Meet our Expert Commentators who are doing great work in the sector and sharing their insights, expertise and feedback right here on our competition discussion forum. We invite you to follow their contributions:
Karen Peterson, M.Ed., is the Chief Executive Officer of the EdLab Group and has been active in education for over twenty years as a classroom teacher, university instructor, pre-service and in-service teacher educator, program administrator, and researcher. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the capacity of girl-serving STEM organizations via collaboration with a wide range of organizations, businesses, higher education, and community based groups. She is also Principal Investigator for SciGirls – A New National TV Series, the Computer Science Collaboration Project, and Bio-ITEST: New Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, all of which are funded by the NSF. These projects all address gender, racial and socioeconomic underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Ms. Peterson serves on local, regional and national boards which develop and administer programs designed to increase underrepresented students’ interests in STEM. Ms. Peterson has published in The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and has co-authored evaluation reports and promising practices reports in informal information technology education for girls for the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Tony Wagner recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Prior to this, he was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than a decade. Tony consults widely to schools, districts, and foundations around the country and internationally. His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility.
Tony is also a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and a widely published author. His work includes numerous articles and four books. Tony's latest, The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—And What We Can do About It has been a best seller and is being translated into Chinese. His fifth book, Learning to Innovate, Innovating to Learn will be published next year by Simon & Schuster. Tony has also recently collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60 minute documentary, “The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System.”
Tony earned an M.A.T. and an Ed.D. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Kyndall Brown is a faculty advisor in GSE&IS's Teacher Education Program (TEP) and the Director of UCLA's Mathematics Project. His research interests focus on how identity and culture impact the ways that African-American students learn mathematics and the impact of professional development on teaching practices and student achievement.
In his current position, Brown trains and provides professional development programs for K-12 teachers of mathematics to improve the quality of mathematics instruction in low performing schools. He is also director of "Fremont Achievement in Mathematics for Excellence (FRAME)," a grant sponsored by the California Post-Secondary Education Commission. The project aims to increase the academic achievement of students by helping improve teacher quality and ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified and effective. For the past five years, Brown has served as a Mathematics Education Consultant for the Connecting to Communities Coalition /Academic Centers of Excellence, funded through the University of California Office of the President, the Research and Policy Institute of California, and the California State University Office of the President, where he assists in developing a culturally based mathematics curriculum focused on Algebra 1 and trains secondary Algebra Institute instructors in the use of a culturally based algebra curriculum. Brown began his career in education as a mathematics teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District where he taught at the middle and high school level for over a decade. He holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of California, Irvine, MAs in Computer Based Education and in Mathematics Education from California State University Dominguez Hills, and a PhD in Education from UCLA.
Christopher Emdin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as Director of Secondary School Initiatives at the Urban Science Education Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science and Technology, Masters degrees in both Natural Sciences, and Education Administration, and Bachelors degrees in Physical Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry.
He was a co-author on the proposal to open the Marie Curie School in the Bronx, New York, has taught high school mathematics, general science, physics, and chemistry, and has been a researcher on many NSF funded research projects in mathematics and science education.
Dr. Emdin was recently awarded the “Best paper for Innovation in Teaching” by the The Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). He was also awarded the Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) Outstanding Dissertation and Emerging Leader Awards.
Dr. Emdin researches, consults, and delivers speeches on various issues in schools such as science technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, urban education, school and classroom climate, fostering dialogue in schools, and student engagement.
He is a noted public speaker on issues such as the Obama Effect on Urban Education, Hip-hop culture and education, improving STEM education, and various educational and socio-political issues related to urban youth of color.
Jim Brazell is a technology forecaster, strategist and public speaker focused on innovation and transformation. As an analyst to the Innovation, Creativity and Capital Institute at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Technical College System (2003-2008), Jim lead research and development projects including analysis of emerging international high technology regions (Technopoleis); international technology commercialization matchmaking; technology forecasting; video games for military training and workforce preparation; and robotics for education in the State of Texas. He is known as a boundary spanner and a big-picture thinker who connects the worlds of innovation, workforce, education, entrepreneurship, economic development and R&D.
