Full course description


This course is co-sponsored by the Data Quality Campaign.

Data is essential for improving outcomes for students. Whether it is informing improved instruction, empowering parents and communities, or helping policymakers make decisions and target resources, our education system needs data in order to continuously improve. In order to create a culture of trust that enables effective data use, policymakers and education professionals must ensure that the public has confidences that state and local leaders act to protect student data privacy. This self-paced course will discuss the value data brings to improve education, offer recommendations for addressing privacy concerns while promoting effective data use, and explore lessons learned from existing and emerging policies in education and other sectors.

Each module offers both video and written core content that will take no longer than an hour to complete. Additional resources are available in each module for those that want to take a deeper dive into specific topic areas. A digital badge and a certificate will be provided for course completion.

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize the importance of data in its use to improve education outcomes and understand the role of the individual in promoting the value of data and security.
  • Examine the core responsibilities for protecting education data at the federal, state, and district levels and gain tools to shape education data privacy policy.
  • Analyze the current data privacy debate within and beyond education, its relationship to how people feel about data and current education policy reform efforts.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Module One: The Value of Data to Education
  • Module Two: The Importance of Protecting Student Privacy
  • Module Three: Data Security and Technology 101
  • Module Four: Transferring Best Practices From Other Industries to K-12 Education
  • Module Five: What do we do about it? Everyone has a role

Technology Requirements:

You can access the course content via a computer, laptop, and/or mobile devices (e.g., iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, etc.). For mobile devices, go to the apps store (Apple or Android) to download Canvas apps.


Aimee Rogstad Guidera, President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign: Aimee Rogstad Guidera is the President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national, nonprofit organization leading the effort to empower educators, students, parents, and policymakers with the information they need to make the best decisions to improve student outcomes. Aimee believes that data have the power to transform education to ensure every child in this country is prepared for success in college and careers. Before founding DQC, Aimee served as the director of the Washington, DC, office of the National Center for Educational Achievement. She previously served as vice president of programs for the National Alliance of Business (NAB), worked in the education division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, and taught for the Japanese Ministry of Education.

John Bailey, Senior Vice President of Policy, Foundation for Excellence in Education: In his current role at ExcelinEd, he manages the organization’s policy strategy, working with public policymakers and advocacy organizations to advance education reform and next generation models of learning. Previously, he co-founded Whiteboard Advisors, a strategic consulting practice that provides policy counsel and research for philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and investors. He also co-publishedEducation Insider, a series of reports based on a unique survey of the top political and policy “insiders” to forecast education reform trends. He served  at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Bush administration. He coordinated the Administration’s effort to stabilize student loans during the credit crisis which led to the creation of three temporary programs addressing nearly $200 billion of loans which saved taxpayers over $10 billion. In addition, he  served as a top technology and innovation advisor to the Secretary of Commerce where he also focused on immigration and healthcare reform. As the nation’s second Director of Educational Technology and Pennsylvania’s first Director of Educational Technology he launched several initiatives to expand online learning and improve the use of technology and data in education.  John also worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he managed a portfolio of national advocacy grants.

Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Education: Kathleen Styles is the Department of Education’s first Chief Privacy Officer where she serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary on Departmental policies and programs related to privacy and confidentiality. She is a frequent speaker on issues related to student privacy, and she coordinates technical assistance to states, districts, and schools related to privacy best practices and compliance. She heads a new division dedicated to advancing the responsible stewardship, collection, use, maintenance and disclosure of information at the national level within the Education Department. Kathleen is responsible for the Department’s operations relating to the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), records management, information collection clearance, departmental directives, privacy safeguards, and disclosure avoidance. Kathleen is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Texas and the District of Columbia, and she is CIPP-G certified in government information privacy.

Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology: Nuala O’Connor is the President & CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology. She is an internationally recognized expert in Internet and technology policy, particularly in the areas of privacy and information governance.  Previously, Nuala served as the Global Privacy Leader at General Electric (GE), where she was responsible for privacy policy and practices across GE’s numerous divisions. Prior to joining CDT, she worked at Amazon.com as Vice President of Compliance & Consumer Trust and Associate General Counsel for Data & Privacy Protection. Nuala’s time in the technology sector began at DoubleClick, where she was part of a team of professionals brought in to address public outcry over the advertising giant’s proposal to merge on- and offline data sets.  Later, Nuala served as Deputy Director of the Office of Policy & Strategic Planning, Chief Privacy Officer and as the Chief Counsel for Technology at the US Department of Commerce, where she worked on global technology policy including Internet governance and industry best practices. She became the first statutorily appointed Chief Privacy Officer in federal service when she was named as the first Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director and Co-chair, Future of Privacy Forum: Jules serves as Executive Director and Co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. Founded five years ago, FPF is supported by more than 80 leading companies, as well as an advisory board of comprised of the country’s leading academics and advocates. FPF’s current projects focus on online data use, smart grid, mobile data, big data, apps and social media. Jules previous roles have included serving as Chief Privacy Officer at AOL and before that at DoubleClick, as Consumer Affairs Commissioner for New York City, as an elected New York State Legislator and as a congressional staffer, and as an attorney. Jules currently chairs the privacy advisory board of Gigya, and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Cookie Clearinghouse, Frankly and the Center for Copyright Information. He has served on the boards of a number of privacy and consumer protection organizations including TRUSTe, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and the Network Advertising Initiative. From 2011-2012, Jules served on the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

