Aim Hire 2023 Learning Sessions

Round 1:
10:50 am – 11:35 am

Building Critical Career Pathways

Explore the process for building effective educational pathways that guide students towards successfully completing credentials and degrees of value aligned to workforce demands.

Location: Pheoris West A, Floor 3

Speaker Biographies:

Shannon Cox
Superintendent, Montgomery County Educational Service Center

Shannon currently serves as the 12th Montgomery County Educational Service Center Superintendent in the organization’s history and is its first female superintendent. Her role includes working directly with and advocating for all 16 public school districts in Montgomery County. As the educational leader for the county, she works with other various leaders across city/county government and the other public sectors. Shannon was featured as a TEDxDayton speaker, where she gave her TED Talk on “Future Self.” Shannon has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton, where she taught various workshop classes and Educational Leadership courses. Ms. Cox has worked with many other communities in different roles within the MCESC, which has allowed her to build relationships with districts throughout the region and state. In addition, she co-leads the MCESC Business Advisory Council while taking a great interest in overall state policy and law to be able to provide guidance and consultation to districts. Shannon was named the 2021 Justus A. Prentice Awardee by the national Association of Educational Service Agencies. This top national award acknowledges contributions through executive leadership in advancing regional educational service agency programs at the regional, state, and national levels. She was also a finalist for WDTN’s Remarkable Woman 2021 and was chosen as a Blue Angels’ Key Influencer in 2022. Shannon was also honored as one of the Top 50 Business Women by the Dayton Business Journal in 2023. Shannon serves on the Board for ThinkTV/CET and Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board. Additionally, she serves on other boards including Learn to Earn Dayton, Air Camp USA, Montgomery County Overdose Action Team, Family and Children First Council, Dayton Region Manufacturer Association, Dayton Metro Library Foundation, and is Past President of the Historical Society of Germantown’s Board of Trustees. Prior to her current position, she spent time in her career as a classroom teacher at the intermediate and junior high levels, a building principal, an athletic coach, a K-12 Curriculum Director, and MCESC’s Associate Superintendent. Her experience has been in multiple counties and different types of districts giving her a variety of educational experiences at the Pk-12 level. Outside of education, Shannon is a community activist. She is a vibrant participant in her community and has led many grass-root initiatives including those focusing on volunteerism, fundraising, political campaigns, and health awareness, and most recently has co-founded a Community Drug-Free Coalition. Shannon believes there has never been a more important time in education to advocate for our profession, our schools, and most importantly our students.

Candice Sears
Director of Instructional Services, Montgomery County Educational Service Center

Candice is currently serving as the Director of Instructional Services at the Montgomery County ESC in Dayton, Ohio. As a Director of Instructional Services, she supports curriculum, federal grants, state initiatives, student programming (EL/ Gifted/ Homeless/ Migrant/ Remote Learning), innovation & future of education. Through her work at the MCESC, she has launched several statewide initiatives and research studies. Most recently, she opened up the Future Self Center which is an alternative to expulsion program for middle school students. She serves as the Director of the Western Ohio Service Collaborative aimed at leveraging professional development opportunities across six county ESCs. Candice Sears has served in various roles across the education industry including principal, curriculum director, gifted coordinator, and educator. She spent seven years working with the University of Cincinnati as Director of Professional Development in the College of Education & Coordinator of the Gifted Endorsement Program. Candice Sears has experience speaking at local, state and national events, conferences, and summits. She has spoken on topics around transforming education, the future of education, and planning for equitable postsecondary success. Most recently, Candice spoke about supporting the diverse needs of every student, with an emphasis on creating, sustaining, and scaling work-based learning programs. She highlighted some of the most common challenges educators face, including: creating relevant, accessible experiences/ building and maintaining a business partner database/ marketing work-based learning programs to the community/ building & supporting the talent pipeline and removing equity roadblocks. Candice Sears also has recently spoken about the STEM education crisis sharing how educators across the state of Ohio are harnessing best-practice pedagogical techniques utilizing virtual reality to teach students math the way their brains are wired to learn through experience, movement & perception.

