About the Getting Smart Team
Alison Anderson | Managing Editor
Alison manages GettingSmart.com by coordinating with regular and guest bloggers and integrating those posts into the daily content produced by the passionate Getting Smart staff. She ensures that our content reaches the broadest audience with the best use of social media, mainly our Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube accounts. Throughout her years in the classroom, Alison found incredible value in attending educational events and conferences, is an organizer as well as regular attendee of Edcamps, and is a member of ISTE and an active member of the OAts (Oregon Academic Technology Society) Board. On the Getting Smart team, Alison transfers that energy while covering these types of events for the blog and shares the benefits and inspiration a great education conference can give all educators. While receiving her BA in Middle/Secondary Education and English from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, Alison spent time teaching in the public schools, as well working as a curriculum designer and educator at Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. After moving to Portland, OR with her family, Alison taught 5th grade and eventually moved to the computer lab to teach technology to grades kindergarten through eighth. She earned her MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University with an emphasis in educational technology.
Tom Vander Ark | CEO + Partner
Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and founder of Getting Smart, a education advocacy firm. Tom is also a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in edtech startups. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience. Tom is chair of Charter Board Partners, Treasurer for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and serves on several other nonprofit boards. Tom received the Distinguished Achievement Medal and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He received his M.B.A. in finance from the University of Denver. He continues his education online.
Karen Vander Ark | CFO + Partner
Karen began her career at the University of Denver Development office over 34 years ago and she’s been raising money for, speaking on behalf of and supporting education and community organizations since. Karen was a gubernatorial appointed college trustee and lead a community college through a leadership transition. Politics and education have been involved in her service and professional life while serving on numerous political campaigns, bond and levy campaigns and a statewide education initiative.Karen has helped shape education reform from Colorado to Washington State, participating in charter school activities and grassroots campaigns. Karen’s passion and life long goal of supporting her community and education revolves around supporting the Boys & Girls Club teen center -EX3, Rotary Scholarships, & Advancing Leadership youth programs. Karen holds a BSBA in Marketing from Waynesburg College.
Caroline Vander Ark Davis | COO + Partner
Caroline oversees the day-to-day operations of the company and participates in client projects on various levels. Previously she worked at Capital Sports & Entertainment. At CSE she focused on trip planning and execution, managing schedules for executives and traveled both domestically and internationally for work. Caroline has also worked for the Seattle SuperSonics Professional Basketball Club in the basketball operations department. Prior to her role with the Sonics she worked at WilliamsWorks a strategic advocacy firm as a Project Coordinator, managing the orchestration of high-profile, large-scale events and advocacy trips and daily client work for non-profits. She has also worked for Goodwin Sports Management, an elite sports management firm. Caroline has extensive domestic and international travel experience spanning the globe from Japan, India, Africa and Brazil. She holds a degree in Communications from Washington State University and has served as the VP-Finance for Austin Delta Gamma Alumnae and was on the Board of Directors for Communities In Schools of Central Texas.
Carri Schneider | Director of Policy + Research
Carri joins the Getting Smart team with diverse experience across K-12, higher education and education policy. Her career in education began as a second grade teacher, before leaving the classroom to get more involved in the decisions that impact students and teachers. Carri continues to keep one foot in policy and one foot in practice. She has served as an online educator since 2005 in a fully-online Master’s program in Educational Leadership and has taught graduate courses in School Law and Curriculum. Carri has authored several pieces on education reform and the future of education, including journal articles, policy reports, blog posts and book chapters. She co-edited the book Building a 21st Century U.S. Education System with Bob Wehling, published by NCTAF. Carri has been actively involved in supporting education policy efforts to advance digital and blended learning opportunities as a consultant to state and national organizations, including KnowledgeWorks and its Ohio Education Matters subsidiary. She holds a M.Ed. in Educational Administration and an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership with emphasis on education policy and social justice.
Allison is our operations guru. She is responsible for making sure the back end of our company is on point and keeps us all organized. She manages our travel arrangements, calls and meetings, speaking engagements, client invoicing and payments, and assists on client projects. She manages our in-house events and client events including small meetings and large scale conferences. She is our jack of all trades, our coordinator of chaos! With a background in office management and event planning, she brings a special set of skills to our team. She has spent time working in various office settings developing her office management skills and working as an event assistant and event intern on all types of events. She received a BA degree from Central Washington University with an emphasis in social service.
Scott supports client communication and marketing deliverables, including copy writing, press releases, market research, branding, and the development of marketing plans. Furthermore, he supports social media traffic, drives quality conversations for clients, and contributes to client analytical reports. Scott is also responsible for live reporting and coverage of education events and conferences. Upon completing his undergraduate Communications degree from Washington State University, Scott spent two years as a full-time substitute teacher in the Alpine County School District outside of South Lake Tahoe, California. Following his teaching experience in California, Scott spent his time living in Peru setting up a volunteer English training program for children in a rural village called Ollantaytambo. Scott was responsible for developing English curriculums, lesson plans, and the overall structure of the program. After his volunteer experience, Scott continued working in the education field as a Program Manager for The Bureau of Education and Research. As a Program Manager, he planned and managed over 340 skill development seminars on time, on spec, and under budget for leaders in education in five different cities weekly throughout the U.S. and Canada. Throughout his career, Scott has vast travel experience, traveling to nearly all 50 U.S. states at home and over 25 countries abroad. Scott recently completed his MBA degree in Marketing and Operations from Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics.
Adam Renfro | Regular Contributor
Adam is a staple on the Getting Smart blog as a parent, teacher and education advocate.
Winifred Kehl is a science writer and museum exhibit developer who specializes in informal (outside the classroom) science education. She especially loves creative projects that help people engage with science. You can find her online at www.winifredkehl.com.