Project Directors

Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Darren Milligan
Senior Media Designer/Webmaster
Darren Milligan leads strategy for digital outreach at the Center for Education and Museum Studies at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. There he researches and develops programs for making museum assets accessible and useful to educators and students, including producing digital learning resources such as online games and interactives, managing social media initiatives, and directing websites, including the online platform for educators at the Institution, His current research focuses on the development of a digital toolset to enable the creation, by teachers anywhere, of personalized digital learning resources. Darren is also producer and art director of the teacher magazine, Smithsonian in Your Classroom, distributed to every primary and secondary school in the United States. In 2010, Darren, in collaboration with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s Science for Monks program, designed and art directed the exhibition The World of Your Senses, a project of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, the Exploratorium, and the Smithsonian. Darren is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and serves on numerous Smithsonian committees focused on education and digital outreach strategies. Prior to the Smithsonian, he developed digital citizen-science programs and online mentoring communities at the nonprofit Purple Martin Conservation Association. Darren is also a documentary photographer and his work has appeared in publications and websites produced by Leica, Phaidon, Modern Art Notes, ReadWriteWeb, Wired, CNET, Boing Boing, Khan Academy, Yahoo, Spiegel, and Discover.

Michelle Smith
Director of Digital Media and Publications

Navigation North Learning Solutions, LLC
Joseph Hobson
Joseph Hobson, technical director, has worked with a variety of Internet technologies since the first web browsers were introduced to the public in the mid-nineties. This journey has taken him though the transition from simple web design to content publishing, rich-internet applications, online video, immersive experiences, and the ubiquitous mobile Internet we have come to take for granted. His first challenge with building web applications was while working for York Publishing, designing the web presence for Videomaker Magazine. Not only did he devise a streamlined method for moving their content from the desktop publishing realm to their homepage, but he also connected their phone-based fulfillment center to a real-time online catalog, created a personalized environment on their site just for magazine subscribers, and fostered an online community to keep customers happy.

After moving on to the Butte County Office of Education, Hobson immersed himself in the needs of teachers, managing the transition from a WebCT-based professional development system to a custom set of tools that allowed for greater interaction between users. Eventually those tools were expanded to an entire learning management system, CoursePath, with lesson planning and content management tools built specifically for educators. Over 80,000 educators have accounts in CoursePath, with custom installations addressing the needs of specific populations, including after school programs, migrant education instructors, pre-school data collection, and technology proficiency professional development courses.

With an eye towards creating a newer, more robust system from the ground-up, Joseph left the county office and started his own business, Navigation North Learning Solutions. Through this venture he has continued to support the work of BCOE’s CADRE unit, while also developing solutions for a variety of other clients, including a portal for assisting with regional investments in California, and tools for the Minnesota State College & Universities to assess the writing proficiency of incoming students. Working with a small group of highly skilled programmers, designers, writers, and educators, Hobson created the Cognoti Learning Management System based on an open framework of modules customized for exact user needs. Over the last five years Hobson has managed the development and deployment of Cognoti systems for the California Department of Education’s Brokers of Expertise and Career and Technical Education portals, as well as others. Most recently he has been working with SRI International on functional prototypes exchanging educational resource metadata and paradata using the US Department of Education’s Learning Registry system.

Brian Ausland
Director of Educational Research and Strategic Initiatives
Brian Ausland, is the lead technical consultant on the project. Mr. Ausland most recently served as administrator of the California Center for the Advancement of Digital Resources in Education (CADRE) and worked to lead the technical development and implementation of a number of statewide online education communities, curriculum development projects, and portals over the last 12 years. With lead roles in the Brokers of Expertise project, central participation on the national Learning Registry project, and eLearning consultation overseas through the U.S. State Department, he now directs the strategic planning and initiatives of the Navigation North Learning Solutions development group on national projects and programs. Brian started his career in education as a secondary classroom teacher, department chair, and district director of student academic achievement before working as an educational technology professional development coordinator and online curriculum specialist in California.

Cross & Joftus, LLC
Christopher Cross
Christopher T. Cross is chairman of the education policy consulting firm Cross & Joftus, where he contributes his considerable strategic planning, policy analysis, and development skills. Cross also serves as a consultant to the Broad Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Previously, he was a senior fellow with the Center for Education Policy and a distinguished senior fellow with the Education Commission of the States. From 1994 to 2002, Cross was president and chief executive officer of the Council for Basic Education (CBE). Before joining CBE, he served as director of the education initiative of The Business Roundtable and as assistant secretary for educational research and improvement in the U.S. Department of Education.

