Glenn Kleiman is the Executive Director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and a Professor at the NC State University College of Education. A cognitive psychologist by background (Ph.D., Stanford, 1977), his work in education has spanned basic and applied research, curriculum development, software development, providing professional development for teachers and administrators, policy analyses, and consulting for school districts and state departments of education. Currently, Dr. Kleiman leads the development of the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan for K-12 Education and the Friday Institute’s Massive Online Open Courses for Educators (MOOC-Ed) initiative. Dr. Kleiman was a member of Governor Perdue’s Education Transformation Commission and the North Carolina eLearning Commission, for which he was chair of the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee. Dr. Kleiman played a lead role in the development of the North Carolina Race to the Top proposal, which received $400 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining NC State University in July 2007, he was Vice President and Senior Research Scientist at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) in Newton MA, where he directed the Center for Online Professional Education and was Co-Director of the Northeast and Islands Regional Education Lab. He was also on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 1995-2007 and was education chair of the Harvard/EDC Leadership and the New Technologies Institutes.
In 2003, Dave Frye joined the team tasked with establishing and opening the Friday Institute. In his current role as Associate Director, Dave focuses on organizational development, strategic directions and new initiatives for the Friday Institute. Dave also leads our communication, financial and IT teams, designs collaborative work spaces for FI research teams and works with staff and researchers to develop creative, effective and efficient technology, financial and operational systems that advance the innovative work of the Institute.
Director of Finance & Business
Arnita Adams joined the Friday Institute team in January 2014 and is responsible for the management, oversight and structure of the fiscal operations. She has a BBA in Accounting from Campbell University and is a Certified Research Administrator. She has been with NC State University since 2003, and spent seven years working with Contracts and Grants. She has worked for the following departments: Crop Science, Statistics, and Materials Science and Engineering. Before coming to the Friday Institute, she worked for the Office of Contracts and Grants as the Strategic Partners Accountant.
Director of Evaluation Programs
Jenifer O. Corn, Ph.D. As the Director of Evaluation Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, Dr. Corn serves as PI of evaluation and research studies around the implementation and impact of innovations in K-12 classrooms and community college settings. Dr. Corn completed her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology in May 2008 at NC State University. Her primary responsibilities include managing the process and day-to-day operations of the evaluation of several large, statewide evaluation and research studies of educational innovations, including leading the evaluation of initiatives funded under North Carolina’s Race to the Top grant, Digital Learning Plan, and Golden LEAF STEM and Essential Skills Initiatives. Before joining the Friday Institute team, Dr. Corn worked as Project Coordinator for the Technology in Learning Program at the SERVE Center at UNCG. Her research interests focus on leadership, policy, STEM, professional development, teaching and learning, infrastructure, and evaluation for innovations in public school settings. Dr. Corn serves on as a member of the advisory board to the North Carolina Virtual Public School, Public School Forum, and Kenan Fellows Program.
Director of Technology Planning and Policy
Phil Emer has spent more than 25 years working at the intersections of data communications, research, academia and business – splitting time between the public and private sectors. In the private sector Phil worked as an engineer with IBM, as a technology executive with venture-backed Carolina Broadband and as a technology director with not-for-profit MCNC. In the public sector Phil directed voice, video, and data communications at NC State University and now serves as Director of Technology Planning and Policy at the Friday Institute where he leads the NC Education Cloud initiative funded under the NC Race to the Top grant. Phil serves on the Architecture Review Board of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and on the Board of the Wireless Research Center of NC. Phil holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in computer engineering from NC State University.
Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor
Dr. Jones is a Professor of science education. Her teaching focuses on science teacher preparation and research in teaching and learning science. Dr. Jones' research focuses on learning science in a variety of sociocultural contexts. Her research examines how a number of subgroups learn, including: gender, minorities, and students with visual impairments. Recently Dr. Jones has conducted a series of studies that examine nanoscale science education.…
Dr. Jones is a Professor of science education. Her teaching focuses on science teacher preparation and research in teaching and learning science. Dr. Jones’ research focuses on learning science in a variety of sociocultural contexts. Her research examines how a number of subgroups learn, including: gender, minorities, and students with visual impairments. Recently Dr. Jones has conducted a series of studies that examine nanoscale science education. She directs the Nanoscale Science Education Research Group that is investigating how people learn scale and scaling, the role of haptics (touch) in learning, and effective strategies for learning nanoscale science. Dr. Jones also investigates virtual reality interfaces for learning science.
Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor
Dr. Jose Picart serves as Professor of Education and Senior Faculty Fellow at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. In this capacity he leads several programs that seek to facilitate increased and focused community outreach and engagement by faculty, students and staff at North Carolina State University. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Wake Promise. The Wake Promise is a cross-sector community collaborative with the mission to increase the number of low-income youth in Wake County who earn a post-secondary credential. Dr. Jose Picart is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico and he completed his undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in Engineering and Humanities. Following his graduation from West Point, Dr. Picart served his country as a commissioned military officer for 28 years rising through various command and staff positions to the rank of Colonel. He earned his Master of Science and Doctoral degree in Experimental Cognitive Psychology from the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Following his distinguished service in the field Army, Dr. Picart served for over 16 years on the faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy, West Point, culminating with his appointment as the Director of Psychology Studies. In 1994, Dr. Picart was the recipient of a prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship. He served his internship in higher education administration at the University of California in Santa Cruz. While at NC State, Dr. Picart has served in various senior leadership positions including the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Interim Dean of the College of Education, and Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Services. Dr. Picart lives in Cary with his wife Susie and two dogs. Their daughter Emily and their son Aaron are recent graduates of NC State University.
