2018 EdTech Mini Conference Keynote Speaker and Panelists

Head shot of Chet Pipkin (EdTech Keynote Speaker)

Keynote Speaker

Chet Pipkin is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Belkin International in the heart of Silicon Beach, Los Angeles. In his parents' garage in the early 1980s, he founded Belkin which is known today as Belkin International with its four distinct brands, Belkin, Linksys, WeMo and Phyn. Fast Company named Belkin one of the World's Most Innovative Companies in the Internet of Things (IoT). The Belkin team's people-centric approach to IoT innovations and Belkin's passion for delightful user experiences anchor the company's successes in their respective categories globally.

Chet's an avid hiker, restless tinkerer and – for over 30 years – a technology innovator and passionate civic leader. A husband and father of seven, Chet's extensive nonprofit work revolves around youth, education, and closing the achievement gap. He is a founder of the Da Vinci family of charter schools in Hawthorne, California.


  • Shawna Draxton, Ph.D.

    Shawna Draxton, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of WISH Community TK-8 and WISH Academy High School. Throughout the past eight years she worked with the WISH Board of Directors, WISH Community Association, and the Loyola Marymount School of Education to build demonstration sites for best practices in the field of education that are both academically and socially and emotionally responsive to children in grades TK-12. From her work as a founding teacher of CHIME and throughout LAUSD, she is well versed in planning programs and coordinating curricular resources.

    Dr. Draxton is dedicated to creating and maintaining innovative, constructivist, data-driven learning experiences. She regularly leads professional development sessions on best practices in the field of education that include collaboration, co-teaching, differentiated instruction, using technology in the classroom, inclusive education, and school-wide positive behavior supports. She is a multi-credentialed National Board Certified Teacher and received her Ph.D. from Chapman University in 2012. In 2016, Dr. Draxton was honored with the Educator of the Year award from California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Draxton is passionate about high quality education for all students and enjoys working with parents, students, teachers, and community members to bring meaningful and engaging learning experiences to all students.

  • Sophia Mendoza

    Sophia Mendoza is the Director of the Instructional Technology Initiative for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  In this role, Mrs. Mendoza leads the instructional technology efforts district-wide, overseeing the implementation of digital learning tools to over 400 schools. Her leadership helps provide a blueprint for the next iteration of how to address technology in schools. Her work is a synthesis of cutting-edge instructional frameworks, such as the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students, the Computer Science Framework, the National Ed Tech Plan, and the SAMR Model. She extends her leadership reach by leveraging technology in ways that models what she preaches, which would serve to help other school leaders determine how they can be change agents in their schools as well. Mrs. Mendoza has also presented her work at national and international conferences such as the International Society for Technology in Education Conference, the California Emerging Technology Fund conference, and the Learning Counsel Gathering. Moreover, Mrs. Mendoza shares her work with internal District leadership to continue building leadership capacity within L.A. Unified-- the nation’s 2nd largest school district.

    Mendoza has served in multiple capacities from teacher, coordinator, and a principal over the course of her nearly 20 year career. Within the last 3 years, she has taken the role of an EdTech leader, helping L.A. Unified realize their goal of cultivating students who are ready for a growing digital world. In this capacity, her work has been recognized by the Center for Digital Education and the Learning Counsel.

  • Fatima Nicdao, M.A.

    Fatima Nicdao, M.A. is the Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction at St. Bernard High School in Playa Del Rey. She has over ten years of high school teaching experience in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and has taught and lived abroad in Nicaragua and India. Ms. Nicdao specializes in curriculum, instructional delivery and educational technology.

    She received her BA in Psychology and Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and her Masters in Secondary Education (2009) and Masters in Catholic School Administration (2016) at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). She is currently an Ed.D candidate for the LMU Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice. Ms. Nicdao has presented in various tech conferences such as C3 in the Archdiocese of LA, CUE in Palm Springs and in various Ed tech conferences in the public and private sector. She is a resource on: 21st Century learning and teaching frameworks, project based learning, Google Apps (G Suite), Apple products, Makerspace, successful integration of technology in the classroom, professional learning communities (PLCs), professional learning networks (PLNs), teacher observation/feedback and mentoring, social media and leadership.

  • Danitza Pantoja, Psy.D.

    Danitza Pantoja, Psy.D. is a Program Specialist for the Antelope Valley Union High School District and currently serves on the district's Dyslexia Cadre. A practicing school psychologist for eight years, Dr. Pantoja previous served as a lead school psychologist for a charter school organization and supported the special education staff and administrators with the organizations' out of state schools.

    Dr. Pantoja received a certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University, Northridge and certification in the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) through UCLA. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology and master's degree in School Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. While working on education issues for California Assemblymember Cindy Montañez, she decided to return to school to earn a second master's degree in School Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute. She continued on to receive her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Alliant International University.

    Currently a member of the Loyola Marymount University School of Education Alumni Association Board of Directors, Dr. Pantoja also serves as the commissioner of the City of San Fernando Education Commission and previously served on the Parks, Wellness, and Community Service Commission for the City. She served as an advisory board member for Ready, Set, Read! and recently joined the board of El Centro de Amistad, an organization providing mental health services in the San Fernando Valley.

  • Shannon N. Tabaldo, M.A.

    Shannon N. Tabaldo, M.A., is the Director of Digital Curriculum Integration and Development for the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, and is the founding director of the LMU iDEAL Institute. Before coming to LMU, Ms. Tabaldo was the Director of Educational Technology at Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes California. She has been a classroom teacher, teaching technology to grades K-8 and Junior High Math. With over 20 years of technology experience and a passion for teaching, she began to see the need for educational technology resources and the need for teacher training. Ms. Tabaldo is currently researching iPads in teacher preparation as well as blended learning in K-12 Catholic schools to achieve digital literacy and close the achievement gap.

    Ms. Tabaldo has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Linfield College and Master of Arts degree in Catholic School Administration from Loyola Marymount University. She sits on the school board for St. Columbkille Catholic School, the St. Lawrence Martyr Education Foundation, and the Technology Committee for Bishop Montgomery High School and provides technology professional development for schools in the Los Angeles and Orange County Archdioceses. Ms. Tabaldo is a LeadingEdge Certified Professional Learning Leader, a Google for Education Certified Innovator, a Google Certified Power Searcher, a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer as well as a Microsoft Office Application expert, and an Apple App fanatic. She maintains a blog called Tabaldo On Tech. Follow her on Twitter @TabaldoOnTech.