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Utah Spotlight: A “State” of Alignment

Monday, January 30, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Utah Spotlight: A “State” of Alignment

Presented by Rick Gaisford, Education Specialist, Education Technology and the SETDA Chair Elect, Utah State Board of Education (USBE); Melanie Durfee, Ph.D., Education Specialist, Digital Teaching & Learning, Utah State Board of Education (USBE); Nancy Mangum, Director of Learning Partnerships, Leading EDge Learning; Theresa Gibson, Director of Operations, Leading EDge Learning; and Darren Hudgins, Founder & CEO, Think Do Thrive

Sponsored by SETDA

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Utah has been an education lighthouse for many years in implementing supports for high-quality instruction. Watch this edLeader Panel to learn about the keys to success in Utah, showcasing their multi-year, aligned support system. Learn how they developed and implemented a vision for their Portrait of a Graduate and explore the frameworks, grant structures, and aligned professional learning that the state rolled out for its Digital Teaching and Learning work, followed by the Personalized and Competency-Based Framework for teaching and learning.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 school and district leaders, education technology leaders, and state leaders.


Rick GaisfordAbout the Presenters

Rick Gaisford has 35 years in education and has been involved with educational technology for over 30 years at the classroom, school, district, and state levels. He has been an elementary school teacher, school technology specialist, district technology specialist and trainer, state Internet specialist, and state education technology specialist. In his current state responsibilities, he works with districts, schools, and the state network, UETN, on how to effectively integrate technology tools and resources into teaching and learning. He helps oversee Utah’s Digital Teaching and Learning program implemented by the Utah State Legislature in 2016. This legislation has provided over $80 million to implement a comprehensive program to effectively bring technology into all classrooms in the state and to assist in personalizing education for each student. Away from technology and work, Rick enjoys spending time puttering around in his yard and garden and being Grandpa to his seven grandchildren.

Melanie DurfeeMelanie Durfee, Ph.D. is an education specialist at the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). She works with her team to manage the implementation of the Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) Grant Program. Her specific area of expertise is helping educators write plans and collect relevant data that reinforce schools’ existing visions and cultures. Previous to USBE, she worked at a regional service center in southwest Utah, providing technology professional learning to the educators in the rural areas of the state. Dr. Durfee has taught secondary math, English, theatre, and computer technology. She looks forward to being able to safely interact with large groups of people for long durations of time.

Nancy Mangum

Being the oldest of three siblings and the daughter of a middle-grade math teacher of 42 years, teaching has always been in Nancy Mangum’s blood. During her tenure in the Wake County Public School System, Nancy was an elementary educator, instructional coach, and district administrator. After leaving Wake County, Nancy spent ten years at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, most recently as the associate director of professional learning. She built professional learning programs for instructional coaches, principals, and district leaders in North Carolina and the U.S. As the director of learning partnerships at Leading EDge Learning, Nancy is passionate about building professional learning and communities of practice to support instructional coaches and school leaders focused on current problems of practice. With both a local and national presence, she seeks to create meaningful learning experiences that inspire educators.

Theresa GibsonTheresa Gibson began her education career as a high school mathematics teacher, shifting from the classroom to academic intervention and professional learning. Theresa earned her MBA, supporting her shift to building leadership capacity in K-12 schools. As the former associate director for strategic development at The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Theresa built partnerships with school districts and organizations around the country. Today, in her role as Director of Operations at Leading EDge, Theresa continues to bring her passion for building learning communities by bringing leaders together to learn, share ideas, and transfer research to practice to serve all students best.

Darren HudginsDarren Hudgins is a passionate advocate for creating learning experiences that drive educators of all kinds and their students to think, do, and thrive. He believes in this mission so much that he conceptualized and directs Think Do Thrive. He uses his 20+ years in education, EdTech, and coaching to inspire critical thinking, champion active learning, and create opportunities for educational communities to improve. He is also the co-author of two books, the bestselling Fact vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News, and the newly released Developing Digital Detectives: Essential Lessons for Discerning Fact from Fiction in the ‘Fake News’ Era (ISTE 2021).

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SETDASETDA is the principal association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology and digital learning leaders. Through a broad array of programs and advocacy, SETDA builds member capacity and engages partners to empower the education community in leveraging technology for learning, teaching, and school operations. For more information, please visit our website, LinkedIn, or Twitter.



Monday, January 30, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
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