Vicki’s Final Scoops

Happy Friday, friends! As usual, I have the week’s scoops for you, as well as a personal message of gratitude as I slide all the way into retirement and bring you my final column. Never fear—the scoops will continue—because keeping this community connected is important to MDR and all of us. But right now, check out the news from this week….

Colleagues and friends in new roles….

John Roselli has been appointed chief strategy officer for Renaissance. In this role, John is responsible for leading strategic planning, new market business development, and mergers and acquisitions for the organization. He will oversee Renaissance’s strategy and business development team and will help grow the organization’s footprint domestically and internationally to continue to support educators and students worldwide.

John joins Renaissance from Adtalem Global Education, a $2 billion publicly held education provider. There, he held several leadership positions, including senior vice president of corporate development and strategy and, his most recent role, president of Adtalem’s Becker Professional Education division.

John brings to Renaissance more than 25 years of global experience in business strategy, operations, finance, and acquisitions. During his 14 years at Adtalem, he initially oversaw strategy and business development, leading the process of diversifying the organization through multiple major acquisitions. He was later promoted to leadership of the professional education division. Previously, he served as chief financial officer and vice president of business development at Indeliq and as vice president, business development for W.W. Grainger’s Internet commerce unit.

Congratulations to John on joining the great Renaissance team!

Dr. Nathan Lang has been appointed chief education officer at WeVideo. In this newly created executive board position, Dr. Lang will work to align WeVideo for Schools with the goals of school superintendents, administrators, and school boards who will make the ed tech decisions that will prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s higher education and workplace requirements.

As the face of education for WeVideo, Nathan works with K-12 leadership across the nation to assist schools with implementing creative solutions to shift instructional pedagogy in the classroom to meet the demands of an innovative workforce. He is a Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, 2016 Apple Teacher, and serves on the ILA Task Force. He has been an Education Strategist with CDW-G and a National Consultant with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He was the Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and has been a high school science teacher, elementary assistant principal, high school assistant principal, university adjunct professor, as well as Education Supervisor at the NASA-Johnson Space Center.

Dr. Lang is a frequent speaker at both local and national professional conferences. He is the co-founder of Bammy-nominated #LeadUpChat, an educational leadership professional learning network (PLN) via Twitter. He is also the co-founder of #divergED, a Twitter chat focused on divergent thinking and innovations in education. Nathan is an author at Solution Tree. His book, Everyday Instructional Coaching, is scheduled for release in April 2018. He is also co-authoring a book with Dr. Robert Marzano, a leading education researcher, on the New Art and Science of Teaching Mathematics. Dr. Lang received his B.A. in General Science-Chemistry from Harding University, his M.Ed. Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston-Victoria, and his Ed.D. Learning Organizations and Strategic Change from David Lipscomb University.

Congratulations to Dr. Lang on his new role. You can follow him on Twitter @nalang1.

Sean Herdman, former Associate Publisher at EdWeek and frequent birds-of-a-feather EdNET session leader, shared with me this week an update on his new gig. Sean is thrilled to share with the EdNET community that he has joined SchoolPass as the company’s sales director. In this role he leads what he describes as the awesome professionals working with public, private, and parochial schools around the country to improve student logistics and safety.

Sean reports that the company’s high-growth, SaaS-based enterprise is hiring talented sales, customer success, marketing, and technology professionals and invites you to reach out to him at sean.herdman@school-pass.comcreate new email if you would like to learn more!

ShoolPass was founded by Mark Ruiters, whose background includes BlackBoard, Omnitracs, and IBM.  With funding from A3 Education and others, Sean says the company is poised for rapid scaling. He is excited to have joined early and looks forward to incredible success and fun!

Join me in congratulating Sean on his new position at SchoolPass!

Capstone, a leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, has named Patricia Stockland as Capstone Publisher. Patricia brings 20 years of experience in publishing and a background in product development and management and will lead the product development group at Capstone.

