Media (K-12); Lead Teacher for Math, Science, Social Studies and Technology (K-5); district and school Technology Facilitator; and Kindergarten and First Grade teacher.

Marlo currently serves on advisory committees for the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Digital Learning Plan. She is a past president for NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) and Board Member of NCASA (North Carolina Association of School Administrators).

Dr. Sheryl Abshire - Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sheryl Abshire

Chief Technology Officer
Calcasieu Parish Public Schools

As the Chief Technology Officer for the Calcasieu Parish Public Schools for nineteen years, Dr. Abshire is a catalyst to initiate the integration of technology throughout the nation and internationally by providing leadership on numerous national, state and district committees focusing on the role of technology and curriculum in changing educational practice. A forty-three year veteran educator, she has worked as a school principal, K-5 teacher, library/media specialist, classroom teacher, and university professor. In 2010 she was appointed by the FCC to the USAC board representing the nation’s schools and libraries on ERATE matters. Sheryl was the 2013 National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training Community Builder Award winner for exemplary service in support of policies and practices designed to facilitate the effective integration of technology into teaching and learning across the nation’s education system. ISTE awarded Sheryl the first Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award in 2009 for her decades of work promoting educational technology.  Dr. Abshire is the past president of the Louisiana ISTE affiliate – LACUE where she presently serves as the Vice President of Advocacy and Programs. She was the first teacher inducted into our country’s National Teachers’ Hall of Fame and serves on the board and is past chair of Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). Additionally, she serves on the K-12 Advisory Board for Blackboard, Dell's Platinum Advisory Committee, eSchool News and Scholastic Administrators Advisory Boards.

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