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Meet the OET Team

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Kent Talbert

Acting Director, Office of Educational Technology

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Bernadette Adams

Senior Policy Advisor

White House Leadership Fellow

As Senior Policy Advisor, Bernadette has led projects to provide practitioners and policymakers with guidance on: research-based policies and practices implemented by successful Future Ready Leaders; new strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of learning technologies; the role of online communities of practice in enhancing educator performance; exemplary strategies for district leaders to design, acquire, and maintain technology infrastructure; exemplary strategies for developers to leverage technology to solve persistent problems in education; and key considerations for implementing personalized student learning in schools. 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.

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David Soo

Senior Policy Advisor, Higher Education Innovation

David co-leads the Office of Educational Technology’s higher education innovation initiatives. He has worked across a wide array of policy and programmatic initiatives at the Department, including the development of the FIPSE First in the World grant program, and experimental sites for competency-based education and EQUIP (new providers). A major strand of work has been external outreach and engagement around higher education innovation, including outreach about policy and programs and field-building convenings. He has also previously been responsible for financial capability initiatives across the Department, in coordination with the Treasury Department. David earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Heather A. Whitaker

Special Assistant

As Special Assistant in the Office of Educational Technology, Heather brings over 16 years of public education experience having worked as an Elementary and Middle School principal as well as a teacher. Over the past two years, she has served as a mentor for the Indiana Principals Leadership Institute (IPLI). As a mentor, Heather supported and worked to strengthen the professional development of a team of charter and public school leaders. Heather was a collegiate gymnast and managed logistics for the USA Gymnastics Women’s Program including the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal Team the “Magnificent Seven.” Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Indiana State University and a Masters of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Ball State University.

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Sharon Leu

Senior Policy Advisor, Higher Education Innovation

Sharon leads the Office of Educational Technology’s higher education innovation initiatives, including next generation assessments, individualized learning pathways, use of open resources and platforms, and strategic partnerships with stakeholders. Sharon also works in offices across the Department to design programs that improve quality of education and increase success of students and adult learners. Prior to joining OET, Sharon oversaw the design and implementation of the Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, the largest federal investment in postsecondary innovation and systematic infrastructure change. Sharon can often be found leaping from boulder to boulder with a heavy backpack and dreams of becoming a park ranger when she grows up.

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Sara Trettin

Policy Advisor

Open Education, Digital Engagement & Libraries Lead

Sara leads the 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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Interns

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Sophia Mauro

Georgetown University

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Faith Rankin

Wellesley College

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Andrew Peng

Rutgers University

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OET Alumni

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