Vicki’s Scoops for December 1

Well, Thanksgiving is behind us, and here comes Christmas and Hanukkah! However you spend it, we are rolling into the holiday season, though things aren’t slowing down much yet. But I have the holiday spirit—what a joyful time of the year. And I hope I bring you some joy with my weekly scoops. Go check out what I have for you from the last two weeks (spoiler: it’s a lot!)….

A special Thanksgiving treat….

George and I were so lucky to have a long lunch on the patio of a favorite restaurant in Houston over the weekend with dear friends Dr. Nelson Heller and his wife Pam. They were in town to spend Thanksgiving week with their daughter Becky and her family. As you know, Nelson, HellerResults Group, founded EdNET. And over the 29 years of working with and learning from him, the four of us have become steadfast friends, and we have many memories from work and our lives, both good and bad, that we have shared. It was fun to catch up on kids and grandkids and to hear about their recent trip to Barcelona and the surrounding region. They both look wonderful, and spending some time with them was a special treat for us!

New roles for colleagues and friends….

Todd Parchman, Co-Founder and Investment Banker in the firm of Parchman, Vaughan & Co, LLC was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc. Prior to his current role, Todd managed investment banking and served on the board of directors at Ferris, Baker Watts in Baltimore. A Chicago native, he began his career at First National Bank of Chicago’s First Scholar program and later joined Norwest Corporation as the manager of the firm’s energy banking practice. After Norwest, he founded Signet Investment Banking Company, where he served as senior managing director. A graduate of the University of North Carolina where he was a Morehead Scholar, Todd earned an MBA from the University of Chicago.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) was founded in 1807 and has a current enrollment of more than 6,700 students. UMB is the University of Maryland System’s professional education hub where students pursue advanced degrees from the highly ranked schools of Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work, along with the Graduate School. UMB’s 85,000 alumni serve Maryland, the nation, and the world. Garnering more than $550 million in grants and contracts annually, UMB generates 18,000 jobs and yields more than $13 in economic activity for each $1 of general fund appropriations. Together with its affiliate, the University of Maryland Medical Center and affiliated physician practices, UMB generates more than $6 billion in annual economic activity. The UMB Foundation seeks philanthropy to support education, research, clinical care, and community engagement and is currently conducting the $750 million Catalyst Campaign. The UMBF Board is currently comprised of 31 business, professional, and community leaders from Baltimore and Central Maryland.

Congratulations to Todd on his new role!

Charles Gragg, Marco Rodrigues, and Conall Ryan have been appointed to the board of directors for the Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.), a fully accredited, non-profit organization empowering schools with the industry’s most extensive offering of online and blended learning programs.

Charles Gragg has administered the online learning program at Holly High School in Holly, Michigan since 2008. His passion for online course design and teaching is matched only by his love for building New England timber frame barns using 19th century tools and techniques. Charles has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan. He holds teaching certifications for English and social studies in Michigan and Virginia. He has also been a Special Lecturer at Oakland University since 2014, where he teaches first year composition.

Marco Rodrigues is the superintendent of Hudson Public Schools in Hudson, Massachusetts. Prior to his work in Hudson, he served as manager of special education and intervention services and, most recently, chief academic officer for Worcester Public Schools in Worcester, Massachusetts. Over the course of 26 years, he has worked in a variety of roles educating students. Marco holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish from Worcester State University, a master’s in education from Assumption College, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Conall Ryan is a publishing executive with deep knowledge of education, consumer markets, and marketing. He is the Founder of Conall Ryan & Associates and consults on corporate strategy, new business initiatives, and product development. His projects have included personalized adaptive learning systems based on big data analytics, next generation assessment, and game simulations for higher education. Conall previously served as President & CEO of Muzzy Lane Software, a progressive game-oriented educational technology company. He is an active mentor for LearnLaunch, advising the educational technology startups that they support. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Boston University.

Join me in congratulating Charles Marco, and Conall on joining the VHS board!

Denise Wydra is the new Director of Content for ThinkCERCA, an online solution that provides educators with the content and tools needed to teach critical thinking and essential literacy skills.

Denise was formerly a consultant with Branch Idea Consulting, a consultancy working with organizations to grow digital innovation in education. There she offered strategic and tactical services for start-ups, educational product companies, schools, nonprofits, and investment groups.