Exploring Flexible Work-Based Learning Models

Step into the world of flexible work-based learning models that adapt to the changing needs of learners and employers. This session will explore how organizations are redefining traditional work structures to create meaningful learning experiences.

Location: Pheoris West B, Floor 3

Speaker Biographies:

Brenna Bartlett
Assistant Director, Office of Career-Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education & Workforce

Brenna Bartlett is an Assistant Director in the Office of Career-Technical Education at the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. In her role, Brenna oversees the Business Administration, Finance and Marketing career fields, Career Based Intervention and Job Training Coordination programs, work-based learning and the Ohio Tech Prep Regional Centers. She also collaborates on initiatives to support CTE for middle grades, equity in CTE and secondary transition outcomes for students with disabilities. Outside of work, Brenna is an active volunteer in the Columbus non-profit community, having served on several Boards of Directors for organizations that support economic independence and career advancement for women.

Cynthia Rickman
Assistant Director, Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS), City of Columbus

Cynthia has been employed by the City of Columbus for 28 years where she has worked in the Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) and the Department of Development. During her tenure with the City, she has served as spokesperson, crisis communications manager, project manager and community relations liaison. In her current role in BZS, she serve as project manager and coordinator of the partnership program with Fort Hayes Career Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Liberty University, West Liberty, WV and a Master of Arts degree from Marshall University, Huntington, WV.

Mark Tremayne
Director of Innovation and Extended Learning, Hilliard City Schools

Mark’s focus is to provide hands-on, minds-on, authentic learning experiences for all students. Mark is a catalyst for new learning initiatives and an active strategist in student engagement through learner autonomy and ownership. He seeks to empower students and staff by unleashing curiosity and cultivating interests into passions.

Al in Education: What Educators Need to Know

Explore a wide range of generative Al tools, dive deep in many practical and powerful ways to use Al for teaching and learning, and explore how to address potential misuses of this transformative technology.

Location: Pheoris West C, Floor 3

Speaker Biography:

Eric Curts
Technology Integration Specialist, Stark/Portage Area Computer Consortium (SPARCC)

Eric has been in education for 32 years, and currently serves as a Technology Integration Specialist for SPARCC in North Canton, Ohio where he oversees Google for Education implementation, training, and support, as well as other technology integration initiatives. Eric is an authorized Google Education Trainer and Innovator, and provides training to schools, organizations, and conferences throughout Ohio and across the country. He is a co-leader of the Ohio Google Educator Group at ( Eric runs the award-winning blog ( where all of his edtech resources can be found, and is the author of the book “Control Alt Achieve: Rebooting Your Classroom with Creative Google Projects.”

Virtual Reality in Education and Training

Explore best practices for utilizing virtual reality in the classroom for experiential learning and discuss our evolving classrooms and the effects of this on skills­-based learning.

Location: Roman Johnson, Floor 3

Speaker Biographies:

Jorge Castillo
Collections Imaging Expert, Ohio University Museum Complex & MFA Candidate, Ohio University 

Jorge Castillo (he/him) is an environmental visual communicator from Ecuador pursuing an MFA in Communication Media Arts at the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. Jorge has over a decade of experience using Photo and video production to raise cultural and environmental awareness. His work has been featured in National Geographic and BBC Wildlife Magazine and several film festivals including Wildlife Conservation Film Festival. Jorge is interested in creating innovative ways to use emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), and AI, for environmental education and conservation. Currently, Jorge, in collaboration with the Ohio University Museum Complex and the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, is using a process of capturing photographs to create accurate 3D models of animals and environments to create an accessible virtual collection, allowing scientists and the general public alike to learn more about Ohio animals and ecosystems.

