Rob Abel, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Rob Abel is the Chief Executive Officer of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a nonprofit collaboration of the world's leading universities, school districts, government organizations, content providers, and technology suppliers, cooperating to accelerate learning technology interoperability, adoption, and impact. Rob has been the CEO of IMS since February of 2006.
Rob is a recognized expert on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for learning with over 35 years high tech and education market development experience. Under Rob’s leadership IMS has introduced the Learning Impact program, which is setting new benchmarks for high impact applications of technology in support of learning worldwide. During Rob’s tenure IMS has experienced dramatic growth in terms of members, revenues, and achieved significant adoption of IMS work by leading regional education communities worldwide. IMS has grown over 9x since Rob became CEO and has risen to become one of the world's best resourced and dynamic standards-setting consortia.
Prior to IMS Rob was Senior Vice President at Collegis (now Ellucian Managed Services), the leading provider of ICT services to U.S. higher education, where he was responsible for online and academic services provided to over 60 U.S. institutions. Rob is also a seasoned high technology software development, business development, market development and venture investment veteran. As Senior Director at Oracle Education he was a leader and innovator in the development of online learning architectures and related standards. Rob holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University, a Masters degree in Management from Stanford, a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Baccalaureate degree in Computational Physics from Carnegie Mellon University. Rob was honored with the TRW Chairman's Award for Innovation in the early 1990's for leading advancements in real-time networking and distributed software.
Timothy Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage
Timothy R. Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage, was founder of Dynacom, Inc., and a partner/owner of the former SAFARI Technologies, Inc. Mr. Beekman holds a BSEE from Western Michigan University and a First Class Broadcast License. He was honored as “Fellow of the Decade” by Ball State University Center for Communication Sciences and served as Director of Technology for Grand Rapids Public Schools. Currently, he is president and co-founder of SAFARI Montage, and brings leadership and focus to the team. Mr. Beekman has pioneered the integration of video technology in the classroom through projects like AT&T School of the Future initiative and the “Campus of the Future” at Ball State University. Under Mr. Beekman’s leadership, SAFARI Montage has grown to be an industry leader in Educational Video Integration Technologies in both analog and digital formats.
Malcolm Brown, Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), EDUCAUSE
Prior to assuming the position of director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), Malcolm Brown was the Director of Academic Computing at Dartmouth College. His group supported faculty and students in the use of applications of information technology in research and in the curriculum, and oversaw classroom technology. During his tenure at Dartmouth, he worked actively with the ELI, contributing chapters to the ELI eBooks, helping to plan focus sessions, and serving on the ELI Advisory Board. He has been a member of the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies committee and served as a faculty of the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program. He has been on the board for the Horizon Report since its inception in 2004 and served as Chair of Board of the New Media Consortium. He served as the editor of the New Horizons column for the EDUCAUSE Review. He is a member of the Frye Institute class of 2002. He has given invited presentations recently at the University of Nebraska, the University of Indiana Fort Wayne, Iowa State University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He has given keynotes recently the DET/CHE and CCUMC conferences. Malcolm holds a pair of BA degrees from UC Santa Cruz; studied in Freiburg, Germany, on a pair of Fulbright scholarships; and has a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University. He has taught several academic courses on Nietzsche and maintains the Nietzsche Chronicle web site.
Michael Chai, Senior Vice President of Learning Services Technology, Pearson
Michael is Senior Vice President of Learning Services Technology for Pearson, responsible for accelerating the move to effective digital business models that reimagine the customer experience with Pearson digital products and services. In this role, he works with technology and business leaders to drive and integrate the K20 roadmap across technology, product and business strategies. His role is also a member of the PT senior leadership team to ensure global alignment. Prior to Pearson Michael spent six years at LeapFrog Enterprises as global head of product development and engineering (devices, content, ecosystem) where he learned tremendous lessons in transforming a company’s product strategy and business model in response to consumer technology and mass retail forces. Before that he spent fifteen years at EFI as a key management team leader that created the industry standard Fiery(tm) front-end for digital color printing worldwide. The company rapidly grew from small startup to mature public company through many cycles of competition and growth. Prior to that he was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and a Software Engineer at the NYIT Computer Graphics Lab. He holds an MS Computer Science degree from Stanford University and a BS Mechanical Engineering degree from Yale University.
