Past Fellows fortified MVLRI team's efforts

MVU dedicates staff members to MVLRI projects as well as augments its capacity through a fellows program drawing from state, national and international experts in K-12 online learning from K-12 schooling, higher education and private industry. Fellows receive one-year appointments and are selected based on the alignment of their strengths with MVLRI  priorities for the year. The following experts served as an MVLRI Fellow in the past.


Lauren Acree is a Research Associate at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation where she serves as the Policy and Personalized Learning Lead. Currently, Lauren leads the Learning Differences and micro-credentialing teams. She has developed content for the Leadership in Blended Learning program, contributed to the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan and the State Leaders in Digital Learning Course. Lauren also worked closely with the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Department of Education to plan and facilitate sessions for the Future Ready initiative to district teams across the nation. Prior to working at the Friday Institute, she worked as a special education teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a Fellow at the Tennessee Department of Education. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia and her Master in Public Policy from Duke University.


Leanna Archambault is an Associate Professor of Educational Technology in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Dr. Archambault’s research areas include teacher preparation for online and blended classrooms as well as the nature of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Most recently, she has collaborated on the Hartwell Education Initiative to create and study a newly developed blended course, Sustainability Science for Teachers. In 2012, she won the Online Learning Innovator Award for Outstanding Research from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Prior to taking her position at Arizona State University, Dr. Archambault graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a Ph.D. in instructional and curricular studies. As a former middle school English teacher, Dr. Archambault is passionate about improving education, particularly through the use of relevant and emerging technologies.


Erik Black is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Educational Technology and serves as the Associate Director of the Office of Interprofessional Education at the University of Florida Health Science Center. He earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus in educational technology and research and evaluation methodology from the University of Florida, a Master of Arts from the College of New Jersey and a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech. Dr. Black’s primary role at the University of Florida is in health sciences and systems education. Drawing on his background in curriculum design, educational psychology and applied statistics, his research agenda focuses on the development of professional identity and the evaluation and assessment of learning and media environments in cognitively complex domains across a broad range of ages and life stages.


Tom Clark, President of TA Consulting, provides evaluation and related services for a wide variety of organizations. Dr. Clark has led evaluations of state virtual schools in four states and in Chicago Public Schools, and has evaluated online and technology-related programs ranging from a $9.1 million federal program to postsecondary and statewide K-12 programs. An advisor for U.S. Department of Education's Evaluating Online Learning (2008), he has published works on distance and online learning. Dr. Clark completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University where he also received his M.S.Ed. and B.S.


Mark E. Deschaine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Services at Central Michigan University. He has extensive local, state and national experience in training and development of faculty in the integration of technology into their curriculum, special education issues and effective instructional practices. Dr. Deschaine completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Western Michigan University, his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at Grand Valley State University, his M.A.T. in Education from Oakland University, and his B.S. in Education from Central Michigan University in Special Education. He holds Michigan certification and endorsements as a teacher, a special educator, and building as well as central office administrator. Dr. Deschaine’s research agenda focuses on special education programs and services PK-20, applied systems theory and its impact on organizational change, and effective integration of educational technology in academic settings.


Heidi Curtis has both bricks and mortar and online experience in both the K-12 and postsecondary settings. After teaching middle school English, reading and social studies for 10 years, Dr. Curtis worked in a full-time, virtual school teaching, overseeing computerized state testing, and finally, as both a middle and high school principal. In her current role, Assistant Professor of Education at Northwest Nazarene University, Dr. Curtis directs online Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs in Educational Leadership. It is her goal to mentor pre-service and practicing teachers and administrators to utilize 21st century tools to make learning more relevant, rigorous and personal for students.


Richard E. Ferdig is the Summit Professor of Learning Technologies and Professor of Instructional Technology at Kent State University (KSU). He works within the Research Center for Educational Technology and also the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University (MSU). He has served as researcher and instructor at MSU, the University of Florida, the Wyzsza Szkola Pedagogiczna (Krakow, Poland) and the Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy). At KSU, his research, teaching and service focus on combining cutting-edge technologies with current pedagogic theory to create innovative learning environments. His research interests include online education, educational games and simulations, and what he labels a deeper psychology of technology. In addition to publishing and presenting nationally and internationally, Dr. Ferdig has also been funded to study the impact of emerging technologies such as K-12 virtual schools. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Gaming and Computer Mediated Simulations, the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, and currently serves as a Consulting Editor for the Development Editorial Board of Educational Technology Research and Development and on the Review Panel of the British Journal of Educational Technology.


