Modern Teacher's National Network spans over 50 districts, 1,000 schools, & 1,000,000 students, and we're just getting started.
See what Digital Convergence looks like.
Modern Teacher has supported the successful systematic transformation to leading modern learning environments for district leaders, teachers, and students across the country. The personalized learning implemented in the following videos results from change initiatives made by leadership and teachers and guided by Modern Teacher.
Districts nationwide have used the
Digital Convergence Framework to guide their work.
The National Council on Digital Convergence
Modern Teacher has formed a National Council on Digital Convergence to leverage the voices of educational leaders across the country and to collect feedback from the field.
Fraser Public Schools
Dr. Dave Richards is the Superintendent of Fraser Public Schools.
Fraser is a school district of over 5,400 students located in Macomb County, Michigan. The District is one of the largest 1:1 iPad initiatives in the Great Lakes Region with students in grades K-12 equipped on a 1:1 basis with a focus on personalizing learning for every child. To further support the individual learning needs of every student, the District is currently in the process of implementing a competency based education model across all grade levels which will allow students to progress through their academic experience based upon demonstration of proficiency in each of the subject areas.
Dave is an Executive Board Member for the Tri-County Alliance and currently serves as the President of The Galileo Consortium for Teacher Leaders. Dave also serves as a Council member for the Michigan Association of School Administrators and serves as the Conference Chair. Before being named Superintendent in 2010, Dave was the Principal of Fraser High School since 2005. Prior to joining Fraser, Dave spent 10 years with the Rochester Community Schools as the Director of Educational Technology and Information Systems. While serving in this capacity, Dave was an elected member of the Consortium for School Networking Board, the Dell Computer Advisory Council, and served as the Chair of the Compaq Computer National Education Advisory Council. Previous to his work in Rochester, Dave was a compute science teacher and computer coordinator for Belding Area Schools.
Dr. Richards earned his B.S. degree from Central Michigan University, M.A. from Grand Valley State University, and Ed.S. and Ph.D. from Oakland University.
Elizabeth Forward School District
Dr. Todd Keruskin joined the Elizabeth Forward School District in Elizabeth, PA, as an assistant superintendent in 2009 after serving for 13 years first as a physics and math teacher and then as a high school administrator for two other school districts in the Pittsburgh region. Elizabeth Forward School District has been named a Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools from Washington, DC and Apple Inc. recognized the school district as an Apple Distinguished Program under his tenure.
Dr. Keruskin received a Digital Innovation in Learning Award in Silicon Valley, CA in 2015 given by EdSurge and Digital Promise, in the “Learning Ninja” category, for his work in remaking teaching and learning.
In 2015, Dr. Keruskin worked the White House on scaling the maker movement across country in schools and on a 10-year STEM plan for schools across the country.
THE Journal recognized Dr. Keruskin as one of the top innovative administrators in the country, because of his development of a high school gaming curriculum, FABLabs, converting traditional school libraries into media centers, 1:1 iPad initiative, personalized learning and the founder of the Pittsburgh SMALLab Consortium and the Pittsburgh FAB Network.ate in education leadership from the University of Central Florida.
Axtell School District
Dr. J.R. Proctor is the Superintendent of Axtell Independent School District, a rural district near Waco, Texas. His mission in education is to change the state and national dialogue from one of only accountability and compliance to one of inspiration and individual student empowerment. His education experience includes being a junior high and high school science teacher, a high school assistant principal, a middle school principal, and a high school principal before entering the superintendency. His passion is to continuously strive for efficient educational systems through human capital development and technology to serve students in their individual areas of need. He is involved in leadership projects at the regional, state, and national level, focusing on policy development that can help districts attain the flexibility to serve students, while reducing bureaucratic and systemic impediments. Dr. Proctor is a leader in innovative assessment models that allow teachers to assess student progress more quickly and accurately. His vision is for public schools to become student service centers through the development of local accountability systems focused on providing a great educational experience for each student. Dr. Proctor believes that leveraging technology through digital convergence is the best way to achieve this vision. J.R. Proctor is married to Stacey Proctor, CFO of Robinson ISD, and father of sons Hagen (5) and Magnus (1). J.R. and Stacey have been married for 15 years.