Paul Czarapata, Ed.D., Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS)
Paul Czarapata, Ed.D. is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS). In this role, Dr. Czarapata is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of technology across the system. KCTCS is comprised of 16 colleges and over 70 locations across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He will be the first to tell you he is blessed to have a talented group of people with great ideas surrounding him and the intestinal fortitude to see them through at KCTCS. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Paul came to KCTCS in 1999 after working for PeopleSoft, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), and three small software consulting firms. Before coming to the IMS Board of Directors Paul served on the Higher Education User Group Board of Directors for three years.
Paul earned his education degrees at Northern Illinois University (Bachelor’s in Operations Management & Information Systems) and Morehead State University (MBA and Ed.D. in Educational Technology Leadership). He lives in Versailles, KY with his wife Melissa and son Alex. Paul is involved in several national and local organizations, but has a special place in his heart for little league baseball.
Ray Henderson, Managing Partner, Lessons Learned Ventures, LLC
Ray Henderson is an ed-tech strategic advisor and seed stage investor. He has an extensive history as an entrepreneur and operating executive. His first contribution to internet based products was developing the Companion Website category internet study guide category at Pearson in the early 90’s. He went on to help pioneer the first SAAS and outsourced program management delivery model at eCollege.
As an operating executive Ray set an example of open standards development and stewardship. While president of Pearson’s media division he catalyzed a publishing industry commitment to interoperable content standards. He authored the original whitepaper describing the standard, convened the heads of media within the publishing industry, and secured their commitment to provide funding to IMS and support what the Common Cartridge standard. Following a move to lead ANGEL Learning, he continued his commitment to IMS standards and made a strategic imperative being the first to market with a working implementation of LTI. Following ANGEL’s acquisition by Blackboard, he led the charge to bring this market leader from tracking developments to actively engaging in standards adoption. In recognition of his sustained industry support for IMS standards development and adoption, Ray received a lifetime achievement award from IMS in 2010.
Today, Ray is an active seed stage investor and advises several firms active in capital markets for ed-tech. He’s expanded his focus beyond higher ed into K12 and adult learning. He is currently advising Nobel Learning (largest provider of pre-K education), Metametrics (largest provider of educational measurement in K12), Lumen Learning (Higher Ed OER provider), HelioCampus (higher ed analytics) and Revature (post-baccalaureate talent development in IT).
Jeanne K. Imbriale, Director, CETL Office of Enterprise Applications, Department of Information Technology, Baltimore County Public Schools
As Director of the Office of Enterprise Applications in the Department of Information Technology for the 25th largest school district in the country, Jeanne Imbriale’s focus is on optimizing the use of technology to improve learning for its 115,000 students. This includes leading the development of system solutions for all 175 schools, supervising the capture of student data and reporting, and designing the digital ecosystem to meet the needs of modern students.
Previously, Mrs. Imbriale was the Supervisor and then Coordinator and Professional Growth and Partnerships in the Department of Organizational Development. She was responsible for planning and providing access to high quality continuing professional growth opportunities for all employees in order to increase student achievement and organizational effectiveness. Her extensive background in adult learning, instructional technology, information technology, online pedagogy, project management and educational expertise, allows her to enhance organizational effectiveness and efficiency by partnering and understanding the needs of schools and offices in order to deliver seamless technology solutions. Prior to this, Mrs. Imbriale worked at the John Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education as a Program Manager in Research and Development where she planned and conducted local, state and national institutes and academies for K-12 educators focused on effective uses of instructional technology. Mrs. Imbriale also taught graduate level course in instructional technology and educational leadership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. She credits all her work to her strong beginnings in the elementary classroom.
Collectively, for the past 24 years, Mrs. Imbriale has worked to improve teaching and learning, with emphasis on the value of technology to help reach as many students as possible in the most efficient and effective manner. Her lifelong goal is to champion the benefits of technology and assist other leaders in their implementation in school systems across the country.
Mrs. Imbriale has recognized nationally for advancing the field of educational technology through numerous invitations to present to expert professional associations. Her work on the creation and execution of data privacy practices and the establishment of data governance structures has served as a model throughout the country. The strategic plan she chartered to ensure her school system’s compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA has been highly praised. Most recently, Mrs. Imbriale earned the Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) designation, awarded by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).
Rick Johnson, Vice President of Product Strategy, VitalSource / Ingram
Rick Johnson is the Vice President of Product Strategy, and one of the founders of Vital Source Technologies, Inc. Vital Source, wholly owned subsidiary of the Ingram Content Group, is the maker of Bookshelf®, the most widely used platform for delivery of electronic textbooks in the world. As VP of Product, Rick manages the strategic direction of the fast growing platform, guiding the architecture, and implementation of its clients and systems.