Gordon Freedman is President of the National Laboratory for Education Transformation, NLET, a California 501C3 nonprofit, corporation founded in 2011. NLET and a center at the University of California Santa Cruz operate the Silicon Valley Education Research and Development Center. Freedman is also Managing Director of Knowledge Base, LLC, an education, learning and technology consultancy established in 1998. Freedman assists formal education institutions, schools and higher education, and corporations adapt to the evolving information age and its rapidly changing technological structures for learning. Freedman served as Vice President of Global Education Strategy for Blackboard, Inc. from 2005 through 2011 and was Executive Director of the Blackboard Institute, 2009-2011. Through his management of Knowledge Base, LLC, Freedman has played a key role in updating and forming new learning strategies for a range of universities, community colleges, state agencies, ministries of education, education corporations, museums and foundations.


Theresa Gibson is a Project Coordinator at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. She is currently program manager for the Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning Program and the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network. She plays a key role in the sustainability, evaluation and continuous improvement of these leadership programs. Theresa is also a course developer for the Fraction Foundations and Teaching Statistics Through Data Investigations MOOC-Ed teams. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics and in Mathematics Education at Buffalo State College in New York and is currently an MBA candidate at North Carolina State University. She has experience teaching Algebra and Geometry to students in grades 8-12 and in academic intervention for mathematics working with students in grades 6-12. Theresa also worked at the community college level as a developmental mathematics instructor. Prior to joining the research team, she worked as a program manager in a title I program to provide online and face to face tutoring in mathematics and reading to K-8 students throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.


Eric Kellerer is currently the Director of the Doceo Center at Northwest Nazarene University. The Center, established in January 2013, exists to inspire personalized learning through innovative practices in education. As the director, Dr. Kellerer is also the project manager for an Idaho-wide pilot project to use Khan Academy in K-12 public and private institutions to enhance personalized learning environments. During the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, Eric led a team to implement and research the use of Khan Academy with 10,500 students. The team also included an additional 1,500 adult students in the Idaho Corrections system that used KA Lite, a non-Internet use of Khan Academy. Prior to directing the Doceo Center, Eric was the Executive Director of Information Technology at Northwest Nazarene University for 15 years. He received his Doctorate in Education in 2002 in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on technology in distance education. The title of Eric’s dissertation was “Internet-based, asynchronous connected learning and the role of course management software.” In the dissertation, he explored pedagogical practices and the use of software in online learning.


Paula Kellerer is the Dean of the College of Adult and Graduate Studies at Northwest Nazarene University. Although Paula has had adjunct teaching responsibilities since 2006, she officially joined the faculty at NNU in 2010, directing the Ed.S. Superintendency program and working to secure approval from the Northwest Association for Schools and Colleges for the university’s first doctoral program – the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She had previously served for six years as the Chief Academic Officer in the third largest school district Idaho. In that role, Paula was responsible for student achievement in the district and worked with team members to build capacity in multiple areas including curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional development, federal programs, district discipline, patron concerns and school safety. In addition to serving as Program Director of the Ed.S. Superintendency and holding teaching responsibilities with bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral education students at NNU, she was appointed as Chair of the Department of Education in 2011 and Dean of the School of Education, Social Work and Counseling in 2012. Paula was appointed as the dean of the newly created College of Adult and Graduate Studies (CAGS) at NNU in 2013. In that role, she oversees the academic work of all graduate programs on campus and all adult completion programs, including programs in social work, counseling, education, business, nursing and Christian ministry. In the fall of 2014, CAGS launched the university’s first wholly online undergraduate degree targeting underserved populations and rural Idaho students.