Patricia rejoins Capstone after an 11-year hiatus, most recently serving as Publisher with Cantata Learning, a publisher of high-interest educational books and music. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Editor in Chief at Lerner Publishing Group and before that as Editorial Director at Red Line Editorial, Inc. She began her career in children’s publishing as an Editor with the Capstone imprint Compass Point Books and worked in editorial and marketing for many years.

Patricia holds an M.A. in Literature from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a B.A. in English from South Dakota State University as well as minors in Spanish and European Studies and a mini-MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis. In addition to numerous poems, scholarly articles, and marketing pieces, she has written more than 70 books for children and young adults, garnering national and regional awards, including a nomination as a MAGS scholar. She has volunteered in schools both through The Junior League and as a library reader for under-served youth, in addition to serving as a board member for Mid-List Press.

Join me in wishing Patricia every continued success in returning to Capstone and in her new role!

And Capstone has named Darin Rasmussen Vice President of Digital Product Development and Management. Darin brings more than 15 years of experience in education technology, SaaS, and publishing businesses to his new role and will oversee Capstone’s digital product team.

Darin has led digital product management, software development, marketing, and sales teams throughout his career. Most recently he served as the Founder and CEO of 808 Hats, LLC, a marketing and management consulting firm for technology and SaaS companies. He also worked as VP, Marketing and Strategy for Edmentum and spent 8 years in strategic marketing and business development at Thomson Reuters.

Darin earned his MBA cum laude from Chicago Booth Business School.  He also has a JD degree from Chicago-Kent and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Illinois. He currently serves as Board Director and Secretary with Educelerate North, an education technology startup accelerator.

Darin began his new position in late December. Congratulations to him on joining the great Capstone team!

The talented Chris Minnich will be assuming new duties at NWEA on January 29th as the organization’s new chief executive officer. The position is being vacated by Matt Chapman, who is retiring after more than a decade in the role, having led the organization from serving two million kids to more than ten million worldwide.

Chris most recently served as the Executive Director of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO). He has served CCSSO since 2008, becoming its executive director in 2012. In that role, he has worked with states to raise the bar on standards, assessments, and accountability; transform educator preparation programs; and implement and sustain promising reforms across the country.  He was also a critical player in passage of Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.

From 2005-2008, Chris held multiple positions at Harcourt, all focused on the advancement and improvement of assessments. Before joining Harcourt, he served as the Director of Test Design and Implementation at the Oregon Department of Education from 2003-2005. While there, he led the statewide implementation of Oregon’s online assessment.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Washington, Seattle, as well as a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is relocating to Portland, Oregon with his wife and two sons.

Join me in congratulating Chris on his new role at NWEA! I think you might also value reading reflections he wrote, given the role Chris has held as the leader of the K-12 education chiefs in the states. I know we will continue to see great work from Chris!


Industry leader Todd Brekhus, President of myON, has been named the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Winner in the SIIA Company CODiE Awards. The Company CODiE Award recognizes outstanding teams and individuals for their accomplishments, leadership, and commitment to their respective industry.

After spending eight years in the classroom and as a department chair and technology director, Todd identified a gap in availability of interactive digital resources. He was previously VP and chief marketing officer for PLATO Learning, president and COO of Learning Elements, and education program director for MCI WorldCom, where he helped build and implement the renowned Marco Polo program.

Todd built myON out of the resources of Capstone and has served as the president of myON since 2009. The company provides more than 13,000 digital titles to more than 7.5 million students worldwide and has played a role providing personalized literacy environments to build a community of readers in cities across the nation.

In recent years, Todd coined the term Measure Reading with Reading™ to encourage educators to use real-time data and Lexile® scores to assess students’ literacy growth. In 2016, myON launched myON NEWS to provide daily multimedia news articles for K–8 students in many languages and at a range of Lexile levels. Todd has played a pivotal role in growing the company in a variety of areas, including attracting new customers, nurturing existing customers, and spreading the word about myON’s digital literacy environment via thought leadership opportunities.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, announced the full slate of CODiE winners during a global web announcement on December 1st.

