Bronx EdTech Showcase logo

Keynote & Special Presenters 2015

Showcase Theme: Beyond Higher Education: Technology & Community


Keynote Address: “Save us from Ourselves: a High School Principal’s View of the Benefits and Challenges of Educational Technology in K-12 Schools and its Impact on Students’ Transition to College

The push to get technology into schools and classrooms has been a significant force in education for more than two decades now, and annual sales hover close to 10 billion dollars. The impact of all this technology, however, is far less clear cut than we would hope: the digital divide has closed in some areas and opened up in others; the US’s ranking on international education benchmarks has remained largely static; and our Bronx, with significant tech resources in its classrooms, remains one of the poorest Congressional districts in the country. The promise of ed tech remains strong, though, and there is reason to believe that when technology is in the right hands students’ readiness for – and transition to – higher education can improve tremendously. Whose hands are those, though, and why aren’t they the ones who get to hold the purse strings?

Keynote Speaker:

Ben Grossman, Founder and Principal of the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE). Ben began his career in education at Columbia’s Teachers College, where he studied secondary English education. He began teaching in 2003 at Satellite Academy High School, a transfer school serving over-aged, under-credited students in the south Bronx. The school is a member of the New York State Performance Standards Consortium, and students demonstrate their mastery through performance tasks and portfolios. At various times Ben served as department chair, grade team leader and UFT chapter leader; he led professional development on educational technology he piloted as well as curriculum planning frameworks like Understanding by Design.

In 2010, Ben left the classroom to join one of the NYC Department of Education’s new Children First Networks, district-level structures that provide instructional, leadership and operational support to a network of 30 schools, serving students from preK-12 grade. There he served first as Achievement Coach, and then as Director of Instruction. In the director role, Ben developed a model of professional development based on teacher action-research, working closely with principals, assistant principals and teachers to explore the role of the then-new Common Core Learning Standards in math and literacy classrooms.

In 2012 Ben and a colleague developed a proposal to found a new high school focusing on the intersection of art, technology and ethics. During the development process Ben was introduced to Fred Wilson, the New York City-based venture capitalist. Fred had recently established the non-profit NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education, and had supported the opening of a school for software engineering in Manhattan. He was interested in opening a second school in the Bronx, and Bronx Academy for Software Engineering was born.

As founding principal of BASE, Ben continues to work to build a school that adheres closely to its original mission: to give students from the Bronx the tools they need to understand, participate in and – where appropriate – work to change their communities. BASE students study computer science as a fifth core subject, learning creative problem-solving across the disciplines through Design Thinking. As seniors BASE students go out into their own communities and develop technical and innovative interventions to address political and social needs they identify.

Ben works closely with the school’s Advisory Board, which proudly includes technologists, community leaders and professors of computer science, including Majora Carter, Reshma Saujani and Lehman’s own Ronald Bergmann.

Interactive Lightning Session: Beyond Higher Education: Technology & Community

How can technology support learning and provide the skills to succeed in the 21st century job market? What kinds of tech readiness do employers look for in new graduates? This panel brings together educators from local high schools and colleges as well as civic and business leaders to discuss the role of technology in the transition from high school to college and from college to the workforce.



Dr. Christine Mangino is currently the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Hostos Community College. Having arrived at the college in 2004, Dr. Mangino has held numerous roles, as a professor in the Early Childhood Department, Unit Coordinator for Early Childhood Education, Chairperson for the Education Department, Director of the Teacher Academy at Hostos and most recently as the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development. While in the Education Department, Dr. Mangino helped develop their Early Childhood Education program to be offered completely asynchronous and has used numerous technologies while teaching both face-to-face and asynchronously.

