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AASA Leading for Equity: Leveraging Edtech to Build Equitable Learning for ALL Students

Thursday, June 3, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Leading for Equity

Presented by Dr. Beth Rabbitt, Chief Executive Officer, The Learning Accelerator (TLA); Richard E. Culatta, Chief Executive Officer, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE); and Dr. Michael T. Conner, Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools (CT)
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association 
AASA’s Leadership Network, providing premier professional learning for educational leaders

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As the pandemic underscored deep inequities in students’ abilities to access high levels of learning remotely, educators and edtech leaders have collaborated at deep levels to call for anywhere, anytime opportunity. Join edtech leaders Dr. Beth Rabbitt, Chief Executive Officer of The Learning Accelerator (TLA), Richard Culatta, Chief Executive Officer of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Dr. Michael T. Conner, Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools (CT), as they share their organizations’ journeys to supporting educators throughout the country. Non-profit ISTE pivoted quickly to provide extensive professional learning for teachers as they were plunged into hybrid and remote teaching models. The Learning Accelerator, a national non-profit, connects teachers and leaders with the knowledge, tools, and networks they need to transform K-12 education. AASA, The School Superintendents Association has engaged thought leaders nationwide in calling for a more student-centered, equity-focused education for the whole learner. These organizations have partnered to envision a future in which every student receives effective and engaging learning to stretch them toward their futures.

This presentation will be of particular value to school superintendents, K-12 school and district leaders, and aspiring leaders.


Beth RabbittAbout the Presenters

Dr. Beth Rabbitt is Chief Executive Officer of The Learning Accelerator (TLA). She is a nationally recognized expert in education innovation and blended and personalized learning. Prior to becoming CEO in 2016, Dr. Rabbitt was a partner on TLA’s start-up team, leading the organization’s work to develop educator training systems and researching emerging teaching and learning models and practices.

Before joining TLA, Dr. Rabbitt was a doctoral resident and Director of Human Capital and Innovation at a school in Newark, NJ, where she developed and completed research on competency-based approaches to teacher professional learning. Prior to that, she was an associate partner at the NewSchools Venture Fund, a consultant to and with Education Resource Strategies, and the founding doctoral fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab. She began her early career in education as a teaching intern in the Marshall Islands, which led her to pursue an undergraduate research fellowship in educational neuroscience and to become the director of environmental education for an urban youth program in Massachusetts.

Dr. Rabbitt serves on the board of several education nonprofits, including the Highlander Institute, Catalyst:Ed, and InnovateEDU. She earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) from Harvard University.


Richard Culatta

Richard Culatta is an internationally recognized education innovator with vast experience in education policy, teacher preparation, and educational technology.

Prior to joining ISTE, he served as the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island where he led the state to become the first to offer computer science in every K-12 school. As the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, Richard was at the helm of numerous efforts to expand connectivity to schools across the country, promote personalized learning and develop the National Education Technology Plan.

Richard is the author of the new book Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World focusing on helping schools and families create effective digital citizens. Richard began his career in the classroom as a high school teacher and, across his career, has coached educators and national leaders around the world on using technology as a tool to reimagine learning.


Michael Conner

Michael T. Conner, Ed.D. is the superintendent for Middletown Public Schools in Middletown, CT. Previously, he served as Chief Academic Officer (Norwalk, CT), Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning (Willimantic, CT) and Principal of Augusta Lewis Troup School (New Haven, CT). Dr. Conner obtained his Bachelor of Arts in elementary education/humanities from Lasell University. He also received his Master of Science degree from the University of Bridgeport, Sixth-Year Diploma from Southern Connecticut State University, and doctorate in education from Cambridge College. Dr. Conner completed the prestigious Executive Leadership Program at the University of Connecticut and attended the Harvard Superintendents Institute. He also completed the prestigious AASA National Urban Superintendents Academy (cohort III) in Washington, D.C. Dr. Conner obtained his graduate diploma in business analytics from Harvard University and is currently completing an advanced certificate (ACE) in management, innovation, and technology at MIT.

For his overall efforts, Dr. Conner was recognized by The Network Journal as a “Top 40 Under 40” recipient. He was also recognized by the Connecticut NAACP (100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut), Middlesex NAACP (Education Award), Eleven28 Entertainment (100 Men of Color Award), Cross Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Rev. George E. Battle Senior Education Award), Middlesex United Way (Community Leadership Award), and DECA Inc. (National Administrator of the Year). Under his leadership, Middletown Public Schools was recognized as a 2019 AASA/SPN National Innovation and Transformational District, of which only 17 districts nationally received this distinction. Also, Middletown Public Schools received the honor as a 2020 National Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Dr. Conner was featured in AASA’s School Administrator magazine for his article entitled What Mentoring Means to a New Superintendent of Color. This past August, Middletown Public Schools was featured in Time Magazine and AASA’s School Administrator magazine with Ray McNulty highlighting their innovative blended learning model that underpins the latest research around personalized learning using artificial intelligence. Most recently, Dr. Conner was selected by The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and Successful Practices Network (SPN) to serve on the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education as a commissioner. He will be making recommendations on innovative and equity-based practices for agencies and districts throughout the country to adopt holistically.


Valerie TruesdaleAbout the Moderator

Dr. Valerie Truesdale joined AASA early in 2019 as the assistant executive director responsible for guiding leadership development services and programs. With years of experience in the superintendency and roles in instructional technology, she knows that AASA’s Leadership Network can be a substantial resource for school leaders trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing delivery of K-12 education.


Join the Leading for Equity community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


The AASA Leadership Network drives superintendent success, innovation, and growth, shaping the future of public education while preparing students for what’s next. We are the largest, most diverse network of superintendents in America. Passionate and committed, we connect educational leaders to the professional learning, leadership development, relationships, and partnerships they need to ensure a long career of impact.


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Thursday, June 3, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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