Advisory Council

CS4All benefits from the guidance of its Advisory Council, which provides general advice and oversight to help inform and amplify the work of the initiative.




Mary Barton, Superintendent, Community School District 27, NYCDOE

Mary Barton has vigorously promoted the concept of academic equity in a nurturing environment and access to progressive, high-quality philosophies and methods of teaching and learning, including the use of 21st century tools and resources, across her district’s schools. She has encouraged her schools to participate in any number of the New York City Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives, including Computer Science for All. Prior to her current position, she served as a Senior Achievement and Technology Integration Facilitator, assigned to Children First Network 204, where she conducted Quality Reviews for schools across all five boroughs. Additionally, she worked with a network of 31 schools providing professional development and support around the continued implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and all aspects of Advance. She also served as a member of the team that facilitated CFI Content Seminars in Literacy. Ms. Barton served as a middle school teacher of English Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies and as an assistant principal in Community School District 22 in Brooklyn. Ms. Barton is the recipient of a B.A. in History from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University), an M.S. in Education: Humanities, and an Advanced Certificate in Administration and Supervision, both from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She was a 2007 Cahn Fellow in the Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Principals at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Karen Brennan, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Karen Brennan’s research is primarily concerned with the ways in which learning environments (in and out of school, online, and face-to-face) can be designed to support young people’s development as computational creators. Many of Brennan’s research and teaching activities focus on constructionist approaches to designing learning environments—encouraging learning through designing, personalizing, connecting, and reflecting, and maximizing learner agency. Some current projects include: Cultures of Computing, an examination of how K-12 teachers design learning environments to support novice programmers, focusing on teachers’ design intentions and how those intentions are enacted; ScratchEd, a model of professional learning for educators who support computational literacy with the Scratch programming language, involving the development of a 25,000-member online community, a network of in-person events, and curricular materials; and Cultivating Computational Thinking, an investigation of the concepts, practices, and perspectives that young people develop through computational design activities. Before joining HGSE, Brennan completed her Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab, where she was a member of the team that develops the Scratch programming language and online community.

Anil Dash, CEO, Fog Creek Software

Anil Dash is an entrepreneur, activist, and writer recognized as one of the most prominent voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive, and ethical technology industry. He is the CEO of Fog Creek Software, the independent New York City tech company that incubated startups like Trello and Stack Overflow. Dash was an advisor to the Obama White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, and today advises major startups and nonprofits including Medium and DonorsChoose. He also serves as a board member for companies like Stack Overflow, and nonprofits like the Data & Society Research Institute, the NY Tech Alliance, and the Lower East Side Girls Club. Prior to joining Fog Creek, Dash cofounded Makerbase, an online community for people who make apps and websites, and Activate, the boutique management consultancy which defines strategies for many of the most important companies in media and technology. Earlier in his career, Dash founded the nonprofit Expert Labs and helped start Six Apart.

Jeff Forbes, Associate Professor of the Practice, Duke University

Jeff Forbes received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His research interests include computer science education, social information processing, and learning analytics. He is involved with a number of leading efforts to improve and broaden access to computer science education. From 2011 to 2014, he served as a Program Director for the Education & Workforce program in the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering, managing programs that address the critical and complex issues of education and broadening participation in computing. Beginning in May 2016, Dr. Forbes is serving as an Expert helping to support the agency’s efforts in computing education. Jeff currently serves as the Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Education Policy Committee (EPC). The EPC works to ensure that high-quality computer science education is identified as a critical component of education policy. In addition, he serves on a number of other committees including the Board of Advisors for the Center for Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Computing and the CSforAll Consortium Steering Committee.

Maya Israel, Associate Professor, of Special Education, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

Maya Israel, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. She is also the research director at the Creative Technology Research Lab (CTRL). Her research focus includes strategies for supporting students with disabilities and other struggling learners’ meaningful engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with emphases on computational thinking and computer science. Dr. Israel is currently PI on an NSF STEM+C grant that examines instructional strategies that support students with disabilities and other struggling learners in successfully accessing computing instruction. She is also PI on an NSF STEM+C grant to create learning trajectories that align computational thinking with elementary math instruction. Dr. Israel and her team have published in top-ranking journals such as Computer Science Education, Exceptional Children, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Computers & Education.

