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About Mary Ann

Educator and Parent

As the daughter of a teacher and then later as an educator myself, I have spent much of my life working or volunteering in or with schools. My children have and continue to attend the elementary, middle, and high schools in CHCCS. This perspective as an educator; parent; and someone who works extensively with state, district, and school leaders provides me with a wide range of experiences from which to draw upon for the School Board.

As the Director of Digital Learning Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, I lead professional learning and efforts to help districts and schools move toward personalized learning for students. I work daily with district and school leaders in our state and across, while also communicating with policymakers and working with national organizations to help improve education. I get to think and learn about the many facets of education and support the application and implementation of them on a daily basis. I would love to apply what I learn and experience in my work to the important work of the CHCCS School Board.


My unique skills include working in business and education with experience as a teacher and in innovating with schools, districts, and states to improve education. I have worked on the ground in the classroom and also in the national policy setting.

Although the majority of my career has been spent in education and digital learning, I have an undergraduate degree in accounting and previously held a CPA license.  The business and analytical skills have supported me in every aspect of my work.  I taught fifth grade in Virginia, which provided me with a grounding experience of what it is like to be the teacher and to work in high need schools.  I also had the chance to student teach in a very high income area, which only emphasized the importance of understanding the diverse communities and support that may or may not be a part of certain school cultures.

After teaching, I chose to pursue a doctorate degree in Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education.  This allowed me to delve into education policy and funding models, while also pursuing coursework for leadership.  

I then spent eight years working in Washington, DC for the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) with the last four years as Executive Director.  In this role, I brought together and supported state leaders in their work with districts around digital learning, and I also co-wrote several papers around Professional Development, Broadband, Virtual Learning, and STEM. I also spent a significant amount of time advocating and sharing what works with members of Congress and the Administration.  I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce on the potential of digital learning to increase equity and access for all students.  I have written extensively about education, including papers on personalized learning, the culture shift needed in schools, and professional development.

During the past three and 1/2 years, I have worked at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University.  In this work, I lead a team that provides professional development for district and school leaders; instructional coaches, media coordinators, and instructional technology facilitators; and teachers. I co-developed and continue to implement a year-long program for principals (in which principals from CHCCS participated). I also lead Summits for districts across the country through the Future Ready initiative and a program for district teams. I am on the leadership team for the NC Digital Learning Initiative and have worked with district and school leaders across the state to develop recommendations for to support districts. My team has also developed micro-credentials for competency-based professional learning, which helps me to imagine the potential of CHCCS's Project Advance. I also teach principals and instructional technology facilitators in NC State graduate programs.

I would love to use my experience and what I see working in other districts and schools across the country on the CHCCS Board.

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