Kathryn Kennedy is the Director of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and former Director of Research for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). In this position, she was responsible for providing multiple venues for disseminating research, establishing an annual research agenda, and conducting, coordinating and disseminating research studies to help inform the field of K-12 blended and online learning. Her practical experiences include pre-service and in-service teacher, technology specialist and school librarian professional development for technology integration and instructional design in traditional, blended, and online learning environments. Her research interests deal directly with her practical experience and concentrate mostly on education professionals and their preparation for next generation learning models, including but not limited to online and blended learning environments. Dr. Kennedy holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in Educational Technology from the University of Florida.


Susan Lowes is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She conducts research at both the university and K-12 levels, focusing on technology’s impact on teaching and learning, and directs evaluations of multi-year projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education, the National Science Foundation, state and local departments of education, and private foundations. Dr. Lowes is interested in online learning and evaluates online professional development initiatives for teachers and administrators, as well as online courses and programs for students. Her recent focus is on teaching students how to learn on online, using locus of control, and on using LMS data to discover patterns of student-teacher interaction. Dr. Lowes is also Adjunct Professor in the Computers, Communication, Technology and Education Program at Teachers College, teaching courses on online schooling and research methodologies. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.


Rebecca A. Parks is currently the Director of Consulting and Operations at Teaching Today’s Teachers, a private education consulting firm founded in 2014. In this role, Dr. Parks provides leadership and research-based best practices, professional development and guidance to partners in K-12 education. Previously, Dr. Parks joined the New Learning Models team in iNACOL for several research projects designed to advance the field of K-12 online and blended learning. As a past full-time visiting professor at Elmira College, Rebecca taught various content courses to pre-service teachers in childhood education and developed a comprehensive student teaching experience in Amsterdam, Netherlands, for selected students. In addition, she has over a decade of practitioner experience at the elementary grades teaching in the brick and mortar setting. Dr. Parks holds a Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University and has strong research interests in new and emerging learning models and professional development in K-12 education.


DaJuana Prater is an Assistive Technology Specialist at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Her primary responsibilities include developing and facilitating technology training for students with visual impairments, as well as staff, parents and other stakeholders. DaJuana supports both academic and expanded core curriculum by evaluating prospective assistive technology solutions and assessing suitability and potential impact on student success. She has co-developed an accessible online technology course to assist students in fulfilling the state mandated online course graduation requirement. DaJuana Prater is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired who also holds state certifications in Specific Learning Disabilities (K-12), Visual Disabilities (K-12), Mathematics (5-9), Primary Education and endorsements in ESOL and Reading. Her diverse experience includes 23 years in education, teaching in settings from the inner city to a state school and subjects such as physics, technology, math and reading. DaJuana is passionate about technology and how it is used to enhance the lives of those with visual impairments.


Keryn Pratt is a Senior Lecturer at the College of Education, University of Otago, New Zealand, where she also hold the role of Doctoral and Distance Programmes Coordinator. She gained her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Otago in 2000, and has been working in the areas of technology in education and distance education since this time. She conducts research at both the university and K-12 levels, looking at a variety of issues. Recent focuses have included work exploring how best to support distance students at the university level, and working with a group of schools who work together in a blended learning programme. Further information on Keryn can be found here.


Sherawn Reberry is currently the Director of Education Programs at Idaho Digital Learning Academy. IDLA is Idaho’s Virtual School established by the Idaho Legislature in 2002. IDLA provides eLearning expertise, virtual services and leadership in collaboration with Idaho school teachers and administrators to ensure all of Idaho students’ needs are being met. Before becoming employed full time at IDLA, Sherawn was a building level principal and assistant superintendent for a district serving over 5,000 students. Additionally, she continues her duties as online principal for IDLA as she has the previous eight years. Dr. Reberry received her Doctorate in Education in 2002 in Educational Leadership with emphasis in Instructional Technology. Her dissertation was titled “Teaching with Technology (TWT): Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers Sponsored by the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation.” In her dissertation she looked at how professional development activities affect teachers and the use of technology in their classrooms.


