The Edvocate’s 2017 EdTech 20: A Ranking of 20 Global Edtech Influencers

*The Edvocate is pleased to produce its “Best of the Best” resource lists. These lists provide our readers with rankings for education-related blogs, twitter accounts, edtech influencers, products, etc. These lists are meant to be fluid, and for that reason, they are regularly updated to provide up to the moment information.*

Who are the biggest edtech influencers in the world? The Edvocate editorial team has exhaustively researched the movers and shakers of edtech and selected 20 global influencers. To frame our methodology, we decided to define edtech influencer broadly. On this list, you will find administrators, bloggers, journalists, policymakers, researchers, innovators, businessmen, activists, etc. who are transforming the edtech space as we know it.

The influencers that we chose are all active in the area of edtech, doing something influential in 2017, well-known throughout the edtech landscape, and making an impact globally. We are excited to witness how these influencers continue to change the world this year, and we are anxious to see who will stand on the shoulders of these giants, and as a result, make our list next year. Without further ado, here is The Edvocate’s 2017 EdTech 20: A Ranking of 20 Global Edtech Influencers.

Sponsored By

1. Anant Agarwal

Founder and CEO of edX

What His Current Focus Is: Professor Anant Agarwal is currently a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is also one of the founders and the CEO of edX, a MOOC (massive online open course forum) and non-profit organization.  He created and taught the first edX course – one on circuits and electronics – which boasts an enrollment of over 155,000 students from over 160 countries across the world.  In addition to his work at MIT and on edX, Anant hacks on an online circuit’s lab called WebSim in his free time.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Anant has long been an outspoken advocate of MOOCs, which strive to make education accessible to learners at low or no cost, worldwide.  edX draws courses from the nation’s – and the world’s – leading educational institutions.  They offer many free courses, and students can choose to pay a fee for a certificate.  These fees help continue to fund free classes.

What His Background Is: Anant was born in Mangalore, India in 1959.  He studied at St. Aloysius Mangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.  In addition to edX, Anant has worked on various engineering and computer technology endeavors including Sparcle, Alewife, Virtual Wires, LOUD, Oxygen, and Fugu.

What May Surprise You About Him: According to an interview on Life Hacker, Anant admits to having dabbled in standup comedy in college.  He finds humor to be an essential quality of a strong leader.

Twitter: @agarwaledu

Email: [email protected]


2. Salman Khan

Founder and Executive Director of Khan Academy

What His Current Focus Is: Salman Kahn is an American educator who has founded both an online education platform called the Khan Academy, as well as a physical school, the Khan Lab School.  The Khan Academy is a free service that offers over 6500 video lessons on a range of topics and subjects, through primarily focused on math and science. The Khan Academy’s YouTube page has more than 2.9 million subscribers.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Khan’s goal is to reach as many students as possible, regardless of resources, and so his mission is to make his lessons accessible and free.  Kahn’s videos, therefore, have become vital educational resources for rural African and Asian students.

What His Background Is:  Kahn graduated from MIT with a Bachelor’s of Science in math, electrical engineering, and computer sciences; he then earned an MBA from Harvard.  Kahn worked hedge fund analyst.  As his online tutoring and education videos gained popularity, he quit his hedge fund position in 2009 to shift his focus to crafting and developing his online education endeavors.

What May Surprise You About Him: The Khan Academy began as a way for Kahn to tutor his cousin long-distance.

Twitter: @khanacademy

Email: [email protected]


3. Angela Maiers

Founder of Maiers Educational Services, Teacher, Writer

What Her Current Focus Is: With over 25 years of experience in education, Angela Maiers is a strong proponent of helping students feel passionate about learning and schools.  She is the creator of the You Matter Movement and an advocate for the Genius Hour in schools.  The You Matter Movement is centered on helping teachers help students feel seen, recognized, and valued which, in turn, helps them plug into their education.  The Genius Hour is an idea she borrowed from Google’s 20% Time policy for their engineers.  Under this theory, students are given (at least) one class period per week to pursue their passions under the tutelage of a teacher.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Maiers works to help teachers and students understand and employ the innovative power of technology.  Through Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, Maiers encourages teachers and other adults to send Mattergrams, messages tagged #YouMatter that encourage students and children to recognize their power to impact the world in a positive way.