Rick's career has been focused on bringing together his three passions: technology, publishing, and education. He is a frequent speaker on electronic textbooks, their integration into an institutional environment, and how the accessibility needs of individual students can best be accommodated in their delivery. He served on the working groups responsible for version 2 and version 3 of the EPUB standard, is on the executive committee for the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and is the co-inventor of 3 domestic and international patents dealing with electronic books and their distribution.
Prior to Ingram and Vital Source, Rick spent more than 12 years with Apple Computer, Inc. As a Senior National Consulting Engineer for them he was instrumental in the implementation of complex solutions for many higher education and corporate customers, and received numerous national and international awards.
A graduate of the communication and business departments of Biola University in 1984, Rick has lived in the Phoenix area with his family since they moved from Southern California in 1991. Married to his wife Susie for 30 years, together they have raised two children, and are very active in their church and community. Rick serves on the board of directors for several non-profit ministries.
Alex Kaplan, Global Leader, Strategic Deals, IBM
Alex is passionate about the power of education to transform lives and help people realize their full potential. He believes artificial intelligence, blockchain, analytics and other advanced technologies are essential tools to facilitate personalized learning at scale. His career has been spent thinking about and working on the application of these technologies to support education institutions and lifelong learning. As a serial technology entrepreneur in transformative education technology businesses, he has a deep understanding of what does and does not work. Through his various roles as CEO, leader of sales and professional services organizations, and product development teams he values those activities that make a real difference in the hands of education stakeholders. Alex has been fortunate to work with leading firms in the field, like IBM, Apple, Sesame and Pearson, in thinking about and implementing transformative programs. He enjoys connecting with ed tech leaders on transforming education through advanced technologies. Sessions he have participated in at Harvard University, Columbia University, IBM Research and many others have been a great opportunity to both share and provoke conversations. Alex is on a continual quest to learn more about technology and education, and work with others that share a similar passion.
Vince Kellen, Ph.D., Chief Information Officer, University of California, San Diego
Dr. Vince Kellen currently serves as the chief information officer for the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), as well as a member of the Chancellor's Cabinet, and vice chancellor and chief financial officer's senior management team. UCSD is recognized as a top 15 university world-wide and 7th best public university in the world, with over $1 billion in annual research funding, 34,000 students, 16 Nobel laureates who have taught on its campus and 161 faculty with national Academy memberships.
Dr. Kellen brings a rare combination of academic, business and IT strategy experience to his role, with a focus on transformational leadership within IT, applying leading edge approaches to current business challenges. His twenty-five years of executive-level information technology experience offers a proven track record of successfully integrating innovative applications of information technology into all aspects of teaching, learning, and student success. These innovations have resulted in markedly improved efficiencies and enhanced learning environments, as well as fruitful, collaborative relationships with researchers, faculty, staff, and students across all levels of higher education and the world.
Dr. Kellen formerly served as the senior vice provost of Analytics and Technologies for the University of Kentucky, one of the top public research institutions and academic medical centers in the US., where his areas of responsibility included institutional research and analytics, enterprise software, research computing, academic technology, IT infrastructure and cloud services, and supporting the university’s 17 colleges, 30,000 students, and 14,000 faculty and staff. Prior to that role, he held the position of chief information officer for three years.
Donna Kidwell, Chief Technology Officer, EdPlus at ASU
Donna Kidwell leads a team responsible for designing, developing and managing the technical infrastructure and information services necessary to deliver EdPlus at ASU’s online degree and lifelong learning opportunities at scale. She provides oversight, vision and strategy as EdPlus integrates over 150 technology tools and processes in ASU Online courses, open scale initiatives and continuing and professional education offerings.
Kidwell is a frequent speaker on innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer, regional innovation ecosystems, innovations in learning technologies and future models for educational delivery. She is an expert in learning technologies, program design, and change management to foster innovation in higher education. Kidwell earned a Doctorate of Business Administration from Grenoble Ecole de Management, France; a Master of Science, Technology Commercialization and Bachelors of Arts, History from the University of Texas at Austin.
David Koehn, Senior Vice President of Product Management, D2L
David Koehn is Senior Vice President of Product Management for D2L where he leads the product management organization and several strategic portfolios. David was formerly the Chief Evangelist for Oracle Cloud Architecture. In his early career, he led the corporate learning efforts at AvantGo (Sybase). David also founded the venture-backed edtech start-up Tailwind. He holds an MFA in English from the University of Florida; a BA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon; received an Annenberg Fellowship for the Breadloaf Teacher Network from Middlebury’s Breadloaf School of English; an MEd from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is pursuing an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. David commits time to giving back to literary arts, education, literacy, and wellness non-profits — and is committed to innovation through his accelerator, the Batchery.
