Thought Leaders: Technology

Noah Geisel, Educational Trainer and Badgechat Co-Founder


Noah Geisel is an educational trainer and Co-Founder of Badgechat. He is an excellent public speaker, who focuses on changing education through language and culture. He sits down with Issues in Education to discuss recognition in adults and students, the Badge Summit, and the negatives of checklists.

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Dr. Lana Israel, Founder, Muzology

@themindmap Website

Since 1989, Dr. Lana Israel has been following a calling — empowering people to actualize their full potential in educational, creative, and corporate contexts.​More recently, Dr. Israel has crafted global entertainment strategies for Fortune 500 companies and consulted extensively in the music industry – spanning artist and writer management, publishing and production, and strategy and data analytics. She has worked with notable artists including Garth Brooks, Pink, Jessica Simpson, Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, Sheila E., and Kelly Rowland. Integrating her lifelong passions for music, memory, and the mind, Dr. Israel has started Muzology, a music-driven EdTech company based in Nashville, Tennessee.


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Marcia Kish, DSD Professional Development Coordinator, Blended Learning   @dsdPD   Website

Marcia Kish has been providing professional development courses on classroom technology integration, use of mobile devices, and blended learning to teachers, superintendents, and support staff members across the United States for the last six years. Before moving into the professional development training world, Marcia spent eleven years working as a classroom and a technology teacher in Worthington, Ohio.  During that time, she presented mini hands-on workshops at the Ohio eTech conference.   Presented at the Ohio Education Technology Conference, ITSE conference, Campus Technology Conference, and the National Community School Conference on how to implement blended learning into the classroom setting.  With a master's degree in Instructional Technology and countless hours of continuing education course on blended learning environments, Marcia is highly qualified to teach and support all levels of educational learners.  

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Vlada Lotkina, ClassTag Co-Founder

Vlada Lotkina is the co-founder and CEO of ClassTag, simple and free parent-teacher communication. She is a former Fortune 100 Executive, Wharton MBA graduate, and mom.

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Rachael Mann, Founder of #TeachlikeTED & Author   @DrMaleyko

Rachael Mann is the founder of #TeachlikeTED and coauthor of The Martians in Your Classroom. She speaks and writes about the future of education and helps educators rethink the learning spaces of today. Prior to #TeachlikeTED, Rachael was the Network to Transform Teaching and STEM Professional Learning Director for Northern Arizona University’s AZK12 Center and State Director for Educators Rising Arizona. A former high school Career and Technical Education teacher and hailing from a family of educators, she has 14 years of classroom teaching experience. Rachael is a Google Certified Educator with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She is a founding member of the Council on the Future of Education and serves on the NCLA Executive Board.

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Aaron Maurer, STEM Lead & Lego Education Master


Aaron Maurer, also known as "Coffeechug" is the STEM lead for 21 school districts in Iowa helping to expand STEM, Computer Science, Makerspace, and Purposeful Play into classrooms K-12. Often spotted wearing bowties and drinking coffee he is on a quest to bring more wonder and play into the learning process in schools.

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Janelle McLaughlin, CEO of Innovative Education Solutions, LLC


Janelle McLaughlin is well educated in her field. She is a Keynote Speaker, Innovative Education Consultant, Leadership Coach, and Educator. Janelle's passion for education led her to begin Innovative Education Solutions,  focused on making educators' lives run smoother. Issues in Education had the pleasure of getting to sit down and speak with Janelle on how she has integrated coaching and teaching, as well as how to be leaders in the classroom.

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Pablo R. Perillan MD, Ph.D., Physician & CEO of SafeHarbor Online


Pablo is a solution maker who brings those solutions to k-12. He utilizes his healthcare knowledge and applies that to education. His company, SafeHarbor, mimics content from across the globe and pulls the best content available for students.

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Steve Samikkannu, General Manager, AmTab Manufacturing

Steve Samikkannu is currently the General Manager of AmTab Manufacturing and has been the driving innovator here for over 10 years.


Steve Samikkannu has served on the Board Of Directors, Chair, and is an active member of the Education Market Association for the last 4 years. His work in the educational space encompasses all aspects of the school which include: computer and technology rooms, music and performance spaces, classrooms, science labs, and K-12 dining commons and K-12 food courts. Steve’s work at AmTab has helped transform the experience students have within schools which is especially true in K-12 food courts. On average, schools see a 15% - 25% increase in student participation in nutrition programs after forming a partnership with AmTab. Steve will continue to be an ambassador of change within schools in order to create modern, fun, and popular environments for students.

