2020 OSEP Summit - Attracting Panel Biographies

Attract, Prepare, Retain: OSEP National Summit Image


2020 OSEP Summit - Attracting Panel Biographies

Event Host and Moderator

Laurie VanderPloeg – Director, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

Laurie VanderPloeg is the director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), at the U.S. Department of Education. VanderPloeg ensures the effective implementation of OSEP's legislative mission, advises the assistant secretary on Federal education policy related to individuals with disabilities, and provides leadership in addressing issues of American education for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through OSEP activities and within the context of the policies of OSERS, the Department, and Congress.

Prior to joining the department, VanderPloeg served as director of special education at Kent Intermediate School District (Kent ISD) in Michigan. Also at Kent ISD, she served as assistant director for monitoring, compliance, and parent support. Prior to Kent ISD, she served as a local supervisor of special education, and as a special education teacher in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. VanderPloeg also served as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in the special education administration program. She is a parent of an adult with disabilities.

VanderPloeg graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s degree in special education administration and earned a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State College. She holds administrative approvals as both supervisor and director of special education, and has certification in learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and K–8 regular education.

Panel on Attracting

Anne McBride – Deputy Director, Torribera Mediterranean Center

Anne E. McBride, Ph.D., is the deputy director of the Torribera Mediterranean Center, a joint project of the University of Barcelona and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). For the CIA, she is also the culinary program director of the Strategic Initiatives Group, curating industry-shaping conferences such as the Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival and the Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit. She received her doctorate degree in food studies from New York University, where she regularly teaches; her research focuses on the changing role of the chef in the 21st century. She has co-authored seven books and regularly writes on topics related to professional and experimental cooking for both academic and consumer audiences. Her writing includes past contributions to Plate, New Worlder, Bake from Scratch, Roads & Kingdoms, Food Arts, Gastronomica, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, Savoring Gotham, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and Food Cultures of the World. A native of Switzerland, McBride is the chair of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, a member of the Menus of Change Scientific and Technical Advisory Council, and a past board member of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, and Culinary Trust. McBride was inducted into the Heritage Radio Network Hall of Fame in 2019. She is a frequent presenter and moderator at academic and professional conferences around the world.


Dan Brown – Director of National Engagement, EdTech Evidence Exchange

Dan Brown is the Director of National Engagement for the EdTech Evidence Exchange. Previously, he led Educators Rising, a national organization that supports community-based efforts to build “Grow Your Own” teacher workforce pipelines. He served as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow in the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, and taught for 8 years in New York City and Washington, D.C., earning National Board Certification and mentoring student teachers from George Washington University. Dan has also served as an education consultant, with clients including the Council of Chief State School Officers, American Institutes for Research, and the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board.

Dan is the author of the memoir The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle, and co-author of Start Here to Become a Teacher, a guidebook for aspiring educators. His writing has appeared in Educational Leadership, Education Week, and CNN.com, among other publications. Mashable has named him one of “10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter.”

Dan holds degrees from Columbia University and New York University. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, two children, and quarantine puppy.


Dana Edwards – Director, Certification and Staffing, Office of Human Resources and Development at Montgomery County Public Schools (MD)

Dana E. Edwards is a director in the Office of Human Resources and Development for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Montgomery County, Maryland where she Hires for Excellence. Mrs. Edwards is a Baltimorean and graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in English Communications. Shortly after leaving Lincoln, Mrs. Edwards was drawn to teaching and obtained her teaching certificate from Notre Dame of Maryland University and also pursued a Master of Arts in English Literature from Morgan State University and studied at Johns Hopkins University to obtain a graduate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on Administration and Supervision.

Mrs. Edwards’ career has been focused on education and providing opportunities for students to have access and opportunity to rigorous programs. Mrs. Edwards started in the education profession as a recruiter for the Baltimore International Culinary College (currently Stratford University). Mrs. Edwards love of education led her to teach language arts in Baltimore City Public Schools. In MCPS, Mrs. Edwards has served the students and families in several roles, as a staff development teacher and assistant principal. Mrs. Edwards most rewarding roles in education were as the principal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Germantown, Maryland and her current role in the Office of Human Resources and Development. 

In MCPS, there are over 164,000 students, and it is the largest school system in the state of Maryland and one of the fifteenth largest school systems in the United States. In Mrs. Edward’s current role, she focuses on the attraction, recruitment, and hiring of teachers, supporting services professionals, and substitute teachers. Since taking this role in 2016, she has hired 5,284 educators into the teaching profession.

Throughout Mrs. Edward’s career, she has focused on creating opportunities for students to have quality instruction from employees who are dedicated to building relationships with students and recognizing diversity as an asset to create equitable opportunities for each student’s future. She is proud to serve the students and families of MCPS in this capacity.


Roy Jones – Director, Call Me MISTER Program, Clemson University

Roy Jones, Ed.D., is a lifelong educator who has served in South Carolina institutions for nearly 40 years. Dr. Jones is Executive Director of the Call Me MISTER program and Provost Distinguished Professor in Clemson’s College of Education. Call Me MISTER works to increase the number of teachers from diverse backgrounds, particularly among the nation’s lowest performing schools. The program is the most recognized collaborative in the nation for recruiting, retaining, and developing fully certified, career-minded African American male elementary and middle grade teachers. Dr. Jones previously served as Division Chair at Claflin University and was instrumental in it becoming the first historically black, private institution in the State to be accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Dr. Jones also served as director of employment for the Charleston County School District.


Lisa Dieker – Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar, University of Central Florida

Dr. Lisa Dieker is a Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar in the College of Community Innovation and Education at University of Central Florida (UCF). She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois, and her master’s and undergraduate degrees from Eastern Illinois University. She serves as the director of the UCF/Lockheed Martin Mathematics and Science Academy, program coordinator for the Ph.D. program in special education, and co-director of the UCF Center for Research in Education Simulation Technology (CREST). Her research focuses on harnessing the power of teachers working across disciplines in inclusive settings in teacher education, special education, and simulation. She has led and managed more than $20 million in grant funding and has currently funded doctoral leadership grants to work across teacher preparation, learning sciences, and STEM. She has over 16 years of experience leading the teacher education field in creating and assessing teacher performance in simulated environments, and she has created an emerging pathway to understanding the neurophysiological state of expert teacher mind and body. She has provided over 150 keynotes, and has produced five books and over 65 articles and chapters. She holds one patent in simulation and has a second patent pending. She currently serves on numerous editorial review boards and is the past associate editor and editor of three journals. She has been awarded the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Children’s Advocacy Network Advocate of the Year Award, the CEC Teacher Education Division (TED) Outstanding Service Award and Outstanding Journal Article Award, the UCF Graduate Student Mentor of the Year Award, and the University of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards.

To learn more about the other panelists for the 2020 OSEP Summit please check out:

2020 OSEP Summit - Preparing Panel Biographies

2020 OSEP Summit - Retaining Panel Biographies