Pulling Off 30 Events in One Year is a Miracle: Now Meet Your Miracle Workers

Charles Sosnik

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the Learning Counsel works from coast-to-coast, meeting with school districts and helping them navigate the choppy waters of the digital transformation. As writer and editor for much of the research-driven editorial content here at the Learning Counsel, I have the distinct pleasure of working from our plush, well-lit satellite offices in Gastonia, NC.

While LeiLani Cauthen, our CEO and author of The Consumerization of Learning, hopscotches across the country, conducting up to 30 regional Digital Transition Discussion events each year, I remain comfortably ensconced in my office chair, banging out editorial copy and making phone calls, searching for America’s top thought leaders to share their thoughts with our audience of  superintendents, curriculum directors, technology directors and principals - watching events in comfort with my keen journalistic eye, just as nature intended.

This past week, however, I accepted an invitation to join the team on the road for events in Chicago and Boston. I had the opportunity to watch the events unfold in-person and speak to several dozen district leaders in Illinois and Massachusetts.

What a great experience! Attendees participated in workshops and were updated on the use of technologies and the state of the curriculum market, as well as what to expect as education’s digital transition continues.

We have a relatively small team at the Learning Counsel. The amount of work it takes to set up and conduct even one event is significant. For the Learning Counsel staff to produce 30 events in a single year is something akin to a miracle.

The miracle workers in question are stationed in our Sacramento headquarters and since they work behind the curtain, I’d like to pull the curtain back and introduce them.

Doug Cauthen is our Chief Operating Officer. With over twenty years of experience in administrative, marketing, publishing, financial and operational roles, Doug is an expert in running the day-to-day operations of a successful organization. At the Learning Counsel, Doug is one part coach, one part mentor and one part business guru, ensuring that our publishing, research and event divisions all run in perfect harmony.

Annette Erwin is our VP of Sales. Annette is an accomplished business development specialist, with a knack for creating long-term personal relationships. Along with our CEO LeiLani Cauthen, Annette hand-picks our sponsors to make sure our districts have just the right resources they need.  With her ability to understand the ever-changing industry and trends in education and technology, Annette helps shape strategy in American education.

Jodie Bohrer is our Delivery Project Manager. Jodie has 20+ years in Sales, Marketing and Business Development beginning in Education, transitioning to Legal and Environmental and back to her true passion-Education! She is in charge of meeting and then exceeding the expectations of product delivery for all our sponsors.

Dolly Johnson is our Director of Graphic Design. Dolly attended Stanford University and the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Her work has been featured throughout Northern California and across the country, as well as in private collections around the world. Dolly is the creative genius behind the Learning Counsel publications and online projects, as well as the artistic designer for Learning Counsel events.

Chris Kight is our Director of Marketing and Media Production. Chris is a well-known American photographer and operated a top photography studio for many years, and also served as an adjunct professor at a California university.  Chris directs the Learning Counsel’s marketing efforts, as well as creating Learning Counsel and sponsor videos for events.

Kristina Hall is our Finance & Sales Operations Manager. Kristina comes from a background in finance, with almost 15 years of experience working in office management in both for-profits and non-profits. She keeps the Learning Counsel staff sane and organized while also dealing with accounts payable and accounts receivable. Kristina is a vital member of the events team, working with educators who want to know what to expect before attending our events.

Daric Aguinaga is our Director of School Relations. Daric is a diligent tactician who goes the extra mile. With his foresight, planning and positive attitude, Daric works with our district attendees to ensure the events are attended by top district executives.

Natalie Buchanan is our School Analyst. With a diverse background in customer relations and education, Natalie provides creativity and insight into research for the Learning Counsel event outreach team. She also enjoys working directly with our school and district personnel, helping define expectations for our regional events.

Christi Vorse is our Logistics Manager. Christi comes from a background in the legal and logistics professions with over 20 years of experience. She not only oversees our human resources department but is responsible for the logistics of our Digital Transition Discussion events all over the United States. From finding the right venues for our events to negotiating contracts, she is behind the scenes making sure each event is a success.

Jeremy Smith is our VP of Web Development. Jeremy is a design and analytics professional with expertise in operations, web front end development, research and marketing. He is our resident techie, keeping the lines of communication open and ensuring everything works like it should for all our events.


Attending our Events

The Leaning Counsel is the only news media and research organization leading the real transformation at the intersection of administration/staffing, tech, logistics, and the cultural and economic drivers demanding a holistic strategy to transform the century-old model of education and to be digital first to more significantly leverage the human teaching. If you have yet to attend one of our events, you’ll find a schedule here. All our regional events are free of charge for school and district personnel. For more information, watch this video with feedback from event attendees and sponsors.

You’ll also want to attend our National Gathering this November in Dallas. It is a retreat-style event for digitally transitioning school & district leaders. America’s top education professionals come to the Gathering each year to learn from one another and see the next stages of possibility from Learning Counsel research. A finely curated set of speakers, workshops and learning groups help make this an efficient and impactful professional development experience.


The 2019 National Gathering Theme: Becoming Expo Learning

The new designed-for-digital education enterprise would reverse engineer the analog (people and place) aspects into a digital-first entity. It would flip to digital. It would flip to workflow instead of industrial-age delivery models. Such a redesign would fit current expectations because of what people experience in other sectors, where there is an App for everything. It would emphasize personalizing learning paths for real. It would leverage the teachers for their humanity and not overburden them with all aspects of lesson planning, analytics, data entry and a mile-high tech and Apps stack.

Schools would transform to becoming centers of high experience, with a heavy emphasis on automated teaching and learning to free up more intensely meaningful hands-on and collaborative activities. Humans would be celebrated for their humanity, accompanied by learning tech and analytics so well-orchestrated as to fade into the background.

Becoming Expo Learning is: shifts in school space use, in the workflow of learning, in the schedules of teachers and students, in the use of all kinds of software flexibly while creating a branded digital universe of knowledge, in an infusion of energy that can’t be copied in all-online schools.

About the Author

Charles is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief for the Learning Counsel. He uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. He is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including The Learning Counsel, NSBA Journal, edCircuit and EdTech Digest. Charles is unabashedly Southern, and likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.



About The Consumerization of Learning

The Consumerization of Learning is a deep dive into the disruption at hand for the way leaders lead education digitally. It highlights consumerization as the act of making something desirable and consumable by the individual. Educators like to think of this as the personalization of learning on computing screens using the capabilities of the software that make it intuitive and highly adaptive just for that learner. If schools fully discover and adapt to consumerization’s ingenuity, it has the power to give teachers back time spent custom building every digital resource themselves, time that can now be turned to attention on students, to create more hands-on learning activities, and to guide students in the fullness of a digital learning experience.

Read The Consumerization of Learning and be part of the discussion about how schools are finding a new relevancy at the natural end-point of digital transition: maximized live experience and quality digital learning, also known as “expo” education.








Recent Articles


Perhaps more than any time in history, our teachers and administrators need professional development to help guide them through the transition to an upcoming virtual/hybrid system of education

News Clip

NJ offers ‘bridge’ year for high school students to make up for class time | New policy aims to stop IN high schools from writing off students | Ivy League Places All Sports on Hold Until January | Free Community College Moves Forward in CT