Colonial School District
Lori S. Duerr, Ed.D. –As Assistant Superintendent of Colonial School District, Dr. Duerr oversees the implementation of the district strategic plan, district and school accountability, technology, HR and Operations. Dr. Duerr is responsible for the implementation of the district’s 21st Century Teaching & Learning initiative. Dr. Duerr also serves on the Executive Board of the BRINC Consortium, an alliance of Delaware districts leading the nation with blended learning and personalized education. Prior to coming to the Colonial School District in 2010, Dr. Duerr spent eight years working for the Delaware Department of Education in various offices, including Title I, Curriculum, and Special Education. Dr. Duerr has been in the field of education for thirty-three years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator at all levels of education. Dr. Duerr received her undergraduate and masters degrees from West Virginia University and her doctorate degree in Education Leadership from Wilmington University.
Cajon Valley Union School District
Dr. David Miyashiro currently serves as Superintendent of The Cajon Valley Union School District. David was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by ACSA (Association of California School Administrators), Region 18. Cajon Valley has undergone a seamless transition to the digital age. Through inclusive planning, design, and an iterative approach, Cajon Valley has achieved system-wide success with blended and personalized learning for all students. Cajon Valley has been dubbed "One to Watch" by The Classroom of the Future Foundation and has earned both local and national recognition for its leadership in transforming public education.
In 2015, The Cajon Valley Union School District was inducted by Digital Promise into The League of Innovative Schools, a bipartisan nonprofit, authorized by Congress in 2008 as the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies through Section 802 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush. This distinction ranks Cajon Valley in the top 73 US school districts for innovation and digital learning. David believes the role and impact of public educators go far beyond the classroom walls. "In order to keep pace with the rapidly changing world, our systems of public education both in California and the United States must be in a constant state of evolution.”
In the spirit of TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) and “Ideas Worth Spreading”, the Cajon Valley Union School District launched the first district-wide TEDx and TED Ed Club in the United States. David was invited by the TED organization to the first cohort of TIES (TED Innovate Educators). This partnership has allowed all students in Cajon Valley access to a robust and personalized curriculum designed by the TED ED team that empowers kids to learn how to give TED-like talks.
Cajon Valley brings the entire community together at its’ annual TEDxKids@ElCajon to celebrate children and “Ideas Worth Spreading” that may in some way, shape, or form...improve the human condition. One of the most prolific ideas Cajon Valley has brought to fruition is the district-wide partnerships with Code.Org and Code To The Future to bring Computer Science to all students in the Cajon Valley Union School District. All students in Cajon Valley Schools engage with Code.Org and computer programming beginning in Kindergarten. Cajon Valley has also launched the first K-5 Computer Science Magnet Schools in the US.
David formerly served as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Encinitas Union School District. In this role he designed and implemented a one to one digital learning initiative as well as a comprehensive yoga-based health and wellness program. David served as a Principal in the Fullerton and East Whittier School Districts. There he led two Title I schools with challenging demographics successfully out of program improvement status with a combined API growth of over 240 points. David completed his doctoral studies at UCLA, Masters of Education at Grand Canyon University, and Bachelor’s Degree at Long Beach State University.
Associate Executive Director for Leadership Services
AASA The School Superintendents Association
Mort Sherman has more than 30 years’ administrative experience in raising academic standards, closing achievement gaps, and uniting stakeholders He has served in public education for over 40 years, 25 as a public school Superintendent of Schools.
Now serving as the AASA Associate Executive Director for Leadership and Awards for AASA The School Superintendents Association, he is responsible for programs which support aspiring and sitting superintendents. Recent initiatives include the creation of the AASA Collaborative, The Urban Superintendents Academies in cooperation with Howard University and the University of Southern California, Superintendents Consortium on Personalized Learning, and the Aspiring Superintendents Program.
His service includes: Superintendent for eight years in Cherry Hill, NJ, where he was a founding member of the Southern New Jersey Standards Initiative and the Delaware Valley Minority Achievement Consortium. Dr. Sherman was Superintendent for South Orangetown Central School District in NY for five years, Superintendent and Principal at the Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut for four years; Superintendent in Tenafly, NJ, and Assistant Superintendent in Westport, CT. He began his career as a middle and high school English teacher.