Denise previously served as President of Bedford/St. Martin’s, publisher in the single largest higher education market; Vice President for Humanities at Macmillan Learning, a global education company; and COO of Cognii, Inc., a start-up that has become a leading provider of Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for the education and training market. She is a proven leader in the educational and ed tech arenas, where she has been guiding organizations, people, and products to success for over twenty years. She provides business acumen, organizational skill, extensive understanding of the market, creative insight, and a passion for helping smart people and ideas succeed.

Denise graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a A.B. in history and literature. As an undergraduate, she was managing editor of the Let’s Go travel guide series and helped introduce its first computer workflow. While working on her M.A. in English from Brown University (thesis on the role of literacy in Austen’s novels), she contributed to the hypermedia version of George P. Landow’s Victorian Web. She has been an active participant in LearnLaunch, the Boston-based ed tech accelerator, and has presented on educational technology and entrepreneurship at numerous events.

Congratulations to Denise on joining the ThinkCERCA team!

Keith Kostrzewski has joined LEGO Education as Head of Enterprise Sales for North America. Keith is a strategic leader who brings to his new position 20+ years’ experience from a range of roles to understand how the levers that each functional area of a business work and how they can be coordinated to drive growth and build scale. He has deep experience in revenue operations, customer experience, project and change management, and business development in enterprise software and services.

Congratulations to Keith on joining the great LEGO Education team!

Our friend Marshall H. Eubanks, Jr. has joined Lexia Learning as Senior Strategic Partnership Manager. Marshall is a high energy, achievement-driven ed tech executive with over 25 years’ experience in sales, sales management, business development, strategic planning, and executive leadership. Prior to Lexia, he was President & CEO at Three Ring. Earlier, he held positions of Senior Vice President of Sales for Computer Automation Systems, Inc.; Vice President for Business Development of Learning Platforms for RM; Senior Vice President of Sales for TeachTown; Vice President, School Sales, for HeadSprout; and Vice President of Sales for Wireless Generation. And he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet!

What a great hire—great for Lexia and great for Marshall—a winning combination here! Congratulations to you both!

Veteran astronaut and STEM education advocate Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. has been named the new chief executive officer of the National Math and Science Initiative. Dr. Harris is a founding member of the NMSI board and has served in that role for 10 years. He succeeds Matthew Randazzo, who recently was named president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation. Matthew will assume this role in mid-2018 and will remain a NMSI board member.

NMSI, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has partnered with more than 1,200 schools, provided training and support for nearly 50,000 teachers, and has improved the educational experiences of more than 1.5 million students. It is working to enhance its existing education reform programs and has announced a 10-year strategy to work with other organizations to identify and eradicate STEM deserts, where students have no access to rigorous math and science education.

The role of NMSI CEO is a natural fit for Dr. Harris, a physician, former astronaut, and businessman. His more than 20 years of business experience includes various leadership roles as CEO, president, and chief medical officer of some of the nation’s leading companies and organizations. He is also the founder of The Harris Institute, a non-profit organization that supports math and science education programs for America’s youth.

Congratulations to both gentlemen on their new roles.

Westchester Publishing Services has some new hires!

Mark DaGrossa has joined the company as Director of Creative Services. Prior to joining Westchester, Mark was a co-founder and principal of Folio Designhaus, based in Dayton, Ohio, a successful venture which built upon his 20 years of experience in the Design Department at the Mazer Corporation.

Mark brings to Westchester over 30 years of creative design experience from many industry segments, including K-12 educational publishing, marketing services, and digital design. Mark has cultivated an extensive network of design and creative freelance talent, which he will draw upon in this new role.

And, Westchester K-12 Publishing Services division has appointed two new members to its K-12 content development team. David Bailis has joined as STEM Content Director, and Anne M. Riccio has joined as Senior Supervising Editor – ELA & Humanities.

David Bailis was previously Director of Math at Tighe Publishing, a division of SPI International, where he managed their editorial team, creating a wide range of math programs in both print-based and digital formats for K-12 clients. Prior to Tighe, David was Supervising Editor at National Geographic Learning, managing a team of in-house editors to create K-6 science programs. In all, David has over 10 years of experience managing editorial teams creating math and science content for the K-12 market. David started his career as a classroom teacher, where he taught middle-school math for nearly 10 years.

