Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., has been a teacher, researcher, and policymaker. Currently, she is the President and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development. Dr. Jones served as Senior Advisor on Early Learning to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and as the country’s first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning in the US Department of Education. Prior to federal service, she was the Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Early Childhood Education in the New Jersey State Department of Education, with responsibility for New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program. For over 15 years Dr. Jones served as a Senior Research Scientist at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton. She has been a visiting faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a full-time faculty member at the City University of New York. Dr. Jones is a board member on the National Academies Board on Children, Youth and Families, and she served on the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Dr. Jones attended Hunter College of the City University of New York as an undergraduate and earned both a masters and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
Katie Paciga, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Education at Columbia College Chicago and is the first ever Early Career Research Fellow of the TEC Center at the Erikson Institute and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Media at St.Vincent College (with generous funding from the Grable Foundation). She holds a PhD in Literacy, Language, and Culture (University of Illinois at Chicago, 2011) and is a licensed elementary school educator as well. Her teaching and research interests focus on the social, emotional, cultural, and cognitive bases for language and literacy development, with a focus on the ways in which educational policies, human interaction, individual interests, printed media (i.e., children’s literature) and interactive media (i.e., web- and app-based games and tools) contribute to language and literacy teaching and learning.
Maureen Rover is the founder and CEO of the Reading Team, Inc., a New York City nonprofit organization that is dedicated to enabling young children who are at high risk of reading failure to become strong and enthusiastic readers, writers, listeners, and speakers. Reading Team programs focus on helping children whose prospects for school success are limited by inadequate support for their early language development, limited English proficiency, and/or attendance at low-performing schools. After receiving an MBA in Finance from Fordham University in 1986, Ms. Rover worked for Financial Technologies International, a leading provider of next generation real-time financial information solutions and for the Waterford Institute, a nonprofit research center that provides educational solutions for young children across the U.S. and internationally. In 1996, she moved to Pearson Education where she was responsible for sales of educational materials for grades K-3 in the New York Metropolitan area. Ms. Rover left Pearson Education in 2000 to start the Reading Team.
Warren Buckleitner, PhD, a former preschool, elementary, and college teacher, is an expert on children and technology. He is the founding and current editor of Children’s Technology Review. Dr. Buckleitner holds degrees in elementary education from Central Michigan University, an MA in early childhood education from the High/Scope Foundation and Pacific Oaks College, and a PhD in educational psychology from Michigan State University. He is also the founder of the Mediatech Foundation, a nonprofit community technology center dedicated to a “town made better with technology,” and is the founder of the Dust or Magic Institute on the Design of Children’s Interactive Media.
Chip Donohue, Ph.D. is the Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of Technology in Early Childhood Center at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. In addition to his roles at the Erikson Institute, Donohue is a Senior Fellow and member of the Advisory Board of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center joint position statement on using technology and interactive media in early childhood programs. Donohue is the editor of the book,“Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning,” co-published by Routledge/NAEYC and distributed to 20,000 NAEYC comprehensive members in 2014. In 2012 he received the first Bammy Award and the Educators Voice Award as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts & Sciences, and in 2015, was honored as a children’s media Emerging Pioneer by the Kids At Play Interactive Awards.
Benjamin Heuston, Ph.D. is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Waterford Institute, a nonprofit research center that provides educational solutions for young children across the U.S. and 15 countries internationally. Waterford’s solutions have long been recognized for their quality and effectiveness, including in 2013 with the award of a federal i3 validation grant for its innovative UPSTART program. As a leader in educational technology over the past two decades, Heuston is an active speaker, including recent or upcoming presentations at ASU + GSV Summit, TEDx and the Early Education and Technology for Children Conference. He is also a member of several boards and associations, including the SIIA Education Board and the International Gold Key International Honour Society, and a mentor for Utah Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Rhian Evans Allvin is the Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She has been responsible for guiding NAEYC’s strategic direction as well as overseeing its daily operations since August 2013. Before joining NAEYC, Evans Allvin was a guiding force in Arizona’s early childhood movement. She co-wrote the citizen’s ballot initiative that created First Things First (FTF) which set aside Arizona’s tobacco tax monies for children birth to five and created a state agency whose purpose is to ensure all Arizona children start kindergarten prepared. Evans Allvin served on FTF’s state board and then became the organization’s chief executive officer (CEO). Evans Allvin’s earlier roles also include a founding partner in the Brecon Group, a senior advancement officer at the Arizona Community Foundation, and additional leadership roles with Libraries for the Future, a national nonprofit, and Children’s Action Alliance in Arizona.
Rich Stombres is a Vice President at Penn Hill Group, where he brings expertise in federal education and job training initiatives. Prior to joining Penn Hill Group, Stombres was director of government relations in the education group at Van Scoyoc Associates. Stombres previously served as the deputy director of education and human services policy for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He managed professional and legislative staff in the drafting and negotiation of education and human services policy legislation. He also supervised legislative activities related to various programs under the committee’s jurisdiction, including early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, job training, older Americans, and teacher preparation. Prior to that, Stombres worked for the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House Committee on Science. Stombres served in the U.S. Army (Reserve) with the 80th Training Division from 1989–1997. He graduated from the U.S. Army (Reserve) Drill Sergeant School, 80th Division Leadership Academy, in Dublin, Virginia, and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal as an outstanding drill sergeant during his unit’s annual training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Stombres completed the U.S. Army (Reserve) Primary Leadership Development Course at Fort Dix, New Jersey, as honor graduate and graduated from the U.S. Army (Reserve) Military Police School at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Stombres has a master’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in international affairs from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from the University of the State of New York, Regents College.