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.
Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, Desire2Learn Incorporated
Jeremy is responsible for formulating and supporting alignment on corporate strategy within Desire2Learn. Jeremy also provides leadership and management of corporate development, mergers & acquisitions, government relations, and intellectual property strategy.
Jeremy was part of the founding team at Desire2Learn, and continues to take a leadership role in driving the organization’s success within its key industries. Prior to joining Desire2Learn, Jeremy came from a strong technical and business background involving work with numerous high-tech companies throughout North America. Specifically, he has been actively involved with eLearning and technology companies for over twenty years, and participates on a number of boards and in advisory roles. Jeremy graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (Computer Science), specializing in Information Systems. He also earned a Master of Science in Management from Wilfrid Laurier University.
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.
Lois Brooks, Vice Provost for Information Services & CIO, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lois Brooks serves as chief information officer and vice provost for information technology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She provides vision, leadership, and advocacy for the effective application of information technologies to the instructional, research and service missions of the University. In partnership with executive and academic leadership, she develops and executes IT strategy for the University. She is active nationally in the higher education community, and has served in leadership and governance roles with the Northwest Academic Computing Consortium, Unizin, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, Leading Academic Transformation, and Internet2. Brooks joined UW-Madison in 2018 after serving as CIO and vice provost for information at Oregon State University since 2010. Previously, she worked at Stanford University for many years, serving most recently as Director of Academic Computing. During her tenure at Stanford she co-founded the Sakai Foundation, serving on the Board of Directors and later as Executive Director. Brooks holds an MBA from Columbia University, an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BS from the University of San Francisco.
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.
Steve Flynt, Ph.D.,, Associate Superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Dr. Steve Flynt currently serves as the Chief Strategy and Performance Officer with Gwinnett County Public Schools. Prior to being appointed to this position, Dr. Flynt also served as the Associate Superintendent of the Division of School Leadership and Operations, the Chief Academic Officer as well as an Area Superintendent for the Division of Teaching and Learning.
Immediately prior to coming to the central office, Flynt served as the principal of Gwinnett’s Peachtree Ridge High School. Initially certified as a science teacher, Flynt spent nine years in the classroom teaching in both Gwinnett and neighboring DeKalb county schools. During most of his teaching career he also coached soccer and swimming at the varsity level. Flynt’s leadership experience in Gwinnett County includes service as a high school science department chair, administrative assistant and assistant principal, before being named principal in January 2006, in addition to serving on numerous education boards and task force committees.
Steve Flynt earned his education degrees at Young Harris College (associate of arts in education), Lees-McRae College (bachelor’s in biology), Piedmont College (master’s in science education), and the University of Georgia, where he completed his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. He is active in many community organizations and with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce as an alumnus of Leadership Gwinnett.
Joel Hames, Vice President - Product, Schoology
As VP of Product for Schoology, Joel brings over 20 years of experience in both K-12 education and Education Technology product management to the the mission of delivering the best K-12 teaching and learning platform. Joel led instructional technology teams in school districts across California prior to becoming a product leader, and is passionate about developing solutions that support the success of teachers and students in K-12. Joel's experience spans strategic product vision and execution, product portfolio management, education technology management, and the building and enablement of teams attuned to the needs of educators. Joel received a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and a Masters of Education from the University of Illinois.
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.
Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw-Hill Education
Stephen J. Laster was appointed chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education in August 2012. He is responsible for creating compelling student experiences, and developing breakthrough teaching and learning solutions. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill Education, he led Intelligent Solutions, LLC, a firm that engages with universities and businesses to leverage their digital technology and collaborative tools. At the same time, he served as the chief information and technology officer of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the HBS administrative leadership team, overseeing the school’s academic, research and administrative computing teams.
Mr. Laster holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
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.
Lou Pugliese, Senior Innovation Fellow, Arizona State University
Over the past twenty years, Pugliese has developed a strong track record managing growth stage businesses and acquiring and developing a number of education organizations. Pugliese is currently Senior Innovation Fellow at Arizona State University and Managing Director of the Teaching and Learning Action Lab. Lou was recently former Chairman and CEO of Moodlerooms, the largest global provider of open source software and services for eLearning for the K to Workforce markets which was acquired by Blackboard. Prior to Moodlerooms, Pugliese was President of Learning Diagnostics Inc., an education a consulting practice providing strategic planning in Business Intelligence in academic and administrative information architecture.
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.
Holly Sagues, Executive Director, Governmental Affairs and Strategic Solutions, Florida Virtual School
As the Executive Director, Governmental Affairs and Strategic Solutions, Holly Sagues collaborates with relevant internal and external stakeholders to help shape, manage, and lead advocacy strategies for influencing the policies of virtual learning and FLVS. She was imperative in reversing policies that restricted some Florida students access to virtual education during the 2017 Florida legislative session.
Holly began her career in Orange County Public Schools in 1990 as an instructor, teaching students in middle and high school. In 1998, Holly joined the FLVS team as an instructor and online course developer. She drew upon her extensive prior experience as a business and computer science instructor to develop and teach the first FLVS business course, which incorporated the most up-to-date technologies. From 2001-2008, Holly served as the FLVS CIO responsible for managing all FLVS communications and information systems, managing all technical aspects of course delivery, and directing the activities of the IT Department. During this period, she led the scalability of FLVS IT systems from 10,000 enrollments to more than 100,000 enrollments.
Holly earned her Master of Arts degree in Vocational Education and Technical Training, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Central Florida.
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).
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.