What We Do

Modern Teacher partners with K-12 districts across the country to support the transition from traditional classrooms to modern learning environments. We provide a research-based methodology for Digital Convergence in education, and we’ve created a technology-enabled solution to support districts in leveraging today’s best tools across K-12 classrooms.

Who We Work With

Districts Nationwide have used the Digital Convergence Framework to guide their work.


Who We Are


At Modern Teacher, we’ve assembled a network of like-minded professionals dedicated to
supporting teachers in today’s highly connected, digital world.

Patricia Barrett

Patricia Barrett, Professional Development Specialist, has a family heritage rich in education, including her father and two children. She was born and raised in the Midwest and attended schools in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. An educator for over 35 years, Patti has a bachelor’s degree in English Education, a master’s degree in special education and a certification in educational administration. Her school experiences are in public and private schools; elementary, middle and high schools; general education and special education; teaching and administrating. She likes to say that in the world of education, she’s done it all!

Patti’s most recent years in education were as an elementary school principal. In this capacity she was able to work closely with teachers on many of the instructional issues faced by professionals today. As an administrator in the second largest school district in Illinois, she served on many committees that helped bring initiatives and innovative practices to classrooms. She was also deeply involved with the teacher mentor program that worked with new teachers. Patti brings these many years and wide variety of experiences to the work that she is now doing with Modern Teacher.

Sarah Foltzenlogen

Sarah Folzenlogen, Modern Teacher faculty, is originally from the East Coast. Sarah has established her roots in Ohio where she has 15 years of experience in both public and private education as a science educator, administrator, curriculum designer and instructional coach. Sarah began her career working in medical research. Therefore, she brings a unique perspective to the world of education and college and career readiness. She has focused her work on supporting educators and leaders to create engaging, authentic and challenging learning experiences for all students. Sarah credits her administrative experience, in a school pioneering one-to-one technology, as a pivotal point in shaping her passion for working to innovate education in the 21st century. Sarah earned her B.S. from the University of Dayton and her M.S. from the University of Cincinnati. As a local and national education consultant, Sarah is engaged in writing and delivering professional development, along with supporting schools in curriculum design and instructional coaching. Sarah brings extensive experience in backward design, assessment literacy and blended learning to her work at Modern Teacher.

Laura Janusek

As Vice President of Product, Laura manages Modern Teacher's whole product, with an emphasis on their software solutions. With the CTO, Laura manages the development and quality assurance teams, including both U.S.-based and nearshore developers. With the CEO and President, she defines Modern Teacher's current and upcoming software solutions and uses client feedback to oversee the development cycle, from ideation through live releases and enhancements. As a member of the founding team at digedu, The Digital Education Company, Laura managed over 40 award-winning educators and editors in the development of a 3500-lesson Library of digital curriculum. She also oversaw client communication and relationships in 1:1 schools and classrooms across the nation. Prior to her work in EdTech, Laura was involved with a variety educational organizations, teaching in both Special Education and English departments as well as nontraditional learning environments.

Jeff Ottens

Jeff Ottens is a former consultant and entrepreneur experienced in driving growth and building high performing teams. He brings experience in a broad range of functions to Modern Teacher from strategy and operations to finance and business development. Jeff began his career at Huron Consulting Group, where he focused on restructuring and turnaround initiatives with a focus on the airline industry. Jeff brings entrepreneurial and operational experience from his time spent growing a flood and fire restoration company until its acquisition in 2012. Currently serving as Executive Vice President of Operations, Jeff works to streamline processes to scale operations and efficiently service our Clients to transform traditional classrooms to modern learning environments. Jeff earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois with a degree in Finance.

