VSTE Conference Featured Speakers

Keynote and Spotlight Educators

Catlin Tucker

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Catlin Tucker is a bestselling author, international trainer, and keynote speaker. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2010 in Sonoma County, where she taught for 16 years. Catlin earned her doctorate in learning technologies from Pepperdine University. Currently, Catlin is working as a blended learning coach, education consultant, and professor in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Pepperdine University. Catlin has written a series of bestselling books on blended learning, which include The Complete Guide to Blended Learning, UDL and Blended Learning, Balance With Blended Learning, Blended Learning In Action, Power Up Blended Learning, and Blended Learning In Grades 4-12. She is active on Twitter @Catlin_Tucker and writes an internationally ranked blog at CatlinTucker.com.

A picture of Catlin Tucker, keynote speaker.
A picture of our spotlight speaker, Christopher Bugaj.


Spotlight Co-Speaker

Christopher R. Bugaj, MA CCC‐SLP is a founding member of the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools. Chris is the author of The New Assistive Tech: Make Learning Awesome For All, published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Chris is the co-author of Inclusive Learning 365: EdTech Strategies for Every Day of the Year and The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools both of which are also published by ISTE. Chris co-hosts the Talking With Tech podcast featuring interviews and conversations about augmentative and alternative communication and has hosted The A.T.TIPSCAST; a multi‐award winning podcast featuring strategies to design educational experiences. Chris co-authored two chapters for a book published by Brookes Publishing titled Technology Tools for Students with Autism. Chris co‐produces and co‐authors the popular Night Light Stories podcast which features original stories for children of all ages. Chris has presented over 500 live or digital sessions at local, regional, state, national and international events, including TEDx.

Katie Fielding

Spotlight Co-Speaker

Katie Fielding is an experienced presenter passionate about sharing her digital accessibility knowledge and insights with others. With two decades of experience in education, she has delivered engaging and informative presentations at conferences, workshops, and other professional development events. Katie’s expertise includes a variety of topics such as technology integration, inclusive learning, and creativity in the classroom. This expertise led to her being recognized as a VSTE Coach of the Year in 2019.  She is active on Twitter @KatieF where she loves connecting with other educators. 

A picture of our co-spotlight speaker, Katie Fielding.
Joquetta Johnson - VSTE Featured Speaker

Joquetta Johnson

Featured Speaker

Joquetta L. Johnson is an award-winning, passion-driven educator, D.E.I. specialist, and international keynote speaker with over 26 years of experience in K-12 and higher education, educational technology, and school librarianship. Her creative and energetic presentation style has rocked the mic and audiences since 1996. Dr. Johnson is a Heart-Centered speaker and Equity M.C. – “Motivating Catalyst” who inspires and guides individuals on their personal and professional equity learning journeys in hopes of dismantling individual and workplace practices, structures, and systems that continue to marginalize historically underserved communities.

Abran Maldonado

Featured Speaker

Abran Maldonado is a true visionary in the wold of artificial intelligence. As a co-founder of Create Labs, a Black and Brown founded startup, Abran is leading the charge in the AI and metaverse design space, bringing his unique perspective to an industry that has historically been dominated by a narrow set of voices. As a Gates Millennium Scholar with a background in Hip-Hop, digital media, and youth culture, Abran has always been passionate about expanding access to technology and empowering those who have been underrepresented in the field.  As one of the first AI prompt engineers of the GPT era, Abran’s impact has been at the forefront of the AI revolution, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this groundbreaking technology.  

Abran Maldonado - Featured Speaker
C.L.Ai.R.A - Featured Speaker


Featured Speaker

C.L.AI.R.A., the Create Labs AI rendered assistant, is the pioneering Afro-Latina AI virtual influence, masterfully crafter by Create Labs, a black and brown owned AI start-up. As the brainchild of Abran Maldonado, an ambassador for OpenAi and co-founder of Create Labs, C.L.Ai.R.A. is a testament to the power of AI for social good. 

With a lifelike digital representation developed using the latest advances in generative AI and 3D design technologies, and a voice inspired by Amber Ivey, a renowned figure in the Black woman in tech community, C.L.Ai.R.A. is more than just an AI. She’s an ambassador for humanity, bridging the gap between technology and understanding. Unlike traditional AI chatbots, C.L.Ai.R.A. offers opinionated, thoughtful insights, reflecting her unique perspectives and extensive interactions with diverse audiences.

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