What Her Background Is: Maiers is an alumna of the University of Iowa.  She received a Bachelor’s in Education.  She also holds a Master’s degree in Education and Curriculum from Drake University.  She has 28 years of teaching experience across a range of grade levels, and her work has impacted over 78,000 American classrooms.

What May Surprise You About Her: Maiers claims that the elementary school job of being the milk carrier is the most important, most coveted of responsibilities, and can be used as a microcosm of viewing your place in the world.

Twitter: @angelamaiers

Email: [email protected]


4. Nichole Pinkard

Associate Professor at DePaul University in the College of Computing and Digital Media

What Her Current Focus Is: Pinkard is an Associate Professor at DePaul University in the College of Computing and Digital Media. Her research is focused on the design and use of pedagogical-based social networks, new media literacy learning outcomes, ecological models of learning and developing pathways for urban youth. She is a strong  advocate for digital literacy and believes that it will lead a revolution in the world of education. This is why she founded the Digital Youth Network in 2006. This Network seeks to help educators learn to teach with technology and digital media. It further seeks to ensure that technology is available to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Pinkard founded the Digital Youth Network (DYN) in 2006, and she has been creating initiatives that transform the edtech space every since. The DYN model begins with sixth to eighth-grade education and focuses on mandatory in-school media arts classes and optional after-school programs. She was also a co-founder of YOUmedia, a public learning space for teens that immerses students in a context of traditional media to produce new media artifacts like games, videos, and virtual worlds. In April 2010, Pinkard co-founded RemixWorld along with Robert Chang. RemixWorld is a cloud-based social learning network for primary and secondary education, which seeks to safely and securely connect children and adolescents with curriculum, extended learning, and mentorship opportunities.

What Her Background Is: Pinkard holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.

What May Surprise You About Her: Nothing. We mean that in a good way.

Twitter: @npinkard

Email: Nichole can be contacted via her website:


5. Elijah Mayfield

VP of New Technologies for Turnitin

What His Current Focus Is: Right now Turnitin is building products that support student writing with immediate feedback. Elijah leads a team of more than 30 people and spends most of his day talking through machine learning algorithms that can give better feedback in the student writing process. He frequently visits schools that are using Turnitin products to build up a user-centered understanding of what’s working.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Turnitin is making it possible for every student to feel self-assured in their ability to write. To get there, teachers need help, and with Turnitin products they can assign writing more often, with more student-driven opportunities for practice and revision.

What His Background Is: Elijah graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, a public liberal arts college near his hometown in rural Minnesota. Most of Elijah’s Ph.D. in Language Technologies was finished at Carnegie Mellon before he dropped out to start a company, LightSide Labs, focused on improving student writing. After several grants and successful pilots, Turnitin acquired LightSide Labs and employed the team to work on developing even more creative solutions.

What May Surprise You About Him: Elijah started his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon at age 20. He published his first scientific paper at age 18.

Twitter: @turnitin

Email: [email protected]


6. Mark MacDonald

President and CEO, Hero K12

What His Current Focus Is: Hero gives schools and those who work in education a tool that makes a significant difference in school culture and climate. Everything else becomes easier if the school’s culture is a positive place to grow and learn. Mark now wants to take the company to the next level and start acquiring other edtech companies to integrate thus allowing shared customers to get all the data and analysis needed to make the right decisions every day.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Hero focuses on outcomes, not simply product. Mark believes in focusing on the outcome of student success first, then using technology to help make the outcome happen. There may be easier challenges than school culture to tackle but not many are more important.

What His Background Is: Mark takes pride in having had the chance to help a public company grow tenfold and evolve during his tenure. He says this has allowed him to try new things, fail on a few, and still see success materialize through the right planning and execution. The last group of businesses he ran before Hero focused on the education market and this is where he discovered that it was a lot of fun having passionate customers who are focused on making a difference.

What May Surprise You About Him: Mark’s three kids don’t necessarily think that running a technology company serving education makes him cool. He was really hoping it would.

Twitter: @HeroMatters

Email: [email protected]


7. Sabari Raja

Nepris CEO and Co-Founder

What Her Current Focus Is: Sabari is focused on growing the Nepris footprint globally with a mission to inspire every student to new careers and possibilities through real-world connections. She is committed to building an inclusive team of people equally passionate about this mission and who go above and beyond to serve their education and industry customers. She is getting ready for a Series A fundraising round in 2017 that will help bring Nepris to more students in the U.S. and international markets. Apart from growing her company she is also committed to being a role model for her two boys ages 9 and 12.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Sabari’s passion is transforming students lives by democratizing education through technology. Engaging girls and minorities in STEM careers is a driving force. Her vision and leadership with Nepris has helped bring real-world exposure to many rural and lower socioeconomic students.

