Reach for the Stars ‘teaching the teacher’ conference set for Nov. 27-29 in Manchester

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
NH teacher Christa McAuliffe tries out the commander’s seat in a shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Texas on September 13, 1985. NASA Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – The 2018 Christa McAuliffe Conference, to be held in Manchester, kicks off Tuesday November 27 following a full day of Monday pre-conference workshops.  Named after Christa McAuliffe, New Hampshire teacher-turned-astronaut who lost her life in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the conference will highlight best practices of integrated technology in education aligned to the Future Ready themes. The conference will be hosted at the Doubletree by Hilton Manchester Downtown and will run through Thursday November 29.

In honor of Christa’s memory and dedication for the pursuit of education, science and technology, CMTC18 serves as a forum for educators to share stories of successful technology implementation in the classroom with fellow colleagues. Tips, best practices, technical solutions and instructional strategies will be highlighted at the three day event.

Co-sponsored by NH School Administrators Association (NHSAA) and New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education Affiliate (NHSTE) and partnering with the NH School Libraries (NHSLMA) and NH CoSN affiliate (NHCTO Council), CMTC18 will offer transformative workshops and keynote speakers all three days. Over 40 concurrent sessions are offered each day targeting the Future Ready themes. A BYOD (bring your own device) policy is encouraged for all educators who wish to attend the BYOD technology workshops.

Note: Seats for BYOD sessions are on a first come, first serve basis, so early arrival is encouraged! Teacher showcases will be featured every morning with student showcases to follow in the afternoon. Edtech playgrounds and learning booths will be present each day as well. The Partner Pavilion showcases a wide variety of Solution Partners who seek to help New England administrators and educators address their priorities and challenges.

Cynthia Dunlap M.Ed, Conference Chair and longtime employee in education shared with me the story of how she got involved with the Christa McAuliffe Conference and why it matters to her.

“I was at the Apple Computer Store on Main Street in Nashua the morning of January 28, 1986, when the Challenger Shuttle exploded.  It is a day I remember much like your generation remembers 9/11 and the Twin Towers. Christa was about eight years older than me, but still a contemporary, a New Hampshire educator who gave her life to excite and engage students in space exploration and STEM,” says Dunlap

Dunlap learned of the New Hampshire Annual Technology Conference and Tradeshow during these years and became involved in the NHSTE organization in the early 1990s. Since then, Dunlap has served on the NHSTE Board as President in 1996-1997 and as NHSTE CMTC Conference Chair since 1996.

“If you had asked me then if I would still be serving in this role over 20 years later, I am sure the reply would have been ‘no way. ‘  So why have I continued in this capacity? The short answer is that I feel everyone has an obligation to give back to their community and the community I have embraced is the New Hampshire and greater New England educational community,” says Dunlap on her role as Conference Chair.

“We have been blessed too many times over with our children, our health, and general well being and I feel I have an obligation to give back and this is the niche that appears to fit my skill set best,” says Dunlap

Dunlap hopes the conference will foster an innovative environment among educators who can share their experiences and uses of technology in the classroom. Since Grace Corrigan (McAuliffe’s mother) gave permission to name the conference after her, Dunlap has emphasized the idea of “teachers teaching teachers.”

“My goal is to provide an experience where educators feel valued, empowered, and appreciated and are provided the time and opportunity to expand their professional learning,” says Dunlap, on what she hopes to achieve with CMTC18.

Scheduled daily keynote speakers:


Tuesday: Ginger Lewman, Edupreneur, co-creator of Lifepractice PBL Model, Consultant, Technology Integration Specialist, and Google Certified Teacher

Ginger Lewman is national consultant and keynote speaker with ESSDACK, a non-profit education service center. She inspires and helps all levels of educators figure out the ins and outs of Project/Problem Based Learning, technology integration, along with working with gifted and high-ability learners. Ginger is passionate about helping educators rethink and revision what teaching and learning can be in today’s world. There is nothing better than watching the faces of educators as they watch their own students get excited about learning and doing things that they never thought were possible. Because of her background as a learner, teacher, and school leader, she knows exactly what that feels like to begin this journey. Ginger believes that, “It is the most awesome thing in the world…because in that moment, everything is possible and we want to do it again.” As an educator, Ginger sees herself as a resource, not THE source.


Wednesday: Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, 2017 Education Thought Leader of the Year, Co-founder of #edtechchat, Author, and Consultant

Thomas Murray has testified before the Congress and works with legislators and education leaders throughout the country to implement student-centered, personalized learning while helping to lead Future Ready Schools® and Digital Learning Day initiatives. Thomas serves as a conference keynote, was named the “2017 Education Thought Leader of the Year,” NSBA one of “20 to Watch” in 2016, one of the top 20 thought leaders in education, and “Education Policy Person of the Year” by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015. His latest book, Learning Transformed, co-authored with Eric Sheninger and published by ASCD, was released in June 2017. His experiences in K–12 digital leadership, which include implementing a 1:1 program, BYOD, blended learning, and a K–12 cyber school where he served as the director of technology and cyber education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, have been recognized nationally. In addition to his role at Future Ready, he serves as a thought leader and school district consultant for digital learning implementation and transformation.


Thursday: Jennie Magiera, Chief Program Officer for EdTechTeam, Chicago Public Schools Innovator of the Year, TEDx Speaker, Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction, Google for Education Certified Innovator

Jennie Magiera is the Chief Program Officer for EdTechTeam, focusing on diversity and equity in education. Previously, she was the Chief Innovation Officer Des Plaines Public School District 62,  the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership and a Chicago Public Schools teacher. A White House Champion for Change, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google for Education Certified Innovator and TEDx Speaker, Jennie has been working to redefine teaching and learning through innovative new practices. Jennie is also passionate about transforming professional learning, having served on the Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan and co-founding PLAYDATE and other new conference concepts. Aside from her students, Jennie’s great loves in life are sci-fi, mashed potatoes, Tabasco sauce, her dog and her husband. You can follow Jennie on Twitter at @MsMagiera and learn more about her work and her book at

Other spotlight speakers include:

For more information, registration and a full schedule of speakers and events, please visit Other inquiries can be made by emailing or by calling (603)225-3230.