As Superintendent of the Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia from 2008-2013, Dr. Sherman helped implement significant improvements, including: academic plans for secondary students, professional learning plans tied to student outcomes and the district strategic plan, an International Academy for English Language Learners, revised professional evaluation systems, introduction of AVID and IB, the creation of a Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Centers, a School-Based Health Clinic, and a Pre-school Initiative. A key focus was to move T.C. Williams High School, of Remember the Titan fame, from its designation as a Persistently Lowest Achieving School to a national model of reform. Transformation efforts were based on recognition that teachers are the core of improvement as the school district focused on culture, principles, and practices. Alexandria is a racially and economically diverse school system with over 55% of its students eligible for Free and Reduced Meals; 32% of the school district is African American, 32% Latino, and 28% White.
Dr. Sherman chaired a N.J. state committee on teacher leadership, and has been a member of the National Superintendents Roundtable, Public Schools for Tomorrow, Minority Student Achievement Network, ERDI, Advisory Committee National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, and Suburban Schools Superintendents. Among his several board activities, he is a member of The Hawn Foundation and served as Board chair. He speaks about children’s mental health, student achievement, and curriculum reform and staff development. He has testified before the US House and Senate on student mental health issues. He has written and published more than 200 articles.
Recent awards include the 2012 Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals Pathfinder Award, 2012 American School Board Journal First-place Magna Award. He served as a university fellow at Lehigh University. Districts he led have been recognized by Baldrige and the Blue Ribbon Schools program. Dr. Sherman has also earned the Northern Virginia Scouting Award and the national John Moakley award for community service.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools
Dr. Peter Gorman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peter Gorman Leadership Associates LLC, has been recognized nationally as an education leader and for developing outstanding leadership teams with 30 years of experience in education and business. Along with his responsibilities at Peter Gorman Leadership Associates, Dr. Gorman is the Managing Director of Academies for Atlantic Research Partners where he works with Atlantic’s National Superintendents Academy delivering intensive instruction on the academic, political, legal and logistical complexities, and the demanding realities, confronting school leaders today.
Dr. Gorman’s career began as a second-grade teacher in Orlando, Florida. He worked as a teacher, principal, and district-level administrator in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties in Florida before becoming superintendent of schools in Tustin, California. In 2006, Dr. Gorman became superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. Under his leadership, the district won the 2011 Broad Prize in Urban Education, which recognizes increases in student achievement and closing of achievement gaps. Ten members of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Leadership Team during his tenure have been appointed as superintendents nationally. The book “Within Reach, Leadership Lessons in School Reform” chronicles his time with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and several other books reviewed aspects of his tenure along with numerous articles, research studies, and case studies. He then transitioned to the corporate world working as Executive Vice President of Education Services for Amplify, a division of News Corp, leading nearly 100 team members in the Government Relations, Marketing and Sales areas.
Dr. Gorman graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He also holds a master’s in business administration from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and a master’s and doctorate in education leadership from the University of Central Florida.
Rock Hill Schools
Dr. Kelly Pew is a graduate of Wren High School in Anderson School District One in South Carolina. She
continued her post-secondary education at Clemson University and Furman University. In 1991, Dr. Pew
earned her BA in Secondary Education/English. She completed her Master’s degree in
Administration/Supervision at Furman University in August,1997 and her Doctor of Philosophy Degree from
Clemson University in Educational Leadership in 2002. After teaching high school English for five years,
Dr. Pew began her administrative career as a middle school assistant principal in Greenville, SC. She
continued as an Assistant Principal for eight years in Greenville and Anderson, SC before becoming a
middle and high school principal in Oconee, SC. Her district administration career began in Pickens
County during June 2007 where she served as an Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and an
Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. In 2012 Dr. Pew was named Superintendent of
Pickens County School District in Pickens, SC. Currently, she serves as Superintendent of Rock Hill
Schools in York, SC where she has been since May 2014.
In addition to public school service, Dr. Pew has served as an adjunct professor at Southern Wesleyan University and Anderson University. She has taught classes to students pursuing a Masters Degree in Education and those pursuing a Masters Degree in Administration/Supervision.