He chaired the National Assessment of Title I Independent Review Panel on Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Education from 1995 to 2001 and the National Research Council Panel on Minority Representation in Special Education from 1997 to 2002. Currently, Cross chairs the National Research Council Panel on Early Childhood Mathematics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Whittier College. He also serves on the board of The New Teacher Project and the board of EdSource. In March 2002, Cross guided the negotiated rulemaking process on Title I for the U.S. Department of Education.

In 2001, he completed a six-year term on the Board of International Comparative Studies in Education for the National Research Council. In addition, he chaired the National Council for Education and Humanities Development of The George Washington University from its inception in 2000 through 2002. Cross served as president of the Maryland State Board of Education from 1994 to 1997. He also was a member of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning.

Virginia (Ginger) Adams Simon, Ed.D.
Senior Associate
Virginia (Ginger) Adams Simon, Ed.D., project director, has worked at education policy centers at two universities (University of Pennsylvania and UC Davis), conducted educational research, developed policy, managed implementation efforts and led numerous large projects involving educators and education stakeholders. She has extensive project management experience having managed the “Brokers of Expertise (BOE) project for the California Department of Education from 2007 to 2010. BOE is a web portal for California teachers, providing free, open, standards-based materials and resources as well as professional networking. See She is most recently served as lead writer and quality control manager of a $3.5 million contract with LAUSD and the California Charter Schools Association. Prior to her career in policy and non-profit educational centers, Simon spent 15 years working in K-12 schools as a teacher and administrator. Simon holds a masters and doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Project Team

Smithsonian Center for Education Museum Studies
Pino Monaco
Director of Program Evaluation and Audience Research

Melissa Wadman
Manager of Program Evaluation
Melissa Wadman is the Manager of Program Evaluation at the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies and is overseeing the evaluation of the project as it relates to the Smithsonian Youth Access grant. Over the past 12 years she has gained extensive experience in informal learning evaluation working with a variety of museums including children’s museums, science centers, art museums and history museums. Melissa has worked both as an external consultant in research and evaluation as well as an in-house evaluator (most recently as Director of Impact Evaluation at Liberty Science Center). She has a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Museum Studies.

Navigation North Learning Solutions, LLC
Daniel Kreiger
Daniel Krieger has worked on nearly every system Navigation North has deployed over the last five years. With a unique combination of skills in both system architecture and user interface controls, Krieger has incorporated his understanding of the causal relationship between successful user interactions and back-end server logic to create multi-tiered applications that are both efficient and useful.

Krieger’s numerous years of programming experience has helped him develop creative problem solving skills to tackle the increasingly complex problems developing in the digital era. Krieger attended the University of Chico, California earning a degree in Computer Science. His research interest while attending was in complex data visualization, which has extended to web interface designs. He is proficient in a wide variety of programming languages, utilizes many common web service APIs, and has commercial mobile applications deployed on both iOS and Android platforms.

MaryRose Lovgren
Education Consultant
MaryRose Lovgren, user-interaction and remote testing specialist is an independent external curriculum design and development specialist working with educational organizations throughout California. Additionally, she is a contracted specialist as an academic standards alignment coach and trainer for CTE-related programs specializing in the areas of English-Language Arts and Science and online instructional resource development for the California Department of Education’s Secondary Education Division.

Former education experience includes instructing and designing courses as a high school educator in college-prep biology, college-prep chemistry and general physical science courses, incorporating the science components of the California State Science Framework and the California State Science Standards while applying a constructivist and inquiry-based methodology. During this time, MaryRose also worked as a technology-integration trainer for a 9 county consortium providing both summer institutes, workshops, evening seminars and online courses in the use of effective instructional technology tools to promote enhanced student exploration and teacher resource development.

Much of her recent educational work focuses on the field of academic standards alignment, and she has "designed and aligned" lessons for everything from after-school programs to career and technical online education supporting over 2,500 teachers over the last 3 years in fully-enabled, collaborative online learning communities.