For two decades, Jim has been ahead of the curve in predicting technology, market, industry and education trends. Clients for his forecasting and professional development work include Global 100 companies, state governments, educational institutions, nonprofits and high tech start-ups. As a volunteer, Jim has served the Defense Learning Strategies Consortium, NSF Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, Texas STEM Action Committee (TBEC), Information Technology and Security Academy, San Antonio-Austin Nano-Bio-Tech Summit and the San Antonio Information Technology and Security Academy (ITSA). Today he is a volunteer to the "Cyber Security Action Team" Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Design and Process Science (SDPS). Jim is a 1995 graduate of Bradley University, Bachelors of Science, Sociology, Summa Cum Laude. He is a 1995 George Gilder Fellow in High Technology, Entrepreneurship and Public Policy.
Bob Compton is Executive Producer of the Two Million Minutes Series on Global Education and Founder & CEO of True South Studios, a documentary film company focused exclusively on global entrepreneurship. As Executive Producer, Compton has already had one highly successful documentary, Two Million Minutes, released in December 2007, which tells the story of the universal importance of education today and addresses what many are calling a crisis for U.S. schools, regarding chronically low scores in math and science indicators. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an Honorary Doctorate from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has served as a Trustee on over a dozen non-profit organizations, including the Kauffman Foundation, a $1.8 billion foundation dedicated to accelerating entrepreneurship, and The Plough Foundation in Memphis, TN. Dr. Compton has devoted a great part of his life as a champion for educational progress, providing generous contributions to several organizations including, The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Exchange City: Memphis, and Teach for America, among others.
Shiv Gaglani graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard (2010) with a degree in biomedical sciences and engineering and health policy He has been doing STEM-related research since his freshman year in high school and has completed 10 projects in the fields of tissue engineering, stem cell biology, spinal cord injury, behavioral science, health policy, neuroscience, nanotechnology, infectious disease and biotechnology. In addition to being inducted into the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors, Shiv won the American Academy of Neurology Neuroscience Research Prize, as well as awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair (second place in Medicine and Health three years in a row), Siemens Competition (regional finalist) and Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (national finalist). A participant in the Research Science Institute and member of the 2006 USA Today Academic First Team, Shiv has also published his research in BMC Neuroscience and the Journal of Cell Transplantation. In college Shiv remained active with research by founding the Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association, serving as chief executive officer of the international undergraduate research journal, the Journal of Young Investigators, and participating in the Harvard College Research Program as well as the Program for Research in Science and Engineering.
Prior to beginning medical school at Johns Hopkins this Fall, Shiv has devoted himself to promoting STEM education by authoring the book Success with Science: The Winners' Guide to High School Research (www.successwithscience.org) with his colleagues at Harvard and speaking about the importance of STEM to the economic future of our nation
Deborah A. Gist, who taught and served directly in schools for more than a decade early in her career, began her service as the R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 1, 2009. Previously, she served as State Superintendent of Education in the District of Columbia. Since coming to Rhode Island, she has developed and published the state strategic plan, Transforming Education in Rhode Island, and she has visited every district to meet with students, teachers, school leaders, and community members. Commissioner Gist has raised the bar for entry into teacher-preparation programs, ended seniority-based teacher assignments, and built partnerships with districts to turn around the state’s persistently lowest-achieving schools. Under her leadership, Rhode Island is evaluating all educators based on evidence of student growth and achievement and is implementing the new, internationally benchmarked Common Core State Standards.
In August 2010, the U.S. Department of Education selected Rhode Island as one of the winners of Race to the Top, which will bring $75 million to the state accelerate all Rhode Island schools toward greatness. From the outset, Commissioner Gist pledged that every decision she makes will be based on what is in the best interest of our students. Her goal is to close achievement gaps and to prepare all students for success in college, careers, and life.