Yasmin Kafai, Lori and Michael Milken President’s Distinguished Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Yasmin B. Kafai is a learning scientist and designer of online tools and communities to promote coding, crafting, and creativity across K-16. Her work empowers students to use computer programming to design games, sew electronic textiles, and grow applications in biology with the goal of supporting creative expression, building social connections, and broadening participation in computing. She helped develop with MIT colleagues the popular programming tool Scratch ( With her pioneering research of children’s learning when programming digital games, she was an early contributor to the field of serious gaming. More recently, she is working on developing a high school curriculum with electronic textile that introduces students to computer science. She is also creating new fabrication tools and activities that bring biomaking into classrooms. Her award-winning work has received generous funding from the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.

Diane Levitt, Senior Director of K-12 Education, Cornell Tech

As the Senior Director of K-12 Education for Cornell Tech, Diane Levitt drives engagement with the NYC computing education community, including the NYCDOE’s CS4All initiative, and works with individual schools to catalyze K-12 computer science. She is responsible for Cornell Tech’s annual conference, To Code and Beyond, convening educators, nonprofit and industry leaders, policymakers and funders to examine best practices and innovative solutions in K-12 computing education. Before joining Cornell Tech, Diane was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Belkin, and philanthropic advisor to Belkin’s founder and CEO. Diane received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College, and a Bachelor of Science in Women’s Studies and Anthropology from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Ellen Meier, Associate Professor of Practice, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Ellen Meier is Director of the Center for Technology and School Change, and Associate Professor of Practice, Computing, and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also coordinates the Technology Specialist Certification Program for the Department of Math, Science and Technology. Her research is focused on the emerging role of technology in creating engaging, authentic learning environments, particularly for urban students. The Center has worked with scores of schools and hundreds of teachers to identify the factors that influence meaningful use of technology. The resulting model, Innovating Instruction, is currently being refined with support from the National Science Foundation. The Center is additionally supported with grants from IES, i3, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Magnet grants, and funding from local school districts. Meier has also worked internationally with educators in Ghana, Bulgaria, Mexico, Chile, China, and Korea. She is Co-Chair for the University of the State of New York’s Technology Policy and Practice Council, which advises the New York Board of Regents on technology issues, and serves on the New York Online Advisory Council. She is a Co-Editor for the SITE journal, Contemporary Issues in Teachers and Teacher Education.

Yvette Pasqua, Chief Technology Officer, Meetup

Yvette Pasqua leads the engineering team at Meetup, with a focus on continuous learning, iterating, and using data to launch software that brings people together around the world to do what matters to them. Her team’s work enables 30+ million members in over 180 countries to organize and meetup in real life around the world. Prior to joining Meetup, Yvette’s career included leadership roles at startups and product development firms, most notably at Schematic, Possible, and AKQA. Yvette was responsible for leading the team who built Grindr during the first few years of Grindr’s most rapid growth. In Yvette’s role at Meetup, she’s worked with the engineering and product teams to address 14 years of technical debt by facilitating long-term cultural change of including Continuous Product Health into every team’s sprints. By flipping debt on its head and focusing instead on health, and applying successful agile methodologies to make continuous progress towards decreasing debt, teams are empowered to tackle debt in a measurable, iterative, and aligned way.

Lauren States, Former Vice President, Strategy and Transformation, IBM Software Group

Lauren States is an experienced technology leader, having worked for IBM for over three decades addressing complex challenges across the company’s global business. Prior to her retirement, she served as Vice President, Strategy and Transformation for IBM’s Software Group and was a member of the Growth and Transformation senior leadership team. From 2008 to 2013, she was a leader in the company’s transformation to cloud computing and served as Chief Technology Officer in the corporate strategy function. Over her career, she has served in a broad variety of roles including technology, transformation, and sales and talent development. She is widely recognized for the development, growth, and mentoring of leaders within IBM and across the business and academic communities. Currently, Ms. States serves as an independent director on the boards of Clean Harbors Inc. and Webster Financial Corporation. She also serves on the Board of International House, NY, the Dean’s Executive Council of Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, and as a Director for SciptEd.

Karen Watts, Superintendent, Brooklyn North High Schools, NYCDOE

Karen Watts is responsible for the educational programs at 29 high schools, including the largest high school in the country, Brooklyn Technical High School. Prior to her current post, she led successful turnaround efforts as the principal of two New York City high schools—first at Wadleigh Secondary School and then as the first Executive Principal in NYC at ACORN High School for Social Justice, now the Brooklyn School for Law and Technology. Through her work as a principal, she instituted education programs that facilitated the fast resurgence of low performing schools. In her role as superintendent, she has responded to an urgent theory of action around college and career readiness by seeking opportunities to engage and uplift her schools. She holds an Advanced Certificate in Educational Administration and two Master’s degrees in education from Pace University, in Curriculum and Instruction and Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from St. John’s University.

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