We are honored and excited to host an amazing group of diverse speakers from around the world! From our Keynote speaker Manoush Zomorodi to our talented list of featured presenters, this year’s LearnFestATX offers something for everyone. Come join in on the fun!

Keynote Speaker

Manoush Zomorodi

Manoush Zomorodi is co-founder of Stable Genius Productions, a media company with a mission to help people navigate personal and global change. StableG uses podcasts as a lab to test new ways journalists can educate, entertain, and inspire through narrative. Their first project is “ZigZag,” a podcast about changing the course of capitalism, journalism, and women’s lives.

In 2012, Zomorodi created, hosted, and was managing editor of “Note to Self,” a podcast out of WNYC Studios for “anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age.” Each weekly episode examines life’s digital quandaries through experiments and conversations with experts and listeners, exploring the new questions tech has brought into our lives. Topics include information overload, digital clutter, sexting “scandals” and the eavesdropping capabilities of our gadgets. The podcast received wide acclaim, including being named Best Tech Podcast of 2017 by the Academy of Podcasters.

In 2015, Zomorodi led tens of thousands of listeners through an experiment to help them unplug from their devices, get bored, jump-start their creativity, and change their lives. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your most productive and creative selves without totally abandoning our gadgets in the process. Grounding the book in the neuroscience and cognitive psychology of “mind wandering,” she illuminates what our brains do when we’re doing nothing at all.

In 2017, Zomorodi and “Note to Self ” launched “The Privacy Paradox” a five-part plan to help people take back control over their digital identity. Tens of thousands of listeners have completed the five-part plan so far, which Fast Company calls Zomorodi’s “challenge to us to stick up for our internet rights.” Through her career, Manoush Zomorodi won numerous awards, including The Gracie in 2014 and 2018 for Best Radio Host. She is especially proud of the Webby her team won in 2018 for The Privacy Paradox. In 2017, she gave a TED Talk about surviving information overload and the “Attention Economy. Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2018. Prior to her work in podcasting, Zomorodi reported and produced around the world for BBC News and Thomson Reuters.

Featured Speakers

Fred Benitez

Fred Benitez is an Educational Technologist for Eanes ISD in Austin, TX. His 13 years of experience in education involve teaching graphic design, writing curricula, facilitating professional development, and collaborating with teachers to integrate technology effectively. Fred has been recognized by Adobe as a featured educator and is an active member in the Adobe Education Leader program. He was also selected to be a part of the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2017. Fred has a passion for fostering creativity and supporting students and teachers to be content creators. Website: bit.do/fredb

Kristen Brooks

Kristen Brooks is a K12 Instructional Technology Specialist in the Cherokee County School District, an Apple Distinguished Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, PBS Digital Innovator, EdTech Featured Presenter and a teacher advisor for OSMO, BrainPOP, Seesaw and CodeSpark. She is a veteran teacher of elementary education for 24 years with the last 15 years specifically in Educational Technology. Brooks created the first K5 Technology Lab and K5 iPad Lab in her district. She loves empowering teachers to create standards-based lesson plans incorporating innovative technology. Her educational mantra for students is always to “Create more than you Consume”.


Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a curriculum and educational technology consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and founder of ClassTechTips.com. As a classroom teacher, Monica used one-to-one technology to create engaging, standards-based lessons for students. Monica has presented to teachers, administrators and tech enthusiasts at numerous national and international conferences including SXSWedu, ISTE, and EduTECH. Monica is the author of Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom (ASCD), #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scannable Formative Assessment with Technology (Corwin), Deeper Learning with QR Codes and Augmented Reality (Corwin), and co-author of Taming the Wild Text (Shell).

Steve Dembo

Steve Dembo served for ten years as Discovery Education’s Director of Learning Communities and led their Innovation and Strategy team.   He is the co-author of the book Untangling the Web: 20 Tools to Power Up Your Teaching. The National School Board Association named him one of 2010’s “Twenty to Watch,” a list honoring individuals finding innovative ways to use technology to increase classroom learning. Steve is a dynamic speaker on the capabilities of social networking, the power of educational technologies and Web 2.0 tools, and the ability of digital content to empower teachers to improve student achievement.

Carolyn Foote

Carolyn Foote is a high school and district librarian at Westlake High School/Eanes ISD.  Fascinated by the connections between students, learning, and technology, she focuses her work on building a Future Ready student centered library.  A White House Champion of Change for connected learning in 2013, she works on learning space design, technology integration in libraries, and is published in numerous library magazines including School Library Journal, Teacher Librarian, and School Library Media Connection and is a frequent conference presenter at ISTE, ALA, TCEA, SXSWEdu.  Students are at the heart of her work and increasing student voice in our work and communities.

