2023 JASON National Conference

Pathways of Tomorrow:

From Classroom to Career

July 6 & 7, 2023

Lansdowne Resort & Spa
Leesburg, VA

Pathways of Tomorrow: From Classroom to Career is for K-12 superintendents, educators, administrators, stakeholders, and their teams to come together and discuss best practices and strategies for helping students explore and plan for their future through STEM learning. 

Pathways are the journeys students take to a future career. This conference highlights a multitude of pathways between school and the world of work, including college/university, entrepreneurship, career and technical education (CTE), community college, apprenticeships, internships, military service, and more. Because career pathways are based on a variety of factors, including the type of work available in local economies and the skills employers need, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

This year’s event will feature keynote presentations by industry experts, networking opportunities with school districts across the country, interactive breakout sessions to learn about JASON’s CTE curriculum, and time set aside for you to brainstorm ideas on how you can increase career-connected STEM learning and give back to your community. 

Breakout sessions and keynotes will feature a variety of topics, including:

  • Community Engagement in STEM

  • Industry Experts in STEM Curricula

  • Newly Developed JASON Curricula

    • Doddridge County (WV): STEM Ready and Artificial Intelligence

    • NCSU Design and Pitch Challenges

    • Early Childhood STEM: Sense-Sational STEM

    • GO Virginia Region 6: Pathways to Success

  • STEM District Certification and Award Ceremony

  • Connecting K-12 to Careers

  • Working with the Gifted & Talented

  • Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs

Creating a career-connected learning environment can help students gain confidence in their ability to make informed decisions about their futures. Join us on July 6-7 in Leesburg, VA at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa for this innovative event. 


Thursday, July


7:00 – 8:30 AM: Breakfast

8:30 – 8:50 AM: Check-in

8:50 – 9:15 AM: Welcome Address: Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President & CEO of JASON Learning

9:15 – 10:00 AM: Keynote Presentation: “Understanding Your Why” Vernon Green, Jr., Founder & CEO of GCubed, Inc. 

10:00 – 10:45 AM: Panel Discussion: “Leading the Way” – Insights from Superintendents on Educational Leadership

10:45 – 11:00 AM: Break 

11:00 – 11:45 AM: Breakout Sessions

─ “Design for Recycling®: ISRI Recycling Contest”

─ “Unlocking Potential: Strategies for Differentiation”

─ “STEM in Action: Community Engagement in STEM”

─ “Empowering Future Innovators with STEM Minds”

12:00 – 1:00 PM: Lunch

1:00 – 1:15 PM: Award Presentations

1:15 – 2:00 PM: Keynote Presentation: “An Atypical Journey to Purpose, Impact, and More in the Recycling Industry” Brandi Harleaux, CEO of South Post Oak Recycling Center

2:15 – 3:00 PM: Panel Discussion: “Building Bridges: Connecting K-12 Education to Careers” – Insights from Industry Experts

3:15 – 4:00 PM: Breakout Sessions

─ “The ‘M’ in STEM: Engaging Students in Math”

─ “STEM Ready: Preparing Students for the Energy Industry”

─ “AI 101 with Rank One”

─ “STEM Ready: Preparing Students for the Energy Industry”

─ “Maximize Your Impact: Grant Writing with JASON”

4:00 – 4:15 PM: Break 

4:15 – 5:00 PM: Keynote Discussion: “The Benefits of Science” Lorie Karnath, President & Co-Founder of Next Breath

5:00 – 6:00 PM: Free Time

6:00 – 7:00 PM: Evening Reception

Friday, July


7:00 – 8:30 AM: Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 AM: Check-in

8:45 – 9:30 AM: Keynote Presentation: You Belong in STEM: Education Department Efforts to Support STEM for All” Bernadine Futrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education 

9:45 – 10:30 AM: Panel Discussion: “Transformation in STEM” – Insights from Superintendents on K-12 STEM Education

10:30 – 10:45 AM: Break 

10:45 – 11:30 AM: Breakout Sessions

─ “Preparing the Next Generation: IT in K-12”

─ “From the Ground Up: Early Childhood STEM Education”

─ “Learning by Doing: The Power of Project-Based Learning”

─ “Raising the Bar: AASA STEM Certification”

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Lunch

12:30 – 1:00 PM: Award Presentations & Announcements

1:00 – 1:45 PM: Keynote Presentation: “Building Dreams: Empowering the Next Generation” Hamza Wardere, Co-Founder of Everyday Investors

1:45 – 2:00 PM: Break

2:00 – 2:45 PM: Keynote Presentation: “A Path to A Future in Technology” B. Scott Swann, CEO of Rank One Computing

2:45 – 3:30 PM: Breakout Sessions

─ “Exploring the Future: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education”

─ “JASON Argonauts: STEM Exploration & Adventure”

─ “Real-World Math: Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs”

─ “Lessons Learned: STEM Certification”

3:30 – 3:45 PM: Break 

3:45 – 4:30 PM: Panel Discussion: “Exploring the Possibilities: Implementation of JASON”

4:30 PM: Closing Remarks, Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President & CEO, JASON Learning 

Keynote Speakers

Founder & CEO, GCubed, Inc.

Vernon Green, Jr.

Vernon Green Jr. is a retired Chief Warrant Officer and honorable veteran having served over 20 years in the U.S. Army. Green established GCubed Enterprises, Inc. in 2014, providing I.T. and cybersecurity services for businesses and organizations. Green also founded G3 Community Services, a non-profit organization, dedicated to strengthening communities and supporting the family unit through coaching, mentorship, and education.

Green holds a master’s degree in Cyber-Security, a B.S. in Computer Information Technology, and several industry-recognized cybersecurity certifications. He sits on several Boards Committees to include the Stafford Education Foundation and the Virginia Black Business Directory.