Join me in congratulating Todd on this much deserved recognition!

And now, good-bye, dear readers and friends….

Wow, this is my last Snoops column, and it has been a bittersweet task this week. As you know by now, I officially retired on January 1st but it’s always tough to go cold turkey, so I wrote a few extra scoops.

I have always found great joy in connecting and supporting others. And I have forever been a database person, amassing a pretty strong digital address book of friends and colleagues over the years. Early on, when someone in our community was ill, celebrating, perhaps between jobs or in need of help, or when we lost one of our own, I would often get the call, asking me to please spread the word. And it was a gift I was glad I could give.

In 1998, when Dr. Nelson Heller was launching his first e-zine, EdNET Week, he asked if I would write a weekly “personals” column. I thought that sounded easy enough and selected the name for the column—”She Snoops for Scoops.” He recently found the intro I wrote for that first column….

“WHY AM I DOING THIS….? Life in the EdNET community isn’t all mergers, acquisitions, and product releases. There are lots of special people behind all these developments. I count myself rich in blessings to have many colleagues in this industry that I also consider friends.”

And so it was born, a labor of love for me all these years. I have been blessed to have had the most amazing career, for years as a teacher from elementary through college and a district and regional administrator. Then I moved into consulting, doing a ton of travel and teacher, principal, and administrator training all over the country and beyond in the early years while also authoring textbooks, curriculum materials, training materials, marketing materials, online courses, and more. And of course, I have had the privilege to work on the EdNET conference team for 26 years.

I have this fantasy that at least a few of you will be shocked that I am considering retirement at such a young age! But is has been a 45-year career that has given me so much! My work has let me work with amazing educators across the country, and it has let me strategize and work with the best of the best players in our industry committed to developing and providing quality products and services for schools. I can honestly say I have loved and been passionate about the work I have been engaged in every year of my career. It is called working your passion.

Now I am looking forward to new adventures. I am ready to spend more time with and give attention to those I love the most and to do new things that make my heart sing and have a few ideas about that.

Writing this column each week has been great fun for me, and this column has been all about cherishing and working to nurture the relationships in our community….

  • People on the move….
  • Ch-ch-ch-changes….
  • Trendsetters and innovators!
  • Lighting the candles on anniversaries and milestones
  • Authors among us and other accomplishments
  • New roles and promotions as well as marriages, births, and special celebrations
  • And sometimes, sad news to share….

It has been kind of funny to me and also fun for me – so many people tell me they feel like they know me, because they have seen me on a stage or they read my weekly Snoops column (where in all cases, I pretty much tell anything about myself, right?) But please know my gratitude to each of you for being readers, colleagues, and friends in my life and valuable players in our industry.

I have been immeasurably blessed not only by the work, but also by the countless friendships I have made along the way—each of you has been part of that! A special thanks to Kristina James and the MDR marketing team and other MDR staff for the humbling and touching ways they have supported me with my transition in recent months. Now, keep doing the very important and good work that you do! And, keep reading MDR’s School of Thought blog for industry insights each week that keep this amazing community connected – and keep sending in your own personal news and that of others.

With my deepest gratitude….Vicki, the (former) Snoop

[Please send your scoops to Kristina Jamescreate new email]



1 Comment

  1. I am in tears.. tears of sadness at your departure, tears of joy at what blessings are to come for you, tears of emotion for the many “scoops” I have read over the years which have made me laugh, cry, mourn, snicker, and celebrate.. I refuse however to shed tears for the end of our friendship. I indeed have been one of those who met you on these pages, introduced by Eileen Barnett (of blessed memory) who knew Nelson and told me that in my position at MESPA I NEEDED to read the MDR, and needed to read the Scoops.. and yes, as usual, Eileen was right.. so read, sleep, meditate, sunbathe, run in the rain. and enjoy your tomorrows.. but don’t forget us and please, please send me an occasional “HEY”.. and of course if you and hubby think about coming to sunny Scottsdale, you know where to find me! Love evye

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