Kerry Gallagher

Kerry Gallagher is the Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. She’s also the Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org – internet safety non-profit in Palo Alto, California – a FutureReady Instructional Coach, ASCD Emerging Leader, Adobe Education Leader, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, and EdSurge Columnist. She was recognized with accolades for her work by the Family Online Safety Institute in 2015, by MassCUE in 2016, and by SmartBrief and St. Anselm College in 2018. Her website is www.KerryHawk02.com.

Don Goble

Don Goble is an award-winning Multimedia Instructor at Ladue High School in St. Louis, MO. He has spent countless hours all over the world teaching students and peers how to effectively utilize multimedia creation and appreciate media literacy. The National Journalism Education Association named Don as their Broadcast Adviser of the Year 2015 and he was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2011. Connect with Don at DonGoble.com or on Twitter @dgoble2001.

Phil Hintz

Phil Hintz is the Director of Technology for Gurnee School District 56 in Gurnee, Illinois where he has been for the past 14 years. Currently, Phil’s district is in their 7th year of a district- wide, 1:1 iPad initiative for all 2400 students and teachers in grades Pre-K through 8. Phil has presented conferences all over the world and was named ISTE’s Outstanding Leader of the Year in 2015 as well as being named “20 to Watch” from the National School Boards Association.

Brianna Hodges

Energetic and enthusiastic learner, teacher, coach and change agent, Brianna serves as the Coordinator for Innovative and Digital Learning at Eanes *Innovative* School District (Austin, Texas). Recognized as Education Dive’s 2018 K12 Administrator to Watch and 2017 Texas EdTech of the Year, she serves as the National Advisor and Spokesperson for Future Ready Instructional Coaches (futureready.org). Brianna believes that every learning experience is amplified by innovation, connection and creativity. An experienced advocate, speaker and coach, Brianna seeks to leverage interests, connections and demonstrations as critical instructional design elements to achieve the highest levels of learning.

Matt Holley

I am in my ninth year with Lubbock-Cooper ISD. I am in my fourth year in an Emerging Technology Coordinator role. I have had a passion for technology since I was young. I continue to stay on the cutting edge of personal tech as well as seeking out new and innovative ways to include technology in the classroom.  I attended Apple Academy in Cupertino and became an Apple Learning Specialist. I am the creator of the event called Confluence which is a pedagogy and technology conference (learn.lcisd.net) I was a presenter at an Unfestival Session at LearnFest (formally known as iPadpalooza.) I am also an Apple Teacher and a Google Certified Educator.  I enjoy fly fishing, Star Wars, tennis and exploring

Carl Hooker

Carl Hooker is the Director of Innovation & Digital Learning at Eanes ISD in Austin, TX.  He’s also the founder and “godfather” of the learning festival known as “LearnFestATX”.  His unique humor and background as a teacher and “tech guy” are key in his desire to engage adult learners all over the world. He’s a member of the 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator class, was named Tech & Learning’s Leader of the year in 2014 and was the 2016 Thought Leader of the Year by PR with Panache. He’s a keynote speaker, author, consultant, and full-time father of three girls. Follow his blog at HookedOnInnovation.com

Kristina Ishmael

Kristina Ishmael is an educator, learner, thought leader, advocate, and agent of change. She is the Senior Project Manager of the Learning Technologies Project at New America where she supports states, districts, and educators rethinking the role of instructional materials to create deeper learning opportunities for students. She previously served as the K-12 Open Education Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. Kristina is passionate about changing teaching and learning to provide equitable access and opportunities to all learners.

Felix Jacomino

Felix Jacomino loves learning and sharing. Over the last 18 years, he has joined other leaders to transform education as technology has made its way into every discipline across all curricula. His main focus and interests are in ensuring that teachers and administrators understand when, why, and how to best use technology to accomplish learning objectives and empower students to be critical thinkers who own their learning. Felix is the Director of Innovation & Technology where he leads a team of technology integration specialists at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, a Miami, Florida private college preparatory day school with an international reputation for excellence.


Lisa Johnson

Lisa has 17+ years of edu experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, & Tech, was featured in the publications “iPads in Education for Dummies” and “The Missing Voices in Ed Tech” and has co-authored the global hit “Hot Apps 4 HOTS.” ADE, PBS Digital Innovator, SmartBrief & Edutopia Blogger, Lisa’s enjoys “cooking up” purposeful, engaging, authentic resources to meet educator’s needs. Her latest recipes are the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom” and “Creatively Productive”. In her spare time, she delights in house sprucing, bullet journaling, filing away productivity hacks, traveling to places near and far, and discovering new Netflix series with her hubby.