Green is a mentor in his community, a leader in Stafford, VA and believes that together, we can do more.

CEO, South Post Oak Recycling Center

Brandi Harleaux

Brandi Harleaux is an award-winning entrepreneur, business owner, notable keynote speaker, mentor, recycling champion and world changer who has been featured in several publications.

She is the CEO and second-generation owner of South Post Oak Recycling Center (SPORC); —Houston’s trusted metal recycling company. Brandi is passionate about using her transformative leadership skills to make a difference in the recycling industry by actively engaging in advocacy, and championing women and young executives in the industry.

Brandi is the distinguished recipient of the inaugural 2020 ISRI Young Executive of the Year Award, is an ISRI Director at large, and the incoming Secretary for the ISRI Gulf Coast Region Executive Committee. She lives in Houston Texas with her husband and enjoys traveling, hiking, self-care activities, and spending time with family and friends.

Founder & President of Next Breath

Dr. Lorie Karnath

Dr. Lorie Karnath, MBA, PhD(hon) is the founder and current president of Next Breath, a charity dedicated to improving how and what we breathe. She has an extensive background in the not-for-profit, educational, and finance sectors, drawing on this Lorie has created and chaired numerous global symposia, with the aim of providing access to knowledge of cutting-edge thoughts to all those interested, especially young people.

She is a founder and managing editor of Molecular Frontiers Journal, a globally recognized, open-access scientific publication produced and distributed by World Scientific. The publication also encourages young people and publishes issues dedicated to emerging scientists. Lorie is also a founding member of the Molecular Frontiers Foundation, hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She serves on numerous international education and science boards and was the president of the renowned Explorers Club. Lorie has authored numerous books and articles on science and exploration.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Equity and Discretionary Grants and Support Services at the US Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Bernadine Futrell

Dr. Futrell leads and provides executive oversight for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education's equity development and placements, as well as the discretionary grant policy and programs.

Dr. Futrell was most recently the Director for the Office of Head Start, in the Administration for Children and Families, at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Futrell actually began her career as an Assistant Head Start Teacher in Richmond, Virginia. She later became the Senior Director for Effective Practice at the National Head Start Association (NHSA), and also led the superintendent certification programs at the American Association of School Administrators before her time at NHSA.

Dr. Futrell is an author, serves on university advisory committees, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain), and Harvard University.

Co-Founder, Everyday Investors

Hamza Wardere

Hamza Wardere came to the United States 22 years ago from Somalia, East Africa. He moved to PG County / Landover and has been in the D.C. - Maryland - Virginia (DMV) metropolitan area since.

Hamza began learning about real estate in 2010 through a mentor he found on Craigslist while cold calling sellers. He then started wholesaling properties in the DMV area and saved enough money to invest in and flip his first project four years later.

CEO, Rank One Computing

B. Scott Swann

Scott Swann is a dynamic leader and proven CEO with 20+ years combined federal, corporate and entrepreneurial experience. He draws from prior experience as President and CEO of IDEMIA National Security Solutions and senior business and technical positions at MorphoTrak following a distinguished 18 year tenure at the FBI. Scott has extensive experience working across all government domains including the DOJ, DHS, DoD, DOS, the Intelligence Community, and many state and local law enforcement and civil agencies. As an FBI Unit Chief, he played a central role in the development of the $1.2B Next Generation Identification system responsible for research, development, test and evaluation of the program’s biometrics technologies and services. Scott served as Special Assistant to the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch as well as the Identity Intelligence Lead to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Science and Technology Office. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business management from Salem-Teikyo University and a Master’s Degree in software engineering from West Virginia University.

Featured Presenters

Dr. Ernie Adkins

Assistant Superintendent, Mercer County Schools, WV

Dr. Kristen Antoine-Morse

Science Curriculum Supervisor, East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools

Lori Bedsole

Education Specialist, Fairfax County Schools

Anu Bidani


Michael Bolling

Director of Academic Programs, Stafford County Public Schools

Margaret Borden

Graduate Assistant in Math & Statistics Education, NCSU

Dr. Adam Cheeseman

Superintendent, Doddridge County Schools

Cheryl Coleman

Senior Vice President, ISRI

Justin Denius

Superintendent, Noble Local Schools

Dr. David Eshelman

Director of Career & Technical Education, Stafford County Public Schools

Dr. Kim Given

Strategic Plan & Innovation Coordinator, Indian Hill Exempted Village School District

W. Deea Green

Coordinator of Career & Technical Education, Stafford County Public Schools

Ken Heiney

Director of Student Achievement, Doddridge County

Susan Jones

Board Secretary, JASON Executive Committee

Dr. Lou Kramer

Superintendent, London City Schools

Dr. Erin Krupa

Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, North Carolina State University

Dan Leffingwell

Director of Innovation, Legislative Services, and Operations, ECOESC

Nancy Novak

Chief Innovation Officer, Compass Datacenters

Dr. Devese Peace-Branch

Science Department Chair, Portsmouth Public Schools

Courtney Popp

EDU Program Manager, Infrastructure Masons

Dr. Mort Sherman

Senior Associate Executive Director, The Leadership Network, AASA

Dr. Thomas Taylor

Superintendent, Stafford County Public Schools

Dr. Megan Tempel-Milner

Director of Advanced Academic Services (K-12), Alexandria City Schools, VA

Dr. Juliana Texley

Early Childhood Expert

Edward Toman

Superintendent, Mercer County Public Schools

Sandy Vincent

Science Teacher, Warren Local Schools, OH

Robin Wiener

President, ISRI

Logan Williams

Gifted Education Teacher, Fairfax County Schools

Xandra Williams-Earlie

Program Director of High School Science, Aldine ISD