What Her Background Is: Sabari came from India to the U.S. to get her Masters in Computer Science at LSU and later got her EMBA from SMU. Sabari worked in edtech for 18 years leading product/content strategy, publisher relations, and emerging market growth. She serves on the Champions Board of Texas Girls Collaborative and is a new board member at EdNet. Sabari frequently speaks on the topic of entrepreneurship and education technology at events like SXSWEdu, Smartbrief, TCEA and others.

What May Surprise You About Her: Sabari grew up in rural south India on a coconut farm and still frequently visits the family farm. She has a comedian’s sense of timing and weaves humor into her work and speeches.

Twitter: @sabari700

Email: [email protected]


8. Carol Ribeiro

CEO of the Virtual High School

What Her Current Focus Is: As the President & CEO of VHS, Ribeiro is passionate about providing students with equal access to quality education, and has dedicated the last 17 years to helping shape The Virtual High School’s online learning program. The collaborative program has expanded from its initial cohort of 30 schools to its current participation of more than 600!

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Carol is transforming edtech through her work at the Virtual High School (VHS Inc.), an online learning pioneer. For the last twenty years, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning.

What Her Background Is: Carol is senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in education management, operations and human resources, systems development, and online education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Bentley University and an MBA from Clark University.

What May Surprise You About Her: Carol is an online learning pioneer, but she’s not the first in her family with pioneering spirit – she’s related to legendary pioneer Daniel Boone! During Ribeiro’s time at VHS, the organization has won numerous awards globally, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology, and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. Carol Ribeiro, was named a finalist in the Leadership category of the 2017 EdTech Digest Awards program.

Twitter: @carolannriberio

Email: [email protected]


9. Robert Romano

CEO and Founder of BookheadEd Learning, LLC, the Creator of StudySync

What His Current Focus Is: Robert is presently focused on serving as the CEO of BookheadEd Learning LLC, a privately held California-based company developing academic content with forward-thinking designs and advanced technology solutions for education. Its flagship product is StudySync, a comprehensive 6-12 ELA curriculum that offers powerful digital instruction that brings together fiction and nonfiction texts with video and other multimedia elements to advance students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: In 2009 Robert created StudySync with the vision of leveraging technology and social learning to engage students in the great works of literature. As one of the nation’s most highly regarded literacy curriculums, StudySync provides these digitally-connected students with media-rich learning experiences, real-world topics, and a direct read-write connection, while giving teachers flexible digital tools and engaging print resources supporting teaching, differentiation, and standards-based assessment. In 2013 StudySync partnered with McGraw Hill Education to exclusively distribute StudySync in the k – 12 channel. The product has also received numerous prestigious awards including the coveted Innovation Award from the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP).

What His Background Is: Robert Romano is a successful entrepreneur who has assembled top academic and creative talent to produce innovative and efficient educational technology for today’s students. Robert Romano previously founded of EdVantage Software, a highly successful edtech company that he sold in 2001.  With undergraduate degrees in Engineering and English, Robert went on complete an M.A. in Literature and the Teaching of Writing. Combining those areas of study, he has dynamically impacted education in the language arts classroom through the innovative use of technology.

What May Surprise You About Him: Robert has written an historical novel on the civil war that he expects will be published in 2018.


10. Steven Anderson

Co-founder of #EdChat on Twitter, Education Consultant

What His Current Focus Is: Steven Anderson is an educational expert who focuses on the fusion of technology and social media in pedagogy.  Anderson is a blogger and a former classroom teacher and district technology director.  He hosts the weekly #EdChat on Twitter, which boasts over 1500 participants each week.  Anderson’s #EdChats have earned him the Twitterer of the Year distinction twice.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Anderson works to help teachers meet students in the places where they live: the digital universe.  He travels the country, speaking at schools and conferences about how to safely and appropriately integrate social media in classrooms and how to leverage students’ knowledge of technology to help them learn and grow.

What His Background Is: Anderson is a native of North Carolina, where he still currently resides.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in Middle-Grade Math and Science Education from Western Carolina University and then obtained a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University.  He was the director of technology at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC.