Matt Joseph

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph is currently the director of curriculum and instruction in Leicester Public School (MA). Matt has been a school and district leader in many capacities in public education over his 25 years in the field. Experiences such as the Director of Digital Learning and Innovation in Milford Public Schools (MA), elementary school principal in Natick, MA and Attleboro, MA, classroom teacher,  and district professional development specialist have provided Matt incredible insights on how to best support teaching and learning. He is the author of Power of Us: Creating Collaborative Schools and co-author of Modern MentoringReimagining Teacher Mentorship (Due out, fall 2019). 


Ann Kozma

Ann Kozma is an Educator Innovation Lead on Team Flipgrid. She is passionate about helping others explore how to use technology to redefine teaching and learning.  Ann is a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2015, Leading Edge Certified as a Professional Learning Leader, a CUE Inc. Lead Learner and a Book Creator Ambassador.  Ann loves to share her passion and enthusiasm with others and believes that “Play is our brain’s favorite way to learn.”  Connect with Ann on Twitter @annkozma723.


Andy Leiser

Andy Leiser is a professional educator and technology integrationist from Hastings, Minnesota. He is passionate about sharing the story of education from the point of learning whilst amplifying the voices of our creative and innovative students to audiences beyond the classroom walls. He believes that we all must be  conduits of learning; shining brightly and illuminating the lives of others with new information and ideas. Andy is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Green Bay Packers owner, and solid example of Minnesota Nice – with a slight, but discernible, accent.

Rich Lombardo

Richard Lombardo is an Educational Technologist serving the Eanes Independent School District and an Adjunct Mathematics Professor at Austin Community College. A former graphic artist, Richard began his career in education teaching mathematics and computer science in Las Vegas, Nevada. A graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Masters in Mathematical Sciences, Richard leverages his experience with technology integration and professional development to help teachers enhance their learning environments. With over 18 years of educational experience, he utilizes his creativity, relational capacity and passion to grow with those around him.

Andy Marcinek

Andrew Marcinek is currently the Chief Information Officer at Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA. Most recently, Andrew served as the first Chief Open Education Advisor for the US Department of Education. As Open Education Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, Andrew focused on expanding and accelerating the adoption of open education policies within the Department, encouraged the expansion of such policies across the federal government and supported initiatives that dramatically increased the curation and sharing of open educational materials by educators throughout the country. As part of this campaign, Andrew organized a White House event that brought together EdTech companies, district and state leaders, and nonprofits. This event helped launch a national movement called #GoOpen that supported PreK-12 school districts in the expansion of implementing openly-licensed educational materials, the development of better discovery and curation tools from Amazon, Microsoft, and Edmodo, and guidance for strategic planning and sustainability.

Shannon Miller

Shannon McClintock Miller is the K-12 district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School in Van Meter, Iowa. She is also the Future Ready Librarians and Project Connect Spokesperson working with librarians, educators and students around the world every day as an international speaker, consultant and author who has a passion for education, librarianship, advocacy, technology, social media and making a difference in the world and lives of others, especially children. Shannon brings a special expertise and vision to conversations around school libraries, education, technology, creativity and student voice.

Holly Moore

Holly Carrell Moore currently serves as an Educational Technologist at Valley View Elementary in Eanes ISD.  Before coming to Eanes, she worked in both elementary schools and higher education, supporting learning through teaching music, fourth grade, kindergarten, Head Start, library/instructional technology, as well as undergraduate and graduate education and family science majors.  Her research interests center around multiple aspects of play, technology, and literacy.

Audrey O’Clair

Audrey O’Clair is, first and foremost, a community builder. As a former special education teacher, she knows that using every available resource—from edtech to social media to professional learning networks—is the trick to helping individuals succeed. She’s an Education Specialist for Soundtrap at Spotify who knows that authentic learning is most engaging regardless of the learner’s age. She uses audio recording software to help everyone find their voice. Whether delivering workshops and seminars on accessibility and inclusion, or serving as Social Media Manager, her work builds educator capacity and grows teacher dialogue around the world.

