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Meet the OET Team

Leadership


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Kristina Ishmael

Deputy Director

Kristina Ishmael is an educator, learner, advocate, and agent of change. She is the Deputy Director of the Office of Ed Tech and brings a wide variety of experience to actively change teaching and learning to provide more equitable access and opportunities for every learner.

Ishmael most recently worked as an educational consultant where she supported educators, schools, and nonprofits as they navigated new learning environments. Additionally, she was the Sr. Research Fellow on New America’s Teaching, Learning, & Tech team where she advised on the inclusive technology portfolio that picked up her prior OER work and incorporated digital equity and culturally responsive and sustaining education.

Prior to leading the #GoOpen project at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Ed Tech, she was the Digital Learning Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education where she led professional learning and advocated for school librarians. This experience granted her a unique perspective on leveraging educational technology in urban, suburban, and rural school systems. Kristina started as an early childhood and elementary teacher of emerging bilingual students in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Staff


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Bernadette Adams

Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technologies and Research and Development Lead
Former White House Leadership Fellow

Bernadette leads projects to provide educators with guidance on: the impact of AI on teaching and learning; new approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of digital learning; the role of online communities of practice and social networks in supporting educators; exemplary strategies for district leaders to design, fund, acquire, and maintain technology infrastructure; and key considerations for successfully implementing personalized and competency-based learning strategies for both students and teachers. Bernadette served as a technical consultant and subject-matter expert to the National Science Foundation, 18F, and the Performance Improvement Council on projects to support innovation, entrepreneurship, and STEM education across government as a White House Leadership Fellow.  Prior to joining OET, Bernadette worked to advance the use of technology for workforce development at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and served as a consultant to design an innovative technology-based science curriculum for the Atlanta Public School District. Bernadette holds a Master’s in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego. She is also a former high school chemistry teacher.

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Kevin Johnstun

Digital Literacy, Accessibility, Open Education Lead

Kevin actively collaborates with offices across the Department on programs related to national educational technology policy and priorities including research and innovation, student privacy, teacher professional development, and open educational resources. He also leads the Department’s initiatives related to advancing the digital literacy skills of learners to promote civil discourse and combat misinformation in online spaces.

Kevin holds a M.S. in Instructional Psychology and Technology and a B.A. in Philosophy from Brigham Young University. Prior to joining OET, he worked on projects related to cultural interactions between students and teachers and efforts to create collaborative spaces where students and teachers learn together. He also was a middle school English language arts teacher.

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Sara Trettin

Broadband, Open Education, and Libraries Lead

Sara leads the broadband and K-12 open education work for the Department, directs digital engagement for the Office of Educational Technology and leads the office’s efforts surrounding libraries and librarians. Sara joined the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2014. While on rotation to the State Department, Sara supported the ECA Collaboratory’s work on open education, open government, and education diplomacy. Prior to joining the Department, she worked as a Learning Services Librarian and served as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress. A former teacher, Sara holds a B.A. from Clemson University, a graduate certificate from Duke University, and a Master’s in Library Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sara enjoys making salsa, digging in her backyard, and packing a tent when she travels.

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Fellows


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Jodie Lawrence

Education Pioneers Fellow

Jodie is a lifelong learner and advocate of quality education for all. Grounded in her time as a math teacher in St. Louis, Jodie is passionate about equal access to high quality STEM education, especially for young women. Jodie believes in the utilization of data to drive and inform policy practices in schools, and that through creative and innovative research, we can best support the learners of the future.

Prior to coming to the department, Jodie has worked in Chicago Public Schools and St. Louis Public Schools. She is both an Americorps National Health Corps and a Teach for America alumnae. She studied public policy at the University of Chicago and worked in policy advocacy for After School Matters in Chicago and in federal funding at the Colorado Department of Education. She has her Master’s in Education in Math Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. When not in the office, Jodie can be found at the rock climbing gym, running along the river, or reading with her cat.

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Ji Soo Song

Broadband Advisor

Ji Soo advises the Office of Educational Technology on policies and initiatives aimed at closing the digital divide, especially for historically-underserved students. He also serves as the principal point of contact on interagency and cross-governmental collaborations around digital equity, including by representing the U.S. Department of Education on the American Broadband Initiative. Additionally, Ji Soo provides subject matter expertise on digital equity to Department-led external capacity building efforts.

Prior to OET, Ji Soo was the senior policy advisor at ISTE, where he led the research, analysis, and communication of federal, state, and local policy issues related to digital learning standards, educator credentialing systems, and professional development funding streams. Ji Soo represented ISTE as a board member for the Title IV-A Coalition from 2020 to 2021.

Ji Soo holds a B.A. in biology and education from Dartmouth College and M.Ed. in education policy and leadership from American University. He is currently also a 2021 fellow with the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program. Finally, Ji Soo served as a City Year AmeriCorps Member in the District of Columbia, where he taught third-grade mathematics and robotics and received the 2018 WilmerHale Civic Innovation Award.

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Jessica Ch’ng

Education Pioneers Fellow

Jessica Ch’ng (she/her) is an Education Pioneers Impact Fellow at the Office of Educational Technology. She comes to OET with nine years of experience in higher educational access and admissions. She is committed to advancing equitable access to higher education for all students, particularly those from historically-excluded communities of color.

Prior to joining OET, Jessica most recently served as a fellow at The Education Trust-West, spearheading a landscape analysis regarding medical and oral health educational access, and as an Assistant Director of Admissions at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where she managed outreach initiatives. Previously, Jessica led recruitment programs for students from historically-excluded communities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and worked at the Posse Foundation in Boston. While at MIT, she served on the MIT Office of the Vice Chancellor Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the executive board of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of Ivy League and Sister Schools. Jessica earned her B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard College and M.S. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Hali Larkins

Education Pioneers Fellow

Hali Larkins brings a wealth of experience in storytelling and leveraging technology to expand equity. Previously, as a YouTube Strategic Partner Manager in Family, Learning, and Education content partnerships at Google, she worked with content creators and organizations to leverage technology to develop educational platforms. Hali’s key areas of focus included early aged learners, K-12 education, adult learning, and professional development for educators. She also worked across several of Google’s initiatives aimed at amplifying the voices of educators and increasing access to STEM education amongst minority communities.

Hali believes in technology’s potential to remove barriers to equity and provide meaningful experiences for all learners. While pursuing her Masters of Arts in Instructional Technology and Media, at Teacher’s College Columbia University, Hali’s primary research areas focus on youth relationships with ICTs, youth creative participation, digital literacies, and digital equity. She most recently worked in External Relations and Communications with The Learning Accelerator where she supported content development on both the effective use of technology in classrooms and implementation of effective technology and infrastructure in schools.

In addition to her work in technology, Hali is a lifelong lover of the arts and she holds a Bachelors of Arts from Spelman College.

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