Prior to Hostos, Dr. Mangino worked as an early childhood teacher and an elementary teacher with the New York City Department of Education and was an adjunct professor at St. John’s University, where she taught graduate courses, many that focused on learning styles. While she was in the doctoral program at St. John’s University, she was the recipient of a Doctoral Research Fellowship. Dr. Mangino conducted and published a meta-analysis of all the correlational research that has been conducted on the learning styles of adult learners. Since then, she has chaired doctoral dissertation committees for a number of doctoral students. Professor Mangino presents at national and international conferences on topics such as differentiated instruction and learning styles for teachers K-16, and is on the executive board for the International Learning Styles Network.


Jerome Dazzell, Director of New Training Initiatives and resident Salesforce admin/developer at Per Scholas, is a strategic, multidisciplinary tech enthusiast, who is always looking to explore new technologies. At Per Scholas he project manages change initiatives to tech training programs that serve over 400 adults and 50 employers per year. One recent initiative he has worked on is a collaboration with Doran Jones to re-shore 120 software testing jobs to the South Bronx.Prior to joining Per Scholas, Jerome had a career in retail banking. He currently resides in the Bronx and wants to do all that he can to help the borough transition into a major tech hub.





Francisco Moya was elected to represent the 39th Assembly District in 2010, earning him the honor of being the first Ecuadorian-American ever elected to public office in the United States. He currently Chairs both the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology. In addition, Assemblyman Moya serves on several powerful committees, including Ways and Means, Corporations, Energy, Labor, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.

Since his election, he has been a steadfast champion of immigrants’ rights and lower- and middle-income families. Assemblyman Moya has been the lead sponsor for a number of high-profile pieces of legislation, including the New York DREAM Act, the Justice for Job-Seekers Bill, and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project.

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Francisco worked for two members of Congress and served as the Associate Director of Business Development for the Queens Health Network at Elmhurst Hospital. In his capacity at Elmhurst Hospital, he helped develop the first clinic in Queens dedicated solely to women’s health.

In 2003, Francisco was named Secretary to the Senate for then-Senate Minority Leader David A. Paterson, and became the highest-ranking Latino in state government.

Francisco received his Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and was a National Urban Fellow at Baruch College, where he earned his Master’s in Public Administration. As a lifelong resident of Corona, Queens, he is proud to serve the people of his hometown in Albany.

Stephen Powers, Ph.D., began his career as a junior high school teacher, served as an elementary school principal and a high school assistant principal for academics. Appointed to the Department of Education and Reading at Bronx Community College (BCC) since September 2000. Has worked on numerous BCC and CUNY committees, and currently mentors BCC faculty who are learning how to develop distance learning courses. He spends a great deal of time on an initiative to provide support to academically distressed students at BCC. Steve represents BCC to the CUNY Committee on Academic Technology (CAT) and serves as chair for the CUNY CAT sub-committee for Blackboard (Bb), as well as on the University Steering Committee for Bb. He continues an affiliation with after-school programs in New York City, and recently had a chapter entitled “Role Models in Urban Communities” published in Race in Urban Communities, edited by Teresa Booker of John Jay College.


Cindy Gao. After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Cindy worked at Columbia’s Earth Institute, supporting the executive director with academic governance, financial oversight and strategic planning. She continued her work in the non-profit space at Steamboat Foundation, an organization that invested in young leaders through summer fellowship and targeted global humanitarian grants. With a strong desire to explore life abroad, Cindy spent 2 years in Shanghai, working as a strategic planner at Ogilvy & Mather and Wieden+Kennedy, and another two in Cape Town as part of a small team that doubled the growth of a retail manufacturing business in the food and nutrition space. As CSNYC’s Chief of Staff, Cindy has found the perfect fit for her eclectic background and interests, working at the intersection of technology and education while exploring better ways to connect great people doing great work.



Dr. Matthew Cotter has been the director of College Now at Bronx Community College since 2010. He received his PhD in American history from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2013 and wrote about the character and content of American higher education in the 20th century. He has taught throughout CUNY for the past decade and is the editor of Sidney Hook Reconsidered (Prometheus Books, 2004).











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.