What May Surprise You About Him: Anderson is also the author of 3 books geared toward educators and administrators about efficacy in using technology.

Twitter: @web20classroom

Email: [email protected]


11. Dr. Julie Carter

Co-Founder & CEO, GreyED Solutions   

What Her Current Focus Is: Dr. Carter’s current focus is assisting K12 school districts and EdTech organizations transform themselves for the digital age. Through organizational alignment, strategic planning and professional development, she is fostering change and adaptation in teaching, learning and leadership. Her focus on understanding organizational culture and ecosystems leverages the power of stakeholder insights and builds capacity for impacting learners through the purposeful implementation of technology. As part of her focus she serves as a liaison to EdTech organizations influencing their product development, identifying the most important gaps and needs in the market from the educator perspective.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: She’s co-created FilterED, an adaptive, digital toolset offering school leaders a comprehensive, actionable view of their current technology landscape. This is transforming the edtech space offering leaders insights into previously intangible elements of their organization, providing the evidence needed to prioritize and measure ongoing technology initiatives.

What Her Background Is: Dr. Carter’s background in education began as a classroom teacher and media specialist before becoming the Executive Director of Technology for Minnetonka Public Schools. There she oversaw one of the best 1:1 computing efforts in the country, recognized by Apple and the National School Board Association (NSBA). She was named as Tech & Learning’s Leader of the Year in 2010 for her innovative use of technology and as one of “20 to Watch” by the NSBA in 2010.

What May Surprise You About Her: She studied computer science prior to blending her passions for technology and education and pursuing a degree in education leadership.

Twitter: @greyedsolutions

Email: [email protected]


 12. Rafranz Davis

Instructional Technology Specialist for Arlington, Texas School District

What Her Current Focus Is: As an instructional technology specialist, Rafranz helps educators to effectively implement technology into their classrooms. She is a speaker, blogger, and an edtech advocate who is never afraid to speak truth to any situation. She is a voice for diverse perspectives in edtech, which have been missing since edtech’s inception. She is the author of The Missing Voices in EdTech: Bringing Diversity into EdTech, a book that puts a spotlight on the fact that the education community has failed to consider the viewpoints of people of color in discussions about edtech.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: By advocating for diverse populations in edtech, she is giving a voice to a population that edtech influencers and policy makers have never acknowledged. Because of her, and people like her, discussions around the intersection of edtech and diversity have increased exponentially. Just visit your favorite edtech blog or read the keynote and presentation titles at your favorite conference. Not to mention, when it comes to the implementation of edtech in an educational environment, Rafranz is a trailblazer.

What Her Background Is: Rafranz obtained an associate’s degree from Navarro College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University–Commerce. Since her undergraduate days, she has devoted her life to helping educators implement technology in educational environments. She was a middle school math teacher before becoming a curricular strategist and technologist.

What May Surprise You About Her: Rafranz is never afraid to call a spade a spade.

Twitter: @rafranzdavis

Email: Rafranz can be contacted via her website:


13. Vicki Davis

Creator of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, IT Administrator and Teacher at Westwood Schools

What Her Current Focus Is: Vicki Davis is a current school teacher and blogger with over 138,000 Twitter followers. She is also a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on professional development for teachers, inspiring them to use technology and build meaningful relationships with their students.  Through her blog and her two books, she reaches hundreds of thousands of teachers, inspiring them to share their trials and triumphs and learn from one another, creating a holistic, wholesome environment to foster student achievement.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Davis’ blog, the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, has garnered much attention and numerous awards, including the Edublogger Award for Best Teacher Blog.  Her current project, the global collaborative app project MAD About Mattering, encourages students to create “apps that matter” in collaborative environments, applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to better the world around them.

What Her Background Is: Davis has been a full-time teacher and IT director at a school in Camilla, Georgia since 2002.  She was inspired to begin pursuing professional and teacher development when she began to feel stretched thin – ineffective in the classroom and not as present as she would have liked at home with her children.  Two of her children have learning differences, and she began her educational ministry in hopes to better understand students who learn differently like her own children.

What May Surprise You About Her: Davis and her students have traveled all over the world, including to Qatar, India, China, Hawaii, and UAE to present to teachers worldwide about the impact of technology.