Verena Roberts is a passionate open educator, consultant and Werkland School of Education (University of Calgary) doctoral student who is completing her Ed.D. in Learning Sciences. Verena has taught, developed and consulted about curriculum and technology integration from pre-K to Higher Education in Canada, the United States and Singapore. Verena has facilitated and developed a wide range of open networked learning projects with a focus on open access to learning, open educational resources, emerging professional learning opportunities and learning pathways for teachers and students. Some of her projects have included cMOOCS for educators like #Digifoot12, #ETMOOC and #OCLMOOC, as well as the #Gamifi-ED Project. She was the 2013 iNACOL Innovative Online and Blended Learning Practice Award recipient. She has worked with a number of school districts in the U.S. and Canada and has consulted with the Canadian eLearning Network, LEARN (Quebec), iNACOL, the Alaska Tribal Health Consortium, Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) and the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC).


Barbara Treacy is an instructor in the Technology, Innovation and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a digital education consultant who has worked with states, districts, colleges and universities, and other educational organizations to enable them to build successful online and blended programs for teachers, students and leaders. Current projects include developing blended curriculum and capacity-building facilitator training for the Leadership in Blended Learning Program, based at NCSU’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and consulting to the NYC Leadership Academy to develop a blended model for their year-long principal residency program. Treacy is also leading the professional development program for the 14 Massachusetts districts who were awarded Digital Connections Partnership Schools grants to develop digital learning infrastructure and blended learning programs in their schools. Treacy is the chair of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Digital Learning Advisory Council and serves as a member of the MIT Online Education Policy Initiative committee and the Project Tomorrow Advisory Board.


Niki Walker is currently the Idaho Digital Learning Blended Learning Program Manager. She has been an educator for 13 years and worked in all aspects of education. Niki has taught in the classroom, developed and taught online and blended learning courses as well as provided professional development for teachers in all aspects of education. Niki has her master's in Curriculum and Instruction-Instructional Technology and her expertise spans the education field while providing practical knowledge in traditional, blended, and online learning.


Nicola Wayer is currently the Director of Instructional Design and Training for the Tennessee Board of Regents’ TN eCampus. In this position, she provides leadership and support in instructional design and course development, accessibility issues, and faculty and student training in best practices for online learning. Prior to joining TN eCampus, she was the Director of Instructional Design at Champlain College in Vermont. Dr. Wayer has extensive experience working at PK-12, postsecondary and graduate levels of education as a teacher, curriculum developer, instructional designer, technology integrationist, accessibility specialist and researcher. She holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Florida, a Master of Education degree from University of North Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education and Elementary Education from Flagler College.


Eric Werth is currently an assistant professor and the director of the Center for Online and Blended Learning at Northwest Nazarene University. In this position Dr. Werth guides NNU in selecting and implementing various learning technologies as well as manages the development of a new set of online associate and bachelor degree programs being developed at NNU. Prior to this, Eric served Northwest Nazarene as the Director of E-Learning. Dr. Werth has taught approximately 30 courses in either an online or blended format, is a certified K-12 teacher, and is active in research and publishing related to the impact of technology on classroom learning. Eric lives in Idaho with his wife and three daughters and enjoys hobbies include hiking, biking and fly fishing.


Lori Werth is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Education Department at Northwest Nazarene University. Lori received her Bachelor of Science degree from College of Idaho in Biology and Chemistry, a Master’s of Science in Education from Oregon State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from University of Idaho. Her teaching and research interests primarily relate to blended learning, integrating technology in the K-12 and higher education classrooms, and retention in the online learning environment. Dr. Werth has worked in higher education for over 17 years in a variety of administrative capacities including Admissions Counselor, Student Services Coordinator, International Programs Coordinator, Director of Admissions and Vice President for Enrollment Management. Much of her work in higher education administration has focused on using and evaluating data as steps to the school improvement process. Lori currently resides in Idaho with her husband and three daughters.


Phoebe Winter, Executive Vice President of Education Policy at Pacific Metrics, brings policy, psychometric and practical perspectives to the design and implementation of assessment and accountability programs, drawing on her experience as a measurement specialist in two state departments of education. She holds a Ph.D., M.A. and M.Ed. from Columbia University in psychology, with an emphasis on measurement, evaluation and applied statistics, and a B.A. in Psychology from Clemson University.