Mike Smith

Mike is currently serving as Strategy Officer for Modern Teacher. Mike started his career in education as a social studies teacher in a public high school on Chicago’s southwest side. Over his four years in the classroom, Mike helped design a leadership development program for students and wrote a civic action curriculum that is still in use in 40 Chicago high schools today. Mike went on to the University of California-Berkeley where he earned his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Following that, Mike moved back to Chicago and spent the next six years in the central office of the Chicago Public Schools as a researcher, data analyst, and project manager. His work there included program evaluation, setting up and coaching district and school leaders on performance management systems, analyzing and drawing insight from large data sets, strategic planning and goal setting, and advising district leaders on policy. Mike broadened his work with school districts by founding his own education consulting firm, Kartograf Consulting, where he informed high school reform strategy for the Madison (WI) Metro School District.

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Jason Bletzinger

Jason Bletzinger serves as a Strategy Officer for Modern Teacher and brings a diverse set of experiences to the work of Digital Convergence. Jason has served as a special education teacher, data instructional facilitator/coach, building-level administrator, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, program evaluator, and professional learning facilitator. Prior to his work with Modern Teacher, Jason led evaluation processes focused on the impact of technology integration on classroom instruction to guide schools and districts in their planning for effective technology integration as one tool to support and enhance curriculum-aligned instructional practices. Jason has also led district-wide accreditation initiatives as a means for continuous quality improvement and organizational effectiveness. Jason’s wealth of experiences inform his visionary and strategic leadership for developing and enacting practical solutions to leverage success for school districts and students.

Charles Fred

Charles Fred is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, investor, and public speaker. He has devoted more than three decades of his life discovering new ways for professionals to acquire skills necessary to compete in today’s knowledge-thirsty economy. Considered a pioneer in the e-learning industry, Charles has led a number of successful companies that provide learning technologies and services. His best-selling book, Breakaway, is credited with transforming learning strategies for high-growth organizations and is consistently used for instructional design curricula at major universities. Today, as the Executive Chairman of Modern Teacher, Charles is taking his expertise and experience and devoting his time to help teachers reinvent the classroom. Charles is also the founder of Magnusson-Skor, a research firm dedicated to helping business owners make the transition to chief executives.

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones serves as Modern Teacher’s Marketing Manager. Originally from Arkansas, Kelly earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Biology and French from Hendrix College. Post-undergrad and leading up to her current position, Kelly positively contributed to the growth of multiple companies in the fields of education and sustainable food systems. The diversity in her experience, interests, and skill sets allows her to approach marketing strategy holistically from analytical and creative vantages. Personally, Kelly aims to draw meaningful connections about the intersections between culture, education, and technology with respect to the social and economic climates in which they coincide. Professionally, Kelly aims to use these connections to drive positive change in the educational landscape. Through data-driven marketing strategy and effective foresight, her role promotes Modern Teacher as a long-term asset in our ability to transform school districts into robust ecosystems which are empowered to remain at the leading edge of innovative pedagogy.

Kevin Obenchain

Kevin Obenchain is a CPA & financial and systems manager with over 35 years experience in both the Fortune 500 & small business. As an entrepreneur, he founded two software companies, an equipment distributor, and a heritage education non-profit, and he’s frequently served as consultant or advisory board member. While IT Director at Great west Life, he was a contributor to Stanford Univ. Press’ text, Business Driven Information Technology, Laube/Zammuto, Ed. Recently, he’s been developing quantitative risk management tools for business managers & auditors. Today, Kevin manages the accounting & financial planning functions for Modern Teacher.

Dr. Shawn Smith

Dr. Shawn K. Smith is currently serving as President of Modern Teacher and a national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy. He is compelled to preserve education’s rich heritage and support America’s teachers and leaders as they transition traditional classrooms into modern learning environments. Shawn is an author, speaker, consultant, and rare book collector. He has one of the largest private collections of John Dewey’s writings in the world. He is the author of Teacher as Architect: Instructional design and delivery for the modern teacher and The New Agenda: Achieving personalized learning through Digital Convergence. Formerly Shawn was a teacher, principal, and Chief of Schools for 15 years in school districts in Illinois and California. He has made appearances on both Discovery and Learning channels as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs. Shawn holds degrees from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (bachelor’s degree, elementary education), the California State University, San Bernardino (master’s degree, middle school education), and the University of Southern California (doctorate degree, urban education policy and leadership).