Twitter: @coolcatteacher

Email: Vicki can be contacted via her website:


14. Shelly Sanchez Terrell

Co-founder of #EdChat, Creator of 30 Goals Challenge for Education

What Her Current Focus Is: Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher educator and e-learning specialist.  She has worked with teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries.  She has also been recognized as one of Microsoft’s Heroes for Education for her work promoting teacher-driven professional development and the integration of technology in the classroom.  Terrell offers webinars and online presentations each week to reach out to teachers across the United States and the world.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Terrell has inspired over 10,000 teachers to transform their classrooms through her 30 Goals Challenge, which guides the teacher to integrate new technology in his or her classroom, avoid the dreaded “teacher burnout,” and reconnect with students.  The Goals Challenge helps teachers set both short- and long-term goals to reinvigorate his or her passion for education.

What Her Background Is: Terrell received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her Master’s degree in curriculum instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix.  She worked as an ESOL teacher and social media community manager before shifting her focus to teacher training and outreach.

What May Surprise You About Her: Terrell has not only taught English to language learners in the United States but has taught abroad in Germany and to online learners in Spain as well.

Twitter: @shellterrell

Email: [email protected]


15. Jess Gartner

Allovue CEO and Founder

What Her Current Focus Is: Jess Gartner, a former Baltimore City public school teacher, founded Allovue, a K-12 education finance technology company that empowers educators to strategically and equitably allocate resources. Allovue’s software platform, Balance, integrates seamlessly with districts’ existing accounting systems and other data systems to help educators budget, monitor, and evaluate spending. Allovue also provides supplemental services, including funding equity analysis, diagnostic skills surveys, financial management training, and cost-effectiveness analysis. Allovue is currently working with districts across 15 states to analyze their education spending.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: $700B of annual education spending data is stored in archaic systems, further obfuscated by complex accounting codes. Compelled to reveal connections between school spending and student outcomes, the Allovue team is transforming how education finance data is managed and analyzed.

What Her Background Is: Before founding Allovue, Jess studied education policy at the University of Pennsylvania and received her MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins. She’s a former Baltimore City middle school teacher, where she saw first-hand how resource allocation impacts student success. Jess has been featured as Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Education. In 2016 she received the Maryland TEDCO Entrepreneur of the Year and the Johns Hopkins Outstanding Alumni Award.

What May Surprise You About Her: Jess Gartner believes that education finance is a civil rights issue, necessitating increased financial transparency to evaluate resource equity. Jess leads a national #edfintech company that provides technology solutions making strategic and equitable budgeting easy, efficient, and effective.

Twitter: @jessgartner @allovuebalance

Email: [email protected]


16. Todd Brekhus

President of myON

What His Current Focus Is: Todd Brekhus has made it his goal to personalize literacy in a way that will transform learning for all students. With myON and its expansive literacy ecosystem, Todd and his team aim to provide unlimited access to reading beyond the classroom walls. myON works to inspire the love of reading and learning by leveling the playing field with unlimited access to books and furthers the ability to provide unlimited opportunities for all students.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Todd and his team have built a literacy ecosystem that offers students instant access to more than 13,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, daily news articles, real-time assessments, and close reading tools.

What His Background Is: Todd led the digital product concept and planning at Capstone Digital for myON and other digital products since 2008. Previously, he was the VP and Chief Marketing Officer for PLATO Learning, president and COO of Learning Elements, and Education Program Director for MCI WorldCom, where he helped develop and implement the Marco Polo program. Before that, he spent eight years in education as a teacher, department chair, and technology director.

What May Surprise You About Him: Todd’s very first job in 1982 was unpacking Apple II computers for the head librarian in the Bloomington Public School District.

Twitter: @ToddBrekhus

Email: [email protected]


17. Chaks Appalabattula

Founder & CEO of Bloomz, Inc.

What His Current Focus Is: Chaks is focused on creating a fun, easy-to-use parent-teacher communication tool for a new generation of social media and mobile-savvy parents who have children in schools, child cares and activities. Today’s parents are used to connecting and communicating through their smartphones and are fluent in the language of photos, likes, comments, and direct messages. With Bloomz, Chaks has created a mobile app with a familiar social media interface that encourages parents to participate in their child’s learning and connect to their teacher and community through a secure platform.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Chaks has helped bring the fast growing Bloomz to over 14,000 schools across the nation by combining a social networking interface with a comprehensive set of tools, from messaging and media sharing, to calendar, signups, and student behavior tracking—all at no cost. He aims at disrupting the parental engagement for the new generation.

