Shannon Tabaldo

Founding Director

Shannon Tabaldo

Shannon N. Tabaldo is the Founding Director of the iDEAL Institute and Director of Digital Curriculum Integration and Development for the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. Before coming to LMU, Shannon was the Director of Educational Technology at Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She has been a classroom teacher, teaching technology to K-8 as well as 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. Her personal and professional goal is to fulfill the need of training educators on technology that can be used in their classroom for the benefit of the students.

Shannon is currently researching blended learning in K-12 Catholic schools to achieve digital literacy and close the achievement gap.

Shannon sits on the development boards for St. James School in San Franciso, California, and Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance, California.

Shannon is the co-host of the My Tech Toolbelt podcast, an internationally recognized podcast that highlights teachers who INNOVATE, ENGAGE, and INSPIRE by using technology in their classrooms. You can find them at or @MyTechToolbelt on Twitter and Instagram.

Shannon has a B.S. in Business Administration from Linfield College and an M.A. in Catholic School Administration from Loyola Marymount University. She 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.

If you want to know what Shannon is thinking about or working on, follow her on Twitter @TabaldoOnTech. She can be reached by email at

Dr. Greg Akai

Assistant Director

Greg Akai

Greg Akai, Ed.D., is the Assistant Director of the iDEAL Institute for the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University.

Greg has a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Southern California.  Greg’s areas of research include artificial intelligence in education, learning engineering and learning analytics. Greg’s work continues to be guided and framed through the confluence of pedagogy, learning technologies and instructional design.

Greg comes from the Torrance Unified School District where he taught in blended and online high school programs. Greg, who earned a M.A. in Educational Technology from California State University, Los Angeles, holds a Designated Subjects Teaching Credential and certifications in online and blended teaching and learning technologies.

Greg can be reached at

Meaghan Crowley-Sullivan

Program Coordinator

Meaghan Crowley-Sullivan

Meaghan Crowley-Sullivan, M.Ed., M.A., is the Bay Area Program Coordinator for the iDEAL Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Meaghan completed undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, a minor in Education, Schooling and Society, a Masters of Education in Elementary Education and a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership. Working as an expeditionary learning and blended learning teacher both in California and Colorado, her experience as a lower and upper elementary teacher has been shaped by her passion for forward-thinking instructional models, her commitment to encouraging teacher collaboration and the desire to utilize technology to meet the needs of all students, while promoting creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

Coming most recently from the Diocese of San Jose's Katherine Drexel schools, she worked as a master teacher, instructional technology coach, data team lead and school mentor. Her work in San Jose led her to receive the Drexel Blended Learning award in 2015 and to represent her school in the 2018 and 2019 Blended Learning Catholic Schools Symposiums, where she presented on data-inspired instruction in 2019. Her continued work, advising the tech nonprofit Readability Matters, on the integration of reading instruction and technology personalization has further led her to gain a deeper appreciation for the extent to which teachers and technology can truly impact student growth and success.

As part of the iDEAL team, she enjoys partnering with the many wonderful teachers, leaders and schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be contacted at

Dr. Ashley Ireland

Curriculum & Professional Learning Developer

Ashley Dann

Ashley Ireland, Ed.D, is the Curriculum & Professional Learning Developer for the iDEAL Institute and affiliate faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning. As a lecturer in the graduate, undergraduate, and extension programs Ashley teaches courses in education policy, social foundations of education, PK-12 educational technology, instructional leadership, and innovative teaching methods.

Ashley has held various roles in education including teacher, instructional coach, program coordinator, reading specialist, teacher trainer, and school leader. She has a B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology- Leadership, Policy, and Social Foundations from the University of Virginia, and a doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles in Educational Leadership. Ashley holds K-8 multi-subject teaching certificates in both California and Virginia with authorizations in English Language Development as well as Gifted and Talented Education.

Ashley loves to travel, read, and talk about pedagogy and education reform. Her areas of study include Mixed Reality Simulation in teacher preparation, educational technology, and teacher preparation policy. In her free time, she can be found playing on the beach or hiking in the mountains with her two young boys and her very large extended family.

Follow her on Twitter @TeachinginFocus. She can be reached by email at

Amy Gross

Program Coordinator

Amy Gross

Amy Gross, M.A., is the Program Coordinator for the iDEAL Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Amy holds undergraduate degrees in Advertising and German from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to entering education, her career path offered her opportunities to collaborate with innovative, creative minds at advertising agencies such as Deutsch and Horizon Media, on top brands across the car, restaurant, and travel industries.

Eager to support young learners as they carved their own paths, Amy then earned her M.A in Literacy Education and her K-8 multi-subject clear credential from Loyola Marymount University. In 2013, she was awarded the Student of the Year Award for LMU's Literacy Program as well as Graduate Student of the Year for LMU's School of Education. Amy held roles as a primary classroom teacher, an upper elementary classroom teacher, and a K-5 Intervention Teacher before stepping away from the classroom.

Having been in the shoes of educators, Amy joined the iDEAL team to support teachers and their own growth journeys across technology integration, blended learning, and personalized learning, all for the benefit of our young learners and through the lens of pedagogical best practices.

She can be reached at

Christine Navarro

Program Coordinator

Christine Navarro headshot

Having recently stepped away from the classroom after five years, Christine now looks forward to helping other teachers create tailored experiences for their students in varied-ability classrooms throughout both private and public schools in Southern California.

Christine has experience in creating and leading professional development to train program staff on building and implementing lesson plans, using literacy programs, and implementing effective classroom management techniques. She is a graduate of LMU’s IDEAL Institute Academy of Blended Learning herself and taught in a blended learning school within the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Christine earned a Master’s in Science of Education, Single-Subject teaching credential (English) and both English Language authorization and Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) certification from Mount Saint Mary’s University.

It is her goal to continuously seek out opportunities for growth, to serve as a mentor and to advocate for educational equity.  She looks forward to the opportunity to further develop as a teacher leader and share her love of instructional technology and curriculum design, while remaining anchored in best pedagogical practices here at the IDEAL Institute.

She can be reached at


In Loving Memory – Crystal Wilhite

Program Coordinator

Crystal Wilhite

Crystal Wilhite was the Program Coordinator of PreK-12 Technology Integration Projects for the iDEAL Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

She held various roles in the School of Education, including coordinator for the CAST (Catholic Archdiocesan School Teachers) Program and the Department of Urban Education. As a staff member, LMU graduate, and mother, Crystal was thoroughly involved and invested in education. She specifically had an interest in the purposeful integration of technology and advocating on behalf of all children.

Crystal earned her B.S. in Sports & Health Sciences from American Military University and her M.A. in Educational Studies with a focus in Counseling from LMU. Prior to LMU, she worked in the automotive industry as well as served in the United States Army. She also volunteered at local community colleges to support veteran students, lead workshops, and provide general counseling.