Anne M. Riccio joins Westchester K-12 from Heinemann, where she was Senior Editor overseeing their Fountas & Pinnell Literacy program, managing an editorial team creating leveled readers for K-6. Prior to Heinemann, Anne was Director of Educational Technology for EPS/School Specialty, where she led teams in developing a suite of digital Reading and Language Arts programs. With over 20 years of K-12 content development experience, Anne has held ELA and Humanities editorial positions at Edison Schools, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson Education. Anne also started her career as a teacher, a middle school teacher of social studies.

With the expansion of the Westchester K-12 Publishing Services team led by Kevin J. Gray, this new division of Westchester Publishing Services has opened an office in Dayton, Ohio, establishing a definitive and permanent U.S. headquarters for the Westchester K-12 team, further ensuring excellent collaboration and productivity across the team on all client projects.

Congratulations to Mark, David, and Anne on joining the great Westchester team!

And, the University of Massachusetts has named the former president of Pearson North America to head up its online course offerings. Don Kilburn has been named CEO of UMassOnline, a venture that was launched in 2001. Last year UMassOnline had 75,565 students enrolled, up 7 percent from the previous year, and revenues of more than $100 million for the first time. Online enrollment at UMass has risen 39 percent in the past five years, as revenues have grown 47 percent in the same time.

Don has been president of North America at London-based Pearson plc since January 2014. He joined the company in 1998, after 12 years at Simon and Schuster Custom Publishing.

Congratulation to Don on his new role at UMassOnline!


The Boy Scouts of America and National Eagle Scout Association have honored FableVision founder and renowned children’s book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA). The award ushers Peter into an elite cadre of fellow Distinguished Eagle Scouts, which includes political, business, and creative luminaries such as President Gerald R. Ford, Neil Armstrong, Steve Fosset, Gov. Dukakis, James Lovell, Sam Walton, James Brady, William Hanna, J. W. Marriott Jr., and Steven Spielberg.

Peter earned the award for his “extraordinary national eminence in his field as well as his strong record of voluntary community service.” In addition to writing and illustrating nearly 50 influential children’s books (his most famous book, The Dot, has been published in over 30 languages and is celebrated each year in a global event called International Dot Day, which has reached over 10 million students and teachers in 170 countries), Peter also founded FableVision Studios to help foster creativity and self-expression and move the world to a better place through “stories that matter, stories that move.”

FableVision proudly cheered their creative champion as The Boy Scout of America Spirit of Adventure Council presented the award to Peter at the 41st annual “Salute to Scouting” gala at The Westin Copley Place in Boston this week. WCVB TV Anchor Randy Price, himself an Eagle Scout, served as master of ceremonies.

Warm congratulations to Peter on this richly deserved recognition!

The Global Gurus research organization has announced its World’s Top 30 Education Professionals for 2017. The list includes:

Dr. Otto Scharmer, a Senior Lecturer at MIT, Boston; a Thousand Talents Program Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing; and co-founder of the Presencing Institute

  • Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education
  • Terry Small, B.Ed., M.A., a master teacher, Canada’s leading learning skills specialist, and author of the Brain Bulletin with over 34,000 subscribers worldwide
  • Barbara Blackburn, Ph.D., who has dedicated her life to raising the level of rigor and motivation for professional educators and students
  • Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, a lead consultant in the curriculum and instruction department at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
  • Jim Fay, Co-Founder, The Love and Logic Institute Inc., School Consultant Services
  • Eric Jensen, a former teacher with a specialty in the applied cognitive science of learning and currently a member of the invitation-only Society for Neuroscience and the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Michael Fullan, a Canadian researcher on education and the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
  • Deborah Meier, who has been working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, and advocate since the early 1960s and who ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S.
  • Robert j Marzano, PhD, cofounder and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Colorado and leading researcher in education
  • Sir Ken Robinson, a professor emeritus and a great thinker in education and business revolution through his thoughts on creativity innovation and human potential
  • Erin Gruwell, an American teacher known for her unique teaching method, which led to the publication of The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them
  • Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy
  • Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
  • Edward L. Deci, professor of psychology and Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester
  • Prof Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University UK
  • Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches English, Social Studies and International Baccalaureate classes to English Language Learners and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and founder and co-director of the International Centre for Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
  • Dennis Littky, co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Company, The Met School, and College Unbound
  • David A. Kolb, Chairman of Experience Based Learning Systems (EBLS), an organization that he founded in 1980 to advance research and practice on experiential learning
  • Kenneth Leithwood, Emeritus Professor at OISE/University of Toronto and advisor to the Leadership Development Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of Education
  • Pasi Sahlberg, a global academic from Finland who analyzes academic systems around the globe and reforms to education systems
  • Vicki Davis, a teacher and the IT director at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia
  • John Wood, founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children®
  • Michelle Rhee, educator and advocate for education reform
  • Werner Erhard, an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness of and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world
  • Arthur L. Costa, Professor of Education, Emeritus from California State University Sacramento who specializes in helping educators teach students higher level thinking skills
  • Cheryl Gholar, a teacher, counselor, and administrator in public schools and postsecondary education for more than thirty years
  • Elaine Weiss, national coordinator for the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education (BBA), in which capacity she works with three co-chairs, a high-level task force, and multiple coalition partners to promote a comprehensive, evidence-based set of policies to allow all children to thrive
  • David Hopkins, Professor Emeritus from the Institute of Education University of London and a director for multi academy trust Bright Tribe

This is a very impressive list. Go online to read about each of these distinguished individuals. You can also cast your vote regarding how inspirational you think each guru is.

Impressive on multiple counts….

John Weiss, President, Weiss & Associates Executive Recruiting, in conjunction with the Kosciuszko Foundation, has awarded the 2017 Pope John Paul II Scholarship to Edyta Zareba Judge, a resident of Arlington, Virginia. Edyta is completing her PhD in Psychiatric Pharmacy at Creightoin University.

John shared that Edyta is a remarkable Polish legal immigrant who came to Chicago in 2007 from Bilesko, Poland when she was sixteen years old. She came with her mother who lost her job in Poland when she contracted cancer. Her mother came to the U.S.A. to take advantage of medical facilities and plentiful job opportunities.

Scholarship and outreach have been hallmarks of Edyta’s life in the United States. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois where she was on the Dean’s list each year and graduated with the Bronze Tablet, an award for highest academic achievement. She will receive her PhD in 2018. Throughout her undergraduate years and at Illinois and Creighton she has performed volunteer activities at numerous medical clinics serving veterans and the general population.

Edyta is married to a Navy Seal who was shot in Iraq and medically discharged. She has two young children and still makes time for community outreach and academic work on her PhD both online and at Creighton’s bricks and mortar facility.

The following excerpt from her statement of purpose in the application for the scholarship is inspirational.

“We moved to Chicago right before my sixteenth birthday in search of new job opportunities. Even though we had to start our lives over in a new location, I consider myself lucky to have been granted the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I want to spend my professional career helping people who defend this country and preserve our values and lifestyles. My success in college and work comes from the ethics of hard work and dedication I learned at a young age in Poland.”

John told me Edyta is typical of the candidates his firm considers for the Pope John Paul II Scholarship: intelligent, energetic, passionate, dedicated, leadership-ready, and cognizant of the values we hold dear as Americans. This is the tenth consecutive year that they have awarded the scholarship working in conjunction with the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City.

Both Edyta and the provision of this scholarship are very impressive! Congratulations to all!

And in closing, sad news….

I am sorry to bring sad news. SIIA shared that Andy McLaughlin, founder, president and CEO of Connectiv member PaperClip Communications, passed away on November 15th while on business in Hawaii. He leaves behind a wife Doris and two sons, Ryan (12) and Alex (17).

Andy graduated from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. in 1992. Then in 1994, he founded PaperClip Communications, a specialty information company that provides online and printed resources for higher education and K-12 administrators. Under Andy, the company continually grew, including an acquisition of The Parent Institute just over a year ago. He also served as a longtime Board member of SIPA—including as president in 2011-2012—in addition to his service at Connectiv.

I regret I do not have any additional details to share at this time, but I know you join me in sending thoughts and prayers to his family and all who are grieving over Andy’s passing.

I told you I had a lot of scoops, right? Well, I will be right back here next Friday with more! Till then….Vicki, the Snoop

[Send me your scoops at and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Snoops4Scoops #SheSnoops]