Joseph Chambers
XR Specialist, ChambersXR LLC

Joseph is an innovative, forward-thinking XR specialist with more than eight years of design and development for Extended Reality (XR) experiences. Joseph is interested in the continued exploration of Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality projects for training, education, and spatial visualization.

John Bowditch
Associate Professor, Ohio University

John Bowditch is the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab director at Ohio University. The GRID Lab was founded in 2004 with a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to bring immersive technology education, research, and entrepreneurial support to southeast Ohio. Since its founding, nearly a dozen companies have spun out of the GRID Lab ( He is an associate professor of game development and virtual reality at the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies. John has led over 30 funded research projects at Ohio University with over $7.5 million in support. Sponsors have included the National Institutes of Health, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of Education, and the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center.

Economic Return on Postsecondary Education

Participate in an engaging gallery walk and discuss new research that explores where Ohio students, families, and the workforce are seeing the value in education beyond high school and are finding affordable opportunities to upskill.

Location: Charles Massey AB, Floor 3

Speaker Biographies:

Calista Smith
President, Scale Strategic Solutions

Smith leads the organization in service to efforts focused on the greater good for organizations and communities. In her work with Scale Strategic Solutions, Calista has served as project manager and lead consultant on implementation and program evaluation projects for Interact for Health, Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ohio Excels, the Ohio Department of Education, Westat, and regional councils of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund. Her work has also included strategic planning services, organizational development and stakeholder facilitation for organizations such as the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Education Strategy Group, the Ohio Department of Health, Park Board of Galveston (TX), Civitas Development Group, and Middletown Moving Forward. Calista is a certified project management professional (PMP) with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and bachelor’s degrees in Communications and the Honors Program from Villanova University.

Brett Visger
Senior Advisor, Education Strategy Group (ESG)

Brett Visger currently serves as Senior Advisor with Education Strategy Group. In this role, he is focused on developing strategies that result in increasing student success in postsecondary institutions and, ultimately, improving attainment of certificates and degrees. Brett has over thirty years of experience in promoting student success. Before joining ESG, Brett served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Collaboration and Completion for the Ohio Department of Higher Education. In this role, he developed strategies to help institutions improve completion rates, operate more systemically and implement approaches that lead to more adult students earning credentials. Brett also worked as an independent consultant on a wide variety of education and workforce alignment initiatives with state and national clients. Prior to consulting, Brett was Vice President, College & Career Access at KnowledgeWorks Foundation where he played a key role in developing the Ohio Early College High School Network and the Ohio College Access Network. During Brett’s early career, he had a background with youth programming and college access with programs at Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, and the Greater Washington D.C. College Information Center as well as at the National Council for Education Opportunity Associations in Washington, DC. Visger earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from George Mason University.

Experience Virtual Reality Technology

We invite participants to immerse themselves in the world of virtual reality technology and discover its immense potential for transforming the employment landscape.

Location: Massey C, Floor 3

Speaker Biographies:

Kim Ebbrecht
Senior Director of Programs, I Know I Can

Kim Ebbrecht has been with I Know I Can since 2007 currently serving as the Sr. Director of Programs.  I Know I Can is a nationally recognized college and career access program founded in 1988 that serves the students and families of Columbus City Schools, South-Western City School, Whitehall City Schools and Reynoldsburg City Schools.  Prior to coming to I Know I Can, she worked at Capital University for 18 years; serving as the Director of Admission during her last 10 years at Capital.  Kim received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Capital University and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Dayton.  Kim continues to enjoy learning about new tools that will help students create their plan for life after high school.     

Jessica Taylor
College and Career Resource Manager, I Know I Can

Jessica Taylor is the College and Career Resource Manager at I Know I Can. During her seven years of experience for I Know I Can, she has also served as an AmeriCorps Ohio College Guide and worked as a College Advising Manager in a Columbus City Schools high school. In her current role, she loves getting to be creative as she develops curriculum for Columbus City Schools 8th graders around career readiness. She is passionate about connecting students with the information they need to find careers that are good matches and get them excited for their futures. 

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