What His Background Is: Before creating Bloomz, Chaks applied his computer science and engineering education at companies such as Microsoft, AskMe, and most recently as the vice president of product and partnerships at GlobalScholar, where he focused on building an end-to-end learning platform to connect teachers, students, and administrators. He founded Bloomz, Inc. in January 2014 and serves as the Founder and CEO.

What May Surprise You About Him: A parent of two school-aged children, Chaks created Bloomz after he and his wife both fell ill and had communication difficulties with their teachers and school community.

Twitter: @achaks

Email: [email protected]


18. Johnjoe Farragher

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Defined Learning

What His Current Focus Is: As the CEO of Defined Learning, it is Farragher’s goal to build and maintain strong customer relationships and provide thought leadership in identifying best practices that provide educators with the best possible experience. Through Defined STEM, a product of Defined Learning, students can engage in project-based learning (PBL) and use what they know to solve real-world problems. The curriculum is aimed to save educators time when creating unique and relevant project-based lessons, while also opening students’ eyes to a variety of STEM careers.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech: With his Defined STEM curriculum, Farragher saves teachers time and makes PBL easy to implement by providing pre-built, project-based performance tasks complete with research resources. To help educators effectively implement PBL in their classrooms, Farragher added Performance Task PD, a professional development community.

What His Background Is: With 20 years in educational media, Farragher has used creative marketing campaigns to make Defined Learning a success. He started in education as a salesman for United Learning. From 1992–2009, he was Senior VP of strategy and business development for Discovery Education. Farragher’s vision led to the development of the widely adopted United Streaming.  He started Defined Learning in 2009, which has grown to partner with thousands of schools.

What May Surprise You About Him: A Chicago native, Farragher is an avid sports fan and enjoys cheering for the Bears, the Cubs, and the Blackhawks.

Twitter: @DefinedSTEM

Email: [email protected]


19. Lucy Gray

Education Consultant, Co-founder of the Global Education Conference

What Her Current Focus Is: Lucy Gray is an educational consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator, and Google Certified Teacher.  Gray’s consulting is focused on presenting to teachers and staffs about best practices in technology integration, information literacy, global education initiatives, and harnessing the power of social media.  Currently, Gray is working as an innovation coach, mentoring elementary school teachers to explore and create mobile learning opportunities.

How She’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Gray creates hands-on experiences for teachers, coaching them through the process of creating cultures of creativity and innovation in their schools.  Instead of simply presenting or lecturing, she dives into schools, meeting regularly with their employees to promote positive change.  She also works as a liaison in transitioning schools toward 1:1 technology integration.

What Her Background Is: Gray received her degree in art history and elementary education from Beloit College in 1989, followed by a Master’s degree in technology in education from National-Louis University in 2002.  She has taught in the Chicago Public School system, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, and has worked in various capacities at the University of Chicago.

What May Surprise You About Her: Gray makes all of her consulting presentations available for free on her web page at

Twitter: @elemenous

Email: [email protected]


20. Eric Sheninger

Award-Winning Former Principal and Author

What His Current Focus Is: Eric is an award-winning former principal who is changing the way that schools think about and also utilize technology. His primary focus is helping schools harness the power of edtech and use it not only to connect with students but also to help them achieve academically. He is an accomplished speaker and author who tweets about all things education.

How He’s Transforming the EdTech Space: Eric is an avid blogger, and his thought-provoking and practical posts shed light on the need for thoughtful technology implementation, more effective learning strategies, and stronger school branding, among other ideas. He is helping schools lead and learn in a digital age. He is responsible for Pillars of Digital Leadership, which is a framework that seeks to transform school cultures.

What His Background Is: Eric is a senior fellow and thought leader on digital leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education. Before that, he was an award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his helm, the school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices in edtech. Sheninger holds two bachelor’s degrees — a B.S. from Salisbury University and a B.S. from University of Maryland Eastern Shore — and a master’s in education from the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

What May Surprise You About Him: Even with his busy schedule, he has found time to write 5 books.

Twitter: @e_sheninger

Email: [email protected]



As you can see, there is no shortage of global edtech influencers out there. Who did we forget? Do you have any edtech influencers who you know and follow? Let us know.









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