Melissa Loble , Senior Vice President, Customer Success and Partnerships, Instructure
Melissa Loble serves as the Senior Vice President, Customer Success & Partnerships for Instructure. In this capacity, she leads Instructure's customer success, services, and partnership organizations, all of which enable customers to successfully leverage Instructure’s solutions to create highly engaging and effective learning environments for their communities. Driving innovation in the customer experience is central to Melissa’s mission. Melissa has spent 20 years in the educational technology world, working for a number of technology suppliers and educational institutions, as well as teaching leadership courses focused on managing technology for educational change. Melissa earned her MA in Educational Policy from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, and an MBA in Leadership from the Columbia Business School.
Phillip Miller, Vice President of Teaching and Learning, Blackboard
With over 14 years experience in education technology, Phill Miller serves as Vice President of Teaching and Learning at Blackboard. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the product strategy, roadmap, management and marketing for Blackboard’s suite of world-class online teaching and learning solutions, including Blackboard Learn, Moodlerooms, Collaborate, Ally, and Safe Assign.
Prior to his current role at Blackboard, Miller was Vice President and Business Line Manager of Moodlerooms, the open source division of Blackboard. He joined the company in 2012 with the acquisition of Moodlerooms, where he was Vice President of Product Strategy. During his tenure at Moodlerooms, Miller helped to build an innovative Software-as-a-Service Learning Management System on a global, open source learning platform, and invented cross-platform content sharing software for delivering open educational resources.
Earlier, Miller served as Director of Business Development at Oxygen Education, LLC and as Product Manager/Senior Solutions Architect at ANGEL Learning, Inc.
Miller holds a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/Information Systems from Ball State University.
Barbara J. Nesbitt, PhD, Executive Director of Technology, School District of Pickens County in South Carolina
Dr. Barbara Nesbitt is a lifetime educator with more than 30 years in education. Barbara has been a teacher, instructional coach, administrator, and consultant with broad experiences in school districts in Virginia and South Carolina. Barbara is currently the Executive Director of Technology for the School District of Pickens County in South Carolina. In this role, Barbara led the district’s transformation of instructional technology from a Bring Your Own Device district to a 1:1 district with a fully interoperable digital ecosystem implementing the IMS Global standards. Under Barbara’s leadership, Pickens received federal funds for a leased dark-fiber ring network, which is expected to future-proof the district’s broadband needs for decades.
Barbara has worked extensively with IMS Global’s K-12 Institutional Board where she led efforts to extend the adoption of open-source interoperability standards. She has been a presenter, panelist, roundtable leader, and keynote speaker at various state and national conferences. She has served on various vendor advisory panels including Steelcase Inc., Classworks Advantage, and Securly, as well as on non-profit boards including the Education Foundation of Pickens County and the National Council on Digital Convergence. Barbara has written several grants for her district including an AT&T ConnectEd grant and a National Science Foundation grant totaling over $10 million.
In addition to her work in PK-12 public school leadership, Barbara is involved in post-secondary educational leadership as a visiting professor at Clemson University and a member of the advisory board for Anderson University’s M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology.
Barbara received her Ph.D. from Clemson University, her master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and her undergraduate degree from Liberty University. Barbara lives in Easley, South Carolina with her husband of 32 years. Together they have three sons, are very active in their community and church, and enjoy hiking and traveling.
Sanje Ratnavale, PIVOT Co-Chair; President, OESIS Network
Sanje founded OESIS in 2012 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools: the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years and CFO for seven years. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking and senior C-level (CEO,COO,CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence) and the British independent school system (Harrow School). Sanje is based out of Los Angeles.
Marten Roorda, Chief Executive Officer, ACT
Marten Roorda is the Chief Executive Officer of ACT since October 1st, 2015. ACT, headquartered in Iowa City, USA, is the world market leader in assessment of college and career readiness, and the world research leader in adaptive learning and learning analytics. Before joining ACT, Marten has been the CEO of Cito for thirteen years, an international organization in educational measurement, based in the Netherlands. In 2006 he co-founded Kryterion, the first company in the world to offer online proctoring, and currently market leader. In 2011 he co-founded OAT Technologies in Luxemburg, home of the world-leading open source test platform TAO. Marten Roorda has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Test Publishers for ten years, and was their Chair in 2010. In 2016 he received the Professional Contributions and Service to Testing Award of the ATP. Prior to working at Cito, Marten had several positions in the publishing industry, at VNU and Reed Elsevier among others. Marten holds a master’s degree in language and literature at Utrecht University.