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Jeff Bradbury, Founder of TeacherCast Educational Network

Personal Website  TeacherCast Website

Jeff Bradbury is a world-known educator, podcaster, and clinician. Jeff is a Google for Education Certified Trainer, Microsoft Certified Trainer TEDx Speaker, and has worked with more than 400 educational technology companies through his TeacherCast Educational Network that he founded in 2011.

Jeff Bradbury has presented at the ISTE conference, as well as dozens of other conferences across the country, and has presented Keynote Presentations for Pearson and EdTechNJ.

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Manuel Herrera, Innovation Coordinator, Affton School District   @manuelherrera33

Manuel Herrera designs and oversees the implementation of the 1:1 computing initiative at Affton High School. In addition, he is responsible for introducing new devices into learning spaces, helping build capacity surrounding technology integration, and establishing opportunities for students to grow their skills surrounding technology throughout all Affton schools.

Herrera serves as a board member for the Educational Technology Association of St. Louis, a professional learning facilitator, and planning committee member for ConnectEd Learning, and a planning committee member for EdCamp St. Louis. He earned a bachelor of business administration in management at Texas State University in San Marcos, as well as a master of arts in education administration from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.


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Stephanie Madlinger, Director of Educational Innovation & METC, EducationPlus   @cyberteacher

Stephanie began her teaching career over 20 years ago. After several years of traditional teaching at a variety of grade levels around the St Louis area, Stephanie became an eMINTS teacher with a state-of-the-art classroom. She taught her students and trained her co-workers how to effectively, and safely use the Internet, and how to integrate a variety of technology tools into the classroom.  For over a decade now, Stephanie has effectively provided educators, locally, regionally, and nationally with staff development.

Stephanie continues to share her love for learning by teaching 1-1, within a small group, as well as presenting at regional and national conferences. Each session is uniquely developed using online & face-to-face formats. Stephanie enjoys continuing to learn & share through the Internet & Web 2.0 applications. She spends time developing workshops and writing online curriculum, as well as collaborating through social media. 


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Dan Ryder, Director of Success and Innovation Center   Website 

Dan Ryder taught English and improv at Mt. Blue Campus for 17 years. He is now an adjunct instructor at the Univ. of Maine at Farmington, as well as a presenter. His workshops provide information about technology integration, improvisation, and design thinking. Dan is the Co-Founder of Wicked Decent Learning and authored the innovative book, Critical Creativity. Not only that, but Dan also stays busy as the Director of Success & Innovation Center. Dan has truly turned his passion into a lifestyle and Issues in Education was thrilled to have him in for an interview at ISTE 2019.

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Orlando Sharpe, STEM Program Director, YMCA Community Development & STEMpact Facilitator   @YLiteracySTL

Orlando is the Program Director for YMCA Community Literacy STEM programs serving the Gateway Region. In this position, Orlando works in collaboration with schools and community partners to create opportunities in the developing STEM ecosystem.  With more than 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher and technology specialist, he has developed a technology curriculum and delivered high-quality professional development for technology instruction/integration.

Orlando continues to look for exciting life-long learning opportunities and holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Harris Stowe State University as well as an MBA from Fontbonne University. Over the past three years, Orlando has worked with the STEM Teacher Quality Institute to enhance teacher quality in STE(a)M education and regularly participates in various local opportunities to develop skills and build capacities in STE(a)M Education and Community/Youth programs. His love of technology and innovation inspires his exploration of a diverse range of topics and adventures. From LEGO Robotics to Cardboard Prototyping, Orlando actively participates in the Maker Movement collaborating with other makers and artists to develop projects and ideas. Orlando’s passion for innovation, education, and technology is only matched by his sense of family and community. 

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Dr. Keri Skeeters, Director of Instructional Programming, Wentzville School District   @KeriSkeeters

Dr. Skeeters participated in Transforming Schools, along with:

  • Dr. Robert Dillon, Director of Innovation, University City School District

  • Jim Elkins, Cisco Networking Academy Instructor, North Technical High School, Special School District

  • Miles Anderson, Student from North Technical High School, Special School District


Click here to listen to what she had to say.

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