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Better Together: Think Big. Think Bold. Think Systems! 

 

Keynote Speakers

 

Ricardo Valerdi, Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and SpaceX Engineer

RicardoRicardo Valerdi is an Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona.  Previously, he was a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Visiting Associate in the Center for Systems and Software Engineering at the University of Southern California and a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Defence & Systems Institute at the University of South Australia.

Dr. Valerdi is a two-time recipient of the Best Thesis Advisor Award in the MIT Technology & Policy Program, the Best Article of the Year Awards in the Systems Engineering Journal and Defense Acquisition Journal, and Best Paper Awards at the Conference on Systems Engineering Research (2009 and 2013), International Society of Parametric Analysts (2005), and Conference on Predictive Models in Software Engineering (2011).

His research focuses on cost estimation, test & evaluation, cybersecurity, and sports analytics.  His research has been funded by the Army Test & Evaluation, Navy Acquisition Research Program, Air Force Office of the Surgeon General, Air Force Acquisition Chief Process Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, IBM Center for the Business of Government, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the California Department of Education, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He teaches courses in cost estimation, systems engineering, and the science of baseball.

He is also founder and Chief Scientist of the Science of Sport and a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, LA Galaxy, and Orlando Magic.  His work has been featured on ESPN, Fox Sports Arizona, and in The LA Times.  In collaboration with faculty in the UA College of Medicine he developed the first-ever concussion simulator for football for the NCAA [video].

*Additional keynote speaker information will be coming soon. 


Workshop Facilitators

Tracy Benson, President, Waters Foundation

Tracy-web1As a leader, author and innovator in the fields of systems thinking and organizational learning, Tracy Benson, Ed.D. brings extensive practitioner experience to her organization’s education and corporate work. As an educator, she has taught at elementary and secondary levels and has been a school principal and district level instructional coach and evaluator.  In addition to K-12 experience, Tracy has served as an adjunct professor in both undergraduate and graduate university programs for teachers and administrators.  She has been a contributing author to several books and most recently is co-author of The Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.

Tracy leads a national team of exceptional educators who skillfully make systems thinking concepts and tools accessible to real-world, practical applications.  From the classroom to the boardroom, her capacity building and coaching sessions engage, motivate and inspire people wanting to make positive differences in their thinking, learning and leading.

 

DaNel Hogan, Director of The STEMAZing Project, Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, AZ

DaNelDaNel Hogan is the Director of The STEMAZing Project for the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, Arizona. Before returning to Tucson, DaNel served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC. While in DC, DaNel was involved in national level STEM issues and particularly focused on K-Gray Energy Literacy. Prior to her Einstein Fellowship, DaNel Hogan was a physics teacher for nine years.

In her current role of teaching teachers how to best engage PreK-8th grade students using STEM content, DaNel is constantly seeking out #STEMontheCheap hacks and solutions. These hacks involve turning a cell phone into a low powered microscope for seven cents and building a hologram-like projector from supplies you would normally recycle and some transparent tape.

 

Amber Jones, Early Education Consultant, Waters Foundation

amberjonesAmber Jones has a decade and a half of experience working in education and more than seven years working on integrating systems thinking into early childhood settings.  She began her professional career as an early childhood classroom teacher and has expertise in infant and toddler development, early childhood quality improvement, non-profit management, organizational development, facilitation, and coaching. In 2015, she served as the lead content developer for systems thinking in early childhood with WestEd’s PD2GO Professional Development Project, published by First Five California.  She has served on the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, and has been a Regional Partnership Council member with First Things First since 2009.  Her dynamic facilitation skills and passion around using systems thinking to improve decision-making have led her to become a well-known local expert and national speaker.

 

Naomi Karp, Director of Early Childhood Professional Development, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

Bio Coming soonIMG_0077

 

 

 

 

 

Sheri Marlin, Chief Learning Officer, Waters Foundation

updated sheriSheri Marlin, M.Ed. writes, speaks and collaborates with others to apply systems thinking in real-world contexts. She has taught preschool through graduate school and has worked as a building principal and district curriculum specialist. Sheri finds tremendous satisfaction in facilitating teams of people as they develop shared vision and achieve desired results. By providing resources and sparking curiosity, Sheri keeps learning at the center of everything she does. She believes that when people understand and apply the tools and habits of systems thinking, they are more likely to engage in meaningful, life-long learning and innovation. Sheri is co-author of The Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.

 

Mary Quinnan, Executive Director, Leadership & School Improvement, Waters Foundation

maryquinnan1Mary Quinnan, M.Ed. builds on her experience as former Director of Elementary/K-8 Leadership for Tucson Unified School District to facilitate and coach district and school leaders, including teachers, in the tools and strategies of systems thinking and deeper learning.  Mary has an extensive administrative background working with schools in improvement in high minority, high poverty communities to ensure equity and access to quality, research-based best practices.  She believes that building professional capacity in the application of systems thinking with educational leaders, and addressing the cultural impact of our work, allows the education system to foster an engaging, effective, student-centered learning environment for every child.

 

Ricardo Valerdi, Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and SpaceX EngineerRicardo

Ricardo Valerdi is an Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona.  Previously he was a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Visiting Associate in the Center for Systems and Software Engineering at the University of Southern California and a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  Previously he was a Visiting Fellow at the Defence & Systems Institute at the University of South Australia.

Dr. Valerdi is a two-time recipient of the Best Thesis Advisor Award in the MIT Technology & Policy Program, the Best Article of the Year Awards in the Systems Engineering Journal and Defense Acquisition Journal, and Best Paper Awards at the Conference on Systems Engineering Research (2009 and 2013), International Society of Parametric Analysts (2005), and Conference on Predictive Models in Software Engineering (2011).

 

Joan Yates, Vice President, Waters Foundation

YatesJoan Yates spent the first 15 years of her educational career teaching middle level English and mathematics and serving as a middle school administrator. Since then, Joan has been devoted to bringing the concepts and strategies of systems thinking to young people by building the capacity of the adults who work with them. For 17 years, she did that by serving as Director of the Systems Thinking Project in Tucson, Arizona’s Catalina Foothills School District. Now she facilitates professional development and follow-up coaching sessions nationally and internationally, believing that systems thinking provides powerful habits and visual tools that can enhance everyone’s critical thinking and questioning skills. Joan also derives great pleasure from working closely with many of the Waters Foundation Associates, assisting them throughout their certification process and continuing as a resource to them once they become facilitators.