MaryRose currently is coordinating the 2011-2012 CTE Online Institutes, a series of workshops designed to create CTE courses, units and educator-designed lesson plans in various secondary pathways. She works hands-on with educators, both face-to-face and remotely via online environments and has specific adaptability in generating teacher feedback and fostering dialogue on given digital curriculum sets and modification processes for classroom implementation.

Cross & Joftus, LLC
John Ittelson
Professor Emeritus, California State University, Monterey Bay
John C. Ittelson Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Information Technology and Communication Design. One of the founding faculty at CSUMB, his areas of expertise include distance and on line learning, multimedia development and ePortfolio issues. Dr. Ittelson received a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television-Film, a Master's Degree in Instructional Television, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Instructional Design from Northwestern University.
John has taught in the CSU System for over 33 years, first at CSU Chico and then as a founding faculty member at CSUMB. Additionally, he sits on the Boards of: Access Monterey Peninsula Cable Consortium (AMP), the California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (CASCD, Pacific Metrics and the National Board of the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CLIC). John has been appointed as an Apple Distinguished Educator, an Adobe Educational Leader and serves as the co-facilitator of a Community of Practice: EPAC - Electronic Portfolio Action and Communication, a national group focused on using ePortfolios. He is also the co-chair of the Academic ePortfolio Workgroup for Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC).
Recent publications include: “Documenting Learning with ePortfolios, coauthored with Helen Chen and Tracy Penny Light and published by Jossey-Bass in 2012, “Facing the World: Telepresence in Education” with Daniel Theobald for CISCO Systems, Fall 2012, and “Know Your ePortfolio.” published in Converge Magazine, summer 2008.

Clark Quinn
Executive Director, Quinnovation
Clark Quinn, Ph.D. integrates creativity, cognitive science, and technology to develop learning & performance strategies for business, education, and government organizations. He has led the design of award-winning online content, educational computer games, and websites, as well as adaptive, mobile, and performance support systems. After an academic career, Dr. Quinn has served as an executive in online and elearning initiatives and has an international reputation as a speaker and scholar, with three books and numerous articles and chapters. He works on behalf of clients through Quinnovation.

Dilan Maherdran
Post-Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Berkeley
Dilan Mahendran completed (December 2011) his PhD. at the School of Information, University of California, Berkeley where he also earned a Masters in Information Mgmt. & Systems with a focus on human-computer interaction. His dissertation focused on the shared philosophical foundations of computer science and the human sciences. As a part of his doctoral work Dilan conducted a 3 year ethnographic study of youth digital music production in the San Francisco Bay area for the "Digital Youth Project" ( funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition, Dilan has over 10 years experience in software research and development, focusing on human-computer interaction, human-centered computing, usability, and ethnographic research of technology for firms such as Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. Prior to his graduate work, Dilan was the manager of FleetBoston Consumer Research Laboratory where he conducted and supervised usability and market research for online banking products and financial services web properties.

Virginia McMunn
Virginia McMunn has served the last 5 years as a middle school social studies teacher at a progressive charter school in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. As social studies department chair, she has led efforts to redesign the social studies curriculum across two school sites and to develop an organization wide vision for social studies education. In her own classroom, Virginia has been at the forefront of innovative, 21st century education. She has developed numerous projects to integrate language arts, social studies, and technology, such as a History Fair curriculum and an African Folktale project created in Adobe Flash. Virginia’s students use industry standard technologies, as well as a variety of online databases and virtual learning experiences, in order to immerse themselves in historical inquiry.
Griffith Montgomery
Education Specialist
Griffith Montgomery has supported disadvantaged students and students with disabilities as an Educational Specialist for Aspire East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy for the last four years. He has an M.A. in Special Education. His focus has been helping students to close the achievement gaps in the areas of Literacy and Math within the California A-G framework. He served as site lead in professional development on grading students with disabilities and has worked closely with general education teachers to ensure that they have the skill sets to implement Individual Education Plans (IEP)s in their classrooms when a specialist is not present.

Jillian Ryan
Jillian Ryan has taught in the San Diego Unified School District for the past three years as a high school and middle school teacher. She has also designed and taught classes for the district’s Educational Technology Department. She contributed to the district designed technology standards, and presented these to the school board. Now in her fourth year of teaching, she is an 8th grade English and U.S. History teacher after earning her Social Studies credential in the summer of 2011.