Serena Sacks, CIO, Fulton County Schools
Ms. Sacks has been a transformational business and technology leader for more than 30 years across corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. In the last 10 years she has had the honor of serving students in public education as CIO of Florida Virtual School and Fulton County Schools. Leveraging her experience in corporations and as a consultant, she applies her leadership skills and technology knowledge to enhance the learning experience for over 100,000 students.
Her prior experience includes 10 years at IBM in the Financial Services Sector, over five years at Walt Disney world and technology leadership at several other Fortune 100 organizations.
Ms. Sacks earned her B.A. and M.S. at Stony Brook University and holds certifications in Enterprise IT Governance (ISACA), Six Sigma, and Project Management (PMI).
Serena Sacks was named the 2019 Woman of the Year for the Global Women in Technology Association. In 2017 Georgia CIO Leadership Association named Ms. Sacks CIO of the Year in the Non-Profit sector and she was named the 2015 Woman of the Year for the Georgia Women in Technology organization. On a personal note, Ms. Sacks is a cancer survivor, Board Member of the Computer museum of America, and the proud mother of two amazing college age daughters.
Stephane Serre, SVP for Learning Platforms, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Stephane Serre is SVP for Learning Platforms at HMH since January 2018.
Stephane previously worked for 5 years as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President at Itslearning, a K12 LMS company, directly supervising the implementation of The HUB in the HISD school district, where he helped draft the HISD proclamation requiring every vendor working with HISD be IMS GLC compliant, specifically through the usage of Common Cartridge and Thin Common Cartridge standards.
Prior jobs include 2 years as Director of Development for HMH testing platforms, and 10 years as PMO Director at the Georgia Department of Education.
Stephane obtained an MBA from USC in 1994.
Jack Suess, Chairman of the Board, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Mr. John "Jack" Suess is Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). As Vice President, he provides university leadership for information technology at UMBC and serves on the executive leadership team of the university. He is responsible for providing information technology services in support of teaching and scholarship, research computing, and administrative support. Reporting directly to the President, he is responsible for strategic planning and implementation, coordination, budget, personnel, and policy related to information technology at UMBC.
Since 2000, Mr. Suess has been very active nationally in the areas of cybersecurity, identity management, analytics, and cloud computing and has served in a number of national information technology leadership activities with EDUCAUSE, Internet2, and InCommon. His recent activities include participating in the Internet2 Board of Directors (2010-2013), InCommon (2009-Present), Internet2 Council and Program Advisory Committees (2008-Present), ECAR Strategies Working Group (2013-Present), Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) (2000-Present, Chair 2003-2006), REN-ISAC Executive Advisory Group (2006-2013), Center for Higher Education CIO Studies (CHECS) (2013-Present), and the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace (NSTIC) (2012-Present).
Kevin A. Tashlein, Ed.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS)
Kevin A. Tashlein, Ed.D. Dr. Tashlein’s career in education spans over two decades. He is currently serving in his 4th year as Chief Strategy Officer for Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), a large diverse urban school district located northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. His previous district-level experience includes two and a half years as the Associate Superintendent of School Improvement & Operations. Prior to the district office he served as the principal of two GCPS high schools, leading Peachtree Ridge High School for five and a half years and Phoenix High School for eight years.
Dr. Tashlein received his undergraduate degree from Siena College, a master’s degree from Florida State University, and his doctoral degree from The University of Georgia (UGA).
He is married to Julie, a middle school science teacher, and has two daughters, Abigail and Sydney. As a family, they enjoy a variety of activities including running, hiking, swimming, and reading. He is originally from New York, however, has made Georgia his home.
Vivian Wong, Group Vice President Oracle Higher Education Development, Oracle
Vivian is a dynamic, outcome-driven, and accomplished technology executive who is highly focused on service excellence and customers’ success. She brings a wealth of experience and talent to develop world-class software and lead global engineering teams. Vivian has a proven track record in delivering high quality products from concept to market, with over 20 years of experience building enterprise software and Cloud applications at PeopleSoft, Taleo, ServiceMax, TargetX and Oracle.
Vivian is currently leading the Higher Education Product Development organization at Oracle for the latest innovation and delivery of Oracle Student Cloud. As a strong customer advocate, she ensures that quality, usability, performance and scalability are always designed and built into her products.
Outside of the office, Vivian is passionate about making the world a better place and leads her team to continue to give back to the community through ongoing philanthropical projects.