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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. As the leader of the Office of Ed Tech, she executes the office’s mission of developing national edtech policy that enables everywhere, all-the-time learning and supports digital equity and opportunity.

In her nearly two-decade education career, Ishmael has worked at the federal, state, and school level, allowing her to develop a unique perspective on policy and practice and a vast network from whom she continues to learn and share. Most recently, she worked as an educational consultant and Sr. Research Fellow on New America’s Teaching, Learning, & Tech team, where she advised on the inclusive technology portfolio at the intersection of open education, digital equity, and culturally responsive and sustaining education.

Ishmael’s impressive career in education also includes her work as the Digital Learning Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education, where she led professional learning, developed policy, and advocated for school librarians. This experience granted her a unique perspective on leveraging educational technology in urban, suburban, and rural school systems. Before her state leadership role, Kristina started as an early childhood and elementary teacher of emerging bilingual students in Omaha, Nebraska.

Kristina Ishmael has become a respected voice in the world of education and edtech and is a fierce advocate for equity and access to quality education for all learners.

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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

Artificial Intelligence, Research & Development

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

Digital Health, Safety, & Citizenship, Libraries

Sara supports the K-12 open education work for the Department 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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Ji Soo Song

Digital Equity Advisor

At the U.S. Department of Education, Ji Soo leads the Office of Educational Technology’s (OET) digital equity initiatives to expand adoption of reliable, high-speed broadband and digital tools for learning. He also develops intra- and inter-agency partnerships to close the digital divide for learners furthest from opportunities and provides subject matter expertise to external capacity building and technical assistance efforts.

Prior to OET, Ji Soo was the senior policy advisor at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), where he led the research, analysis, and communication of public policy issues concerning digital learning standards and frameworks, educator credentialing, and funding for professional development. Ji Soo represented ISTE as a board member for the Title IV-A Coalition and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training.

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 was also a 2021-2022 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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Isabella Zachariah

Education Pioneers Impact Fellow

Isabella Zachariah serves as an Education Pioneers Impact Fellow within the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology (OET). Isabella will be supporting OET’s digital equity and open educational resource initiatives. Before joining OET, Isabella worked on education research and technical assistance projects at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). These projects leveraged evidence-based strategies and data-driven solutions to promote high-quality programs and policies with an emphasis on equitable access. Isabella gained substantial knowledge and experience in conducting research, developing resources for various stakeholders, and building relationships throughout these projects. Isabella earned her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Education & Society at the University of Chicago.

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Zac Chase

Digital Equity Impact Fellow

Zac Chase serves as Digital Equity Impact Fellow within the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. In his third decade in public education, Zac is leading OET’s development of the new National Education Technology Plan. Zac is returning to OET where he previously led the development of the 2016 NETP, represented ED on President Obama’s Broadband Opportunity Council. and led efforts to improve technology preparedness for novice teachers. Zac has worked nationally and internationally with schools and school systems on designing equitable and accessible learning experiences. Most recently he worked at St. Vrain Valley School District where he undertook the development of the district’s first open-licensed, freely-available curriculum for 6-12 English language arts.

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OET Alumni