Watch Panel 2: Reimagine Learning: Education Solutions During a Pandemic
The pandemic has brought deep social, health, and economic damage, and the toll on Americans has been significant. The virus has changed how schools operate, highlighted daunting challenges and inequities, and has required instantaneous innovation to educate students. Teaching students effectively in the new learning formats offered by our p-12 and post-secondary schools this year requires new levels of ingenuity, flexibility, and purpose. The exceptional leaders in this panel will examine the issues facing our schools and share their perspectives and insights on how we succeed in the next school year.
J.J. Childress is a born and raised El Pasoan and a serial entrepreneur.
He currently leads Microsoft’s TechSpark Initiative in El Paso, an economic development and civic engagement program aimed at helping communities develop the talent for the opportunities of the 21st Century. He values civic engagement and is involved with several non-profits and advisory boards in El Paso.
J.J. is a proud graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BBA in Finance and Accounting, as well as an MBA. He is also a graduate of Stanford University’s Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative program through the GSB, and the University of Washington’s Accelerating Social Transformation program through the Bothell School of Business and Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.
William Serrata, Ph.D.
President, El Paso Community College
Dr. William Serrata was named the President of the El Paso County Community College District effective August 1, 2012. Dr. Serrata holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University – College Station, a Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Brownsville, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University – College Station.
Dr. Serrata serves as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee for the Texas Association of Community Colleges, Chair of the Board of Directors of Excelencia in Education, Advisory Board Member of the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI), and is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) after being elected to the Board in 2017. Dr. Serrata was a member of the 2015 class of the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows.
Under Dr. Serrata’s leadership, the Aspen Institute announced that El Paso Community College (EPCC) was named one of 10 nation-wide finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for community college excellence which recognizes a college’s impact on student success. EPCC was selected from a pool of nearly 1,200 community colleges. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education and Community College Week Magazine continues to recognize EPCC as the national leader in awarding associate degrees to Hispanic students. In 2016, EPCC was announced as the winner of the AACC Student Success award and as the Western Regional Equity award winner of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Dr. Serrata received the Western Regional Chief Executive Officer award from ACCT and was named the 2019 Marie Y. Martin National Chief Executive Officer in October 2019.
José Espinoza, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
His expectation from Day One has been “We must educate and treat our students as if they are our own children.” His tireless work to overcome obstacles, boost achievement levels, and raise the standard of excellence for Team SISD earned him the prestigious national 2017 $20,000 Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education and led to Socorro ISD being the first district in a non-HEB market to earn the coveted HEB Excellence in Education Award for Outstanding Large District.
In addition, through his leadership efforts, Team SISD passed a $448.5 million Bond in 2017 with the highest approval rating among large school districts in the region in recent bond elections. He is also one of the first superintendents in the country and the first superintendent in Texas to earn National Superintendent Certification through AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Dr. Espinoza’s “100%…No Excuses” vision of excellence to ensure no child is left behind has been enthusiastically embraced by our students, staff, board members, parents, and community evidenced by the countless local, state, and national awards the district has earned as a whole.
“Achieving Success as a Team” describes Dr. Espinoza’s leadership approach, which has inspired Socorro ISD stakeholders to work together as Team SISD and soar to new heights. Specifically, in May 2012, SISD was behind the state in 9 out of 17 STAAR exams for students in grades three through eight. Under Dr. Espinoza’s leadership, Socorro ISD has outscored the Texas passing rates in ALL 17 STAAR exams in grades three through eight for five consecutive years. This is an accomplishment never achieved before at Socorro ISD. Among the largest 50 school districts in Texas, Socorro ISD is the only district with an over 90% minority and over 70% economically disadvantaged student population to surpass the state’s average in all STAAR exams in grades three through eight. Additionally, Socorro ISD became the largest school district in Texas and one of only three districts among the largest 50 in the state to earn the Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation awarded by the Texas Education Agency.
John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, previously served as Executive Director of the Capital Area Training Foundation (now Skillpoint Alliance) where he worked to build relationships between the business sector, educational interest groups, and community partners for the benefit of Central Texans. Concurrently, he served on the Austin ISD Board of Trustees and as the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President for Education and Workforce Development. He spent four years on Capitol Hill working on education and workforce development policies for the US House of Representatives and Senate. John began his career in education as a middle school teacher and coach. He received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Watch Panel 1
With over 20 years of experience in education, technology, and professional services firms, Noah’s successful career in finance, operations, and strategic planning leadership roles has spanned non-private, privately held, and public companies. Noah is passionate about addressing the gaps of inequity that continue to exist in our education systems.
Dean of Extended University, Beth Brunk-Chavez
University of Texas at El Paso
Beth Brunk-Chavez, Ph.D. is Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies and serves the Dean of Extended University which oversees UTEP’s Professional and Public Programs, UTEP Connect, the Center for Instructional Design, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has been awarded the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and named to the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, serving as president for two years. Her teaching and research focuses on writing with technology, teaching with technology, writing program administration, and working with second language writers.
Sherry Kollmann, PhD | Vice Provost, Digital Learning Initiatives
New Mexico State University
Dr. Sherry Kollmann is the Vice Provost of Digital Learning Initiatives at New Mexico
State University. Prior to joining NMSU she served in multiple leadership roles,
including Senior Associate Dean of Business Programs at Southern New Hampshire
University. Prior to her transition to higher education, she served as a business leader
where she collaborated and consulted with small to Fortune 500 organizations on
workforce solutions. Her background designing, educating, and researching innovative
pedagogical approaches, in addition to her background in instructional psychology,
foster her drive to reimagine and redesign learning environments that create an equal
opportunity for every student to succeed.
Mara Matosic – Moderator
Mara is an angel investor, entrepreneur, actor and activist with vast experience in tech and community programs. Co-founder of Rokode, Legacy Director of Women Who Code, Chairwoman of Cuadrilla Digital and founder of the Beauty in Red Newsletter, Mara is passionate about the ever-growing role of women in technology and business, and believes that knowledge sharing is the base of humanity.
First Panel Discussion
Reimagine Learning: Education solutions in a remote learning environment.
We are faced with critical decisions to make as we move forward in the midst of Covid-19. The pandemic has revealed pitfalls and presented new challenges facing our education system. Across the country there is significant difference in the quality of distance learning producing potentially significant inequity in terms of student learning. It has forced us to be creative and bring forward new education solutions to ensure students succeed. Please join our exciting panel as they discuss how we come together to reimagine learning.
Reimagine Learning: Education solutions in a remote learning environment.
Education Panel II
Reimagine Learning: Education Solutions During a Pandemic
More info coming soon.
More Info coming soon.