Dr. Pew believes that educating today’s youth is one of the most important and rewarding careers. She is an advocate for providing a high-quality education to all students- ensuring that ALL children are able to learn at high levels and are college/career ready upon graduation.
Dr. Pew also believes that life-long learning is important for everyone. As a high school principal, Dr. Pew began the work of Rick DuFour’s Professional Learning Communities/collaboration time in her school. As superintendent, she has continued this work in Rock Hill School District. The District is in its fourth year of implementing DuFour’s PLC model. In addition, Dr. Pew and her staff are identifying and implementing components of a modern classroom to ensure that all students have the same experiences as they prepare for careers of the future.
Dr. Pew is married to Paul Pew (30 years). They have two grown children Paige (Josh) and Harrison (Morgan). She has three grandsons Hayden, Cayson and Layken. Her hobbies include spending time with family, her lab (Bella), church, reading, and boating.
Academic & Administrative Services
ESC Region 12 Waco
Charlene Simpson is currently serving as Deputy Executive Director for Academic and Administrative Services at Education Service Center Region 12 in Texas, where she works primarily with superintendent leadership services and school boards. She also oversees general education, special education, federal programs, and technology and virtual learning as well as superintendent and campus leadership. She has over 30 years of experience in education as a teacher, elementary and high school principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum, and superintendent. Charlene believes that effective, visionary district and campus level leadership are key to developing a culture of learning for both educators and students. She is an advocate for career and technical education as well as college readiness. She has been instrumental in supporting an innovative partnership between ESC Region 12, Baylor University, and Huckabee in developing the LEx Labs, a collaborative partnership to provide professional development in flexible spaces and research the effect of the physical environment on learning.
Charlene earned a Bachelors’ of Business Administration, Masters of Education in Education Administration, and principal and superintendent certificates from Tarleton State University..
Former Chief of Schools
Chicago Public Schools
Dr. Shawn K. Smith is a national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy and
is currently serving as President of Modern Teacher. 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.
As a rare book collector, Shawn has one of the world's largest private collections of John Dewey’s writings. Shawn has authored three books: Teacher as Architect: Instructional design and delivery for the modern teacher, The New Agenda: Achieving personalized learning through digital convergence, and The Shape of Change: Building a Proficiency Tipping Point to Scale Personalized Learning. He has appeared on both Discovery and Learning channels as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs.
Formerly Shawn was a teacher, principal, and Chief of Schools for 15 years in school districts in Illinois and California. 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).
Kent School District
Dr. Calvin J. Watts began serving as superintendent on June 15, 2015. After an extensive national search, Dr. Watts was selected for his proven leadership record, strategic vision, passion for educating students, communication skills, human resource experience, strong work ethic, team- and consensus-building expertise, and his many years of working with diverse populations.
Formerly an assistant superintendent in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) in Suwanee, Georgia, the 13th largest school district in the United States, Dr. Watts was an integral part of a leadership team with a district enrollment of 174,500 students, 15,600 certificated and classified staff members, and a $1.7 billion budget. During his tenure at GCPS, he developed a reputation for excellence in K-12 district level leadership, turnaround and strategic planning, school improvement, and civic engagement. His results-oriented leadership practices contributed to GCPS receiving the Broad Prize for Urban Education (awarded to urban school districts that significantly narrow achievement gaps among underrepresented student populations) in 2010 and 2014. Under his leadership, 100 percent of general education schools in his administrative area met or exceeded state performance standards.
Dr. Watts has served as a leader in curriculum and instruction, and has overseen innovative programs including special education, psychological services, and dual language immersion. He facilitated continuous improvement in the areas of instruction, operations, and civic engagement, which resulted in system-level advancement and increased student achievement. He has also engaged in managing sizable divisional budgets to meet established organizational needs. Dr. Watts has served in diverse and politically attentive settings including Seattle Public Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Carrollton City Schools (GA), and the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Dr. Watts holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University and received his teaching certification at Western Washington University. His master’s degree in educational administration and supervision is from the University of West Georgia, and he earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy University in Atlanta.
He enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and both watching and playing sports. Dr. Watts is happily married to his wife, Robbye, and they are the proud parents of one son. Even more, our superintendent is excited about returning to his home state of Washington and for his family to become rooted in the Kent community.