Dr. Mike Walls

Dr. Michael W. Walls is currently serving as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships. Mike has also served as Director of National Development for HOSTS Learning and Senior Vice President for Community Relations for MBNA America Bank. Prior to joining the corporate world, Mike was a teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of Schools in Beloit, Wisconsin and Wilmington, Delaware. Mike has been awarded the First Citizen Award in Beloit, Wisconsin; chaired the State Delaware United Way Campaign; served as Chairman of the Board of Junior Achievement Delaware; and was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from Continental, Ohio. Mike earned a BA from Adrian College, an MA from Eastern Michigan University, and a Doctorate from Wayne State University.

Lisette Casey

Lisette Casey is currently serving as Strategy Officer for Modern Teacher. Her background in public education includes 22 years of experience at the elementary, secondary and administrative levels. She is passionate about the growing need to transform educational practices to create authentic and collaborative learning environments that promote inquiry, visible thinking, and student voice and choice through Digital Convergence. In efforts to create classrooms for modern learners, Lisette works with administration and staff in effectively designing and delivering both professional development and educational content for 24/7 availability with an emphasis on making learning personal for all learners. She has effectively collaborated with school-wide administration to successfully develop and implement a district-wide iPad roll out and personalized learning program. Lisette is also an Apple Distinguished Educator. Lisette is also a founding partner of the Colorado Mobile Learning Collaborative. This collaborative consists of Colorado administrators working to support 1:1 learning initiatives in districts. Lisette also extended her work as an independent consultant when she started her own company in 2013. During this time she partnered with teachers and administrators in the transition to modern learning environments by utilizing digital technology and changing pedagogies. Lisette received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Delaware, a teaching certificate from the University of Colorado and a Masters in Education from Lesley University. When she is away from work you may find her gardening, cooking, traveling or spending time with her family in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Stephanie Hollar

Stephanie Hollar, Modern Teacher Faculty, is a proud resident of the Buckeye State. Stephanie locally and nationally services schools and other educational organizations in professional development, instructional coaching and educational consulting. In addition to her work with Modern Teacher, Stephanie consults with various organizations specializing in curriculum and unit design, school design, assessment literacy, and blended learning in the 21st Century classroom. Stephanie earned her B.S. from Bowling Green State University and her M.ED. from Penn State University. She ranks co-founding a blended learning school in the year 2000, before blended learning was really a “thing”, as one of her most valued learning experiences and professional accomplishments. Stephanie credits her past experience as curriculum leader, director of education, classroom teacher and even as a student, as foundational pieces that have grounded her in her educational belief that students make the most academic and social gains with access to the right environment, tools, and support from effective educators and that with the right environment, tools and support from effective leaders teachers have the opportunity for success.

Jenna Jones

Jenna Jones has over 15 years of experience as an executive assistant, with expertise in providing executive-level administrative support, customer service, office and project management, and event/meeting coordination. She currently serves as Executive Assistant to Charles Fred, the CEO of Modern Teacher. Jenna resides in Denver, Colorado with her 2 sons and family dog. She enjoys golf and cycling. She is also a Notary Public for the State of Colorado.

Andy Pridgeon

Andy Pridgeon is currently serving as the Vice President of Network Membership for Modern Teacher. Originally from the Grand Rapids area of West Michigan, Andy earned his B.S., as well as his M.A. in educational administration and administration of secondary schools from Central Michigan University. Andy has been a middle school professional educator for 21 years and has worked closely with professional teachers aligning customized professional development. Andy takes great pride in leading a one-to-one initiative within his middle school and providing high engagement instructional techniques for the professional staff. Andy also believes in developing the leadership capacity of teachers and empowering them to be primary decision makers regarding the objectives, goals and trajectory of a school building and district. Andy started his career as a seventh and eighth grade science teacher and has served as a middle school athletic director, assistant principal and most recently as a lead principal for the past 15 years. Andy continues to reside in Michigan with his wife (Angie) and their two daughters.