Technology Innovations Project Manager
Mark Samberg joined the Friday Institute in May of 2013. As Technology Innovation Lead, Mark works with the project teams to identify, select, and implement technology solutions into the work of the teams across the Institute. Prior to joining the FI, Mark was the Chief Technology Officer for Bertie County Schools, an Instructional Technology Specialist in Currituck County Schools and Hertford County schools, and a math teacher and the designer/developer of the SAM/SPAN applications in Wake County Schools. Mark has completed the Certified Educational Chief Technology Officer program through the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics Education and Computer Science from NC State University, and a Master’s in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University.
Marjorie Santoro has been on The Friday Institute team since 2008. As Assistant Director, Marj directly supports the Executive Director and is the primary point of contact on all matters pertaining to The Friday Institute. She also serves as Human Resources Director, leads the events management and administrative teams, and provides operational oversight for the facility.
Marj has been with NC State since 2003. She is a Troy State University graduate with 20+ years of HR and administrative experience. Though her degree is in sociology, Marj’s interest in education began during her work with the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, a private non-profit program devoted to promoting the healthy emotional development of young children.
Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor & Senior Research Fellow
Dr. Spires was the founding director for the Friday Institute and has served as Senior Research Fellow since 2006. She joined NC State University’s College of Education in 1987 after receiving her Ph.D. in Literacy Education from the University of South Carolina. For her cumulative work in the area of literacy and technology, Dr. Spires received the International Reading Association Award for Outstanding Writing in the Field of College Reading. She also received NC State’s Outstanding Alumni Award in Outreach and Service for providing professional development seminars for teachers. In 2011, she received the Jackson A. Rigney International Service Award, and in 2012 she received NC State’s Alumni Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Spires studies the integration of emerging technologies in order to illustrate research-based best practices for digital literacy learning. She directs the New Literacies Collaborative and Global Learning master’s program, including the K-12 Literacy Cohort, and serves as honorary principal at Suzhou North America High School, which she helped create in 2016. Learn more about Dr. Spires here.
Senior Research Fellow and Professor
Dr. Wiebe is a Professor in the Department of STEM Education at NC State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Dr. Wiebe works on many different facets of STEM Education, including the design and evaluation of innovative uses of computing technologies in STEM instructional settings, the use of multimedia tools for teaching and learning, and student engagement and persistence in STEM career pathways. Specific research programs include the use of intelligent agents to support science learning in classrooms and basic research into how instructional technologies (including game-based learning environments) shape student engagement and learning. Since the integration of these technology tools are essential for their effective use, research is also being pursued at large scales, looking at how specific technologies influence teaching and learning at the classroom and school level and how schools and teachers can be supported to change practice in order to maximize the potential of these new technologies. Similarly, Dr. Wiebe is interested in how these innovative tools can be used in and outside of classrooms to enhance student interest in STEM learning and career opportunities.
Director of Digital Learning Programs
Mary Ann Wolf, PhD has fifteen years of experience in education and education technology. Mary Ann has worked closely with federal, state, and local education leaders; policy-makers; and organizations on connecting policy and practice for innovative education reform, digital learning, and instructional practices. Mary Ann developed and co-facilitated the Digital Learning Transition MOOC for Educators through the Friday Institute at NC State University and the Alliance for Excellent Education. She is also the lead researcher on the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Project Tomorrow Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt and Adapt Content (TRAAC) project, which includes in-person and virtual focus groups with education leaders and teachers.
Mary Ann helped develop and implement the first ever National Digital Learning Day with the Alliance for Excellent Education. She is a member of the North Carolina Governor’s eLearning Commission, Expert Advisory Group for the National Online Communities of Practice Advisory Board (US Department of Education & the Friday Institute at NC State University), and the NSF National STEM Digital Library Evaluation Advisory Group.
Previously, Mary Ann was the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). In this position, she worked with educators in all 50 states and with policy-makers to share data and models of how to improve education to ensure America’s and our students’ competitiveness in the global economy. She served on the Congress on the Future of Content Task Force and spoke at the keynote session on the potential and hurdles for implementing digital content. Mary Ann was a member of the NAEP Technology Literacy Assessment steering committee and worked closely with the Obama Administration transition team with work related to education technology. She testified before the US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee; and SETDA hosted, with the National Science Foundation, Future of Learning educational technology showcases for members of Congress and staffers in the House and the Senate.
Mary Ann taught fifth grade in Virginia, studied education leadership with and conducted extensive research on teacher time and professionalism at the University of Virginia and worked for KPMG Peat Marwick as a consultant for federally funded grant programs. Mary Ann has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Virginia, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the George Washington University, and a Bachelors in Accounting and Marketing from Georgetown University.