Kyle Pace

Kyle Pace is a former elementary school teacher, Instructional Technology Coach,  and currently is the Director of Technology for the Grain Valley School District in Grain Valley, Missouri. Kyle champions to support teaching and learning with meaningful technology integration using a multitude of technologies and best practices. As part of his ongoing commitment to professional growth, Kyle became a Google for Education Innovator in 2011.  In 2013, Kyle was named as one of Education Week’s  “Leaders to Learn From” and named an “emerging leader” from ASCD. Kyle became a Google for Education Certified Trainer in March 2016. Kyle’s blog, “Learning is Leading”, can be found at kylepace.com.

Adam Phyall

Mr. Adam Phyall is a former high school science teacher and the current Director of Technology & Media Services for Newton County Schools. Since Adam got his first laptop in college, he has been hooked on the amazing things that technology can add to instruction. Over the years, Mr. Phyall has been a keynote speaker and featured presenter at technology conferences across the country He is known for his fun and engaging presentation style and his humor. His philosophy on teaching is “if you’re having fun teaching it, then your students will have fun learning it.”

Reshan Richards

Dr. Reshan Richards is Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder of Explain Everything Inc. and teaches at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Columbia University School of Professional Studies. He’s author of the new book: Make Yourself Clear: How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything and Be Understood which articulates and amplifies the opportunities for cross-industry learning between businesses and schools. Educational research-driven practices — including formative assessment, designing for understanding, personalized feedback, and differentiated instruction — can and do drive results in corporate environments.

Brett Salakas

Brett is an international keynote speaker, an author, the founder of #aussieED and a moderator of multiple twitter chats. He is a Primary School teacher and Google Certified Innovator who, over the past 20 years, has taught in South East Asia and Australia in both public and independent schools. He is passionately committed to turning educational theory into real classroom practice. Brett is all about CONNECTION, COLLABORATION and INSPIRATION.

Dean Shareski

Dean has been in education for the past 30 years. He’s taught grades K-8 as well as pre-service teachers. His role the past several years has centred around supporting teachers transition classrooms to leverage technology to transform and enhance learning. Dean loves to share(ski). He’s got a boatload of stuff online. His greatest asset is his network. He lives in Moose Jaw, SK. Yes, that’s a real place. Dean is married with 4 children and more important than any of those is his granddaughter. He believes that humour and laughter are not just good medicine but good learning ingredients.

Brian Smith

Brian Smith is currently an Instructional Content Coach in Digital Learning for the Education Service Center Region 11 in Texas, providing personalized PD and digital culture changing opportunities for teachers, administrators and students in regards to technology integration within the learning Environment. He is also responsible for providing support for schools in the area of digital equity by providing equal access and learning opportunities for all students. Be it via 1:1 programs, Student Tech Squad, Innovation Leadership Committees or Social Engagement Events for parents, it has always been about how to Make Learning Addictive for students, teachers, schools, and communities. This fervor has afforded him the opportunity to speak as a presenter at various local and national conferences.

Knikole Taylor

Knikole Taylor serves as the instructional technology coordinator for a school district in Texas. In this role she supports the growth and development of teachers and students through the seamless integration of innovative technology usage. Knikole is a professional development trainer, curriculum developer, author and speaker, who has been privileged to travel the world to speak and work with other educators at conferences, campuses, and district-wide events. She works to assist educators in being their best for the students and teachers they serve each day. Knikole also holds many industry designations including Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer.

Andrew Wallace

Andrew Wallace has been a technology director for South Portland Schools in Maine for the past fifteen years. He is President of the Maine Educational Technology Directors Association (METDA), is a member of the National Center for Educational Statistics Forum, and serves on the board of the ISTE Librarians Network PLN. In 2012, he reportedly sold Instagram to Facebook. A former librarian, Wallace is interested in spreading the Learning Commons model, exploring new professional development approaches, and helping to imagine and create effective learning spaces.

Mike Washburn

Mike is co-host of the US iTunes chart-topping Education podcast OnEducation (https://goo.gl/kRGNMm), Head of Curriculum & Training for Canadian EdTech company Logics Academy and writer for EdSurge and Innovation and Tech Today Magazine. In his prior role as a Computer Science teacher, he created a custom-made curriculum, using elements of game design and game-based learning, to captivate and engage his students. Mike challenges all educators to never stop learning and always be reaching for what’s next.  


Julie Willcott

Julie Willcott is a #STEMadvocate #Educator and #Mainiac. She works with students and teachers across the country to implement virtual reality/augmented reality, coding, and #makerspace learning. She connects the dots between science, literacy, and the arts. Julie works as a #SME (gotta be a better acronym for Subject Matter Subject) developing science content for #EdTech companies. She is devoted to making education sustainable (economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially just) for teachers and learners. You can connect with her at @willcottjulie.

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