Yancy Unger

Yancy Unger currently serves as Vice President of Network Membership for Modern Teacher. Yancy spent ten years as a teacher in public schools, before serving with the Indiana Department of Education. When Indiana offered a textbook waiver, Yancy became a leader in shifting from textbook curriculums to digital resources, guiding teachers to curating content and learning experiences. Working alongside education leaders he formed curriculum tribes to nurture bright spots and cultivate collaboration between districts. Away from work, Yancy cooks for and spends time with his family. He enjoys running, drinking tea, Asian noodle dishes, and reading.

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Robbie Pruitt Woody

Robbie Pruitt Woody is a lifelong educator and began her educational career in the Wake County Public Schools as a special education teacher at the high school level. She then moved to middle schools and served as a curriculum director, assistant principal, and then principal. After 15 years in the public schools of North Carolina, Robbie expanded to working across North Carolina and the Southeast in providing quality instructional technology solutions to raise student achievement. She enjoys working with district level administrators and teachers to provide classrooms that will prepare them for the 21st century and beyond. Robbie received her Bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, her Master’s degree from North Carolina State University, and her superintendent certification from North Carolina State University and East Carolina University.

Dr. Ann Chavez

Dr. Ann M. Chavez is currently serving as a founding partner and Chief Academic Officer of Modern Teacher. A native Southern Californian, Ann has 24 years of experience across all levels of public school service. As a teacher and principal, she worked in school districts across Southern California. As a district leader, she most recently served in Chicago Public Schools as the Deputy of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for a regional area on Chicago’s Southside. Ann believes that we find the path to results by providing focused support for teachers and empowering principals as instructional leaders. She uses a practical hands-on approach and brings her daily experience as both teacher and principal as she mentors and coaches today’s educational leaders. Ann focuses on the individual needs of districts and school sites to build the leadership capacity within and empowers them to make strategic decisions that directly affect student-learning outcomes. Ann earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from California State University of Long Beach, a Masters of Education in School Administration from Azusa Pacific University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership in Urban Schools K–12 from the University of Southern California.

Chris Hurd

Chris Hurd is the Quality Assurance Manager at Modern Teacher with 4+ years experience. A Kansas City native turned Chicagoan, Chris comes from a background in healthcare education tech and e-commerce web development. His experience, knowledge, and passionate work ethic bring great energy to the team. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, photography and spending time with friends and family.

Alex King

Alex King is a Software Developer specializing in system and user interface design. His job includes developing new platform features, ensuring existing ones continue working great, and keeping his cat from walking all over his keyboard.

Garrett Seaman

Garrett Seaman is currently serving as a founding partner and Executive Vice President of District Partnerships for Modern Teacher. Garrett has spent 9 years as a teacher and school district administrator, studying and perfecting instructional strategies around effectively integrating technology and media. In addition to training students, teachers and administrators on how to best capitalize on the participatory-web, Garrett is versed in: website development, instructional software, educational assessments, and is an expert in understanding how the learner interacts with multiple technologies. Garrett’s focuses his work in schools in re-defining effective instructional technology in the modern classroom. Garrett earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois, M.A. from Aurora University and is currently conducting research at Northern Illinois University on how the role of the instructional technologist effectively functions in urban school systems. With the completion of this research he plans to apply this knowledge to both private and public sector technology leadership.

Justin Vincent

Justin Vincent has held CTO and technical architect positions at start-ups and Fortune 500’s, including Idealab, Uber Media, B Sky B, the UK’s number one Satellite TV network, and Reed Elsevier. Most recently he founded, built & sold Pluggio, a social media dashboard. Justin’s Open Source software ezSQL is used in over a million websites and has been incorporated into many open source products, such as WordPress.

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