Dr. Charmaine Mercer, Vice President  of Policy and Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent Education: Prior to joining the Alliance, Dr. Mercer worked for Communities for Teaching Excellence as the director of policy and research. In that capacity, she was in charge of overseeing the organization’s policy agenda and directing its research agenda. During the 111th U.S. Congress, Dr. Mercer worked for U.S. Congressman George Miller as the co-lead for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor’s K–12 education team focusing on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Dr. Mercer previously served as special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), where she supported the assistant secretary in attaining ED’s legislative and budgetary priorities. Dr. Mercer graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She went on to earn a master’s degree in American government and a doctoral degree in political science and education policy from the Claremont Graduate University (CA).

Carey Markel, Data Privacy Officer, Colorado Department of Education: Carey Taylor Markel was hired by the Colorado Board of Education in October 2011. She brings a broad range of public and private sector experience to her role as Director of State Board Relations, including partner in a law firm in South Carolina and Of Counsel to Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell in Denver. Most recently, Markel served as Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Education Unit of the Colorado Department of Law where she provided counsel to the State Board of Education and the Department of Education on a variety of matters and issues. While at the Department of Law, Markel served as general counsel to the Board of Trustees of Western State College of Colorado and provided counsel to other Colorado institutions of higher education. Through her service in the Department of Law, Markel developed an extensive knowledge of P-20 systems. Having grown up with educators, Markel has a deep appreciation for the dedication they bring to the profession. Markel holds a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University.

Tom Murray,  State and District Digital Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education: Tom Murray joined the Alliance in May 2014 as the state and district digital learning policy and advocacy director, where he works alongside state education departments, corporations, and school districts across the country to implement digital learning and helps to oversee Project 24. Mr. Murray’s wealth of experience in K–12 digital leadership has been recognized at the national level, which includes implementing a 1:1 program, BYOD, blended learning, and a K–12 cyber school where he served as director of technology and cyber education in the Quakertown Community School District (QCSD) (Bucks County, PA). A former school principal, Mr. Murray is passionate about proper technology infusion and personalized professional learning.

Tom Luna,  Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Idaho: Tom Luna is the former Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction. He served in this position from 2006 to 2015.Previously he was Senior Adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige from 2003 to 2005 and White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities Director from 2003 to 2004. In addition, Luna was Chairman of the Nampa School Board. Before his election to statewide office, Luna made a career in the private sector as a businessman. He was President of Scales Unlimited Incorporated.

John Rice,  Manager of Blended Learning for DC Public Schools: As a proud member of the DC Public Schools family, John leads the district’s blended learning initiatives in all 111 schools. This involves curating, implementing, evaluating, and scaling blended learning models and digital content for all grades and all subject areas. He is also redesigning whole schools to strategically develop blended learning feeder patterns throughout DC that will provide students with continuous access to a blended learning experience throughout their K-12 careers. Prior to his current role, John taught high school English and social studies for 8 years. Most recently, he taught at Anacostia High School in DC and developed the school’s online credit recovery program.

Jonathan Couch,  Vice President, ISIGHT Partners: Jonathan Couch is a co-founder and Vice President of Intelligence Integrations Services (IIS) for iSIGHT Partners, applying his unique experience in converged security to commercial and government interests abroad. IIS assists client organizations transform their security organizations and processes from technology-led to intelligence-led by leveraging cyber threat intelligence to proactively address threats to business operations. Jonathan has over 18 years’ experience in information security, information warfare and intelligence research. His expertise is in leading advanced cyber warfare, cyber security, information operations, and intelligence technologies research, development, analysis, test, fielding, operations, and policy. He served in the Air Force at the National Security Agency, Air Force Information Warfare Center, and in Saudi Arabia as the regional network engineer for the Joint Task Force – Southwest Asia, protecting and managing military networks in 7 countries.

Olga Garcia-Kaplan, Parent Advocate: Olga Garcia-Kaplan is the parent of three children. Two of them school age, in a NYC public school. She is a student data privacy advocate who blogs her Parent Perspectives at the FERPA|Sherpa website advocating for the responsible use of data. Olga is also co-chair of her children's school Diversity Committee and a member of the Testing Task Force, a group of parents and teachers coming together to extend community wide dialogue on the impacts of Federal, State and NYC Department of Ed policies in the daily life of students and teachers. This year, she completed her three year tenure as a member of the school's School Leadership Team representing families of children with special needs. Olga has over 15 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry managing regulatory requirements and submissions to the Securities and Exchange Commission working on diverse projects ranging from IPO launches, M&A projects, Mutual Funds and Proxy related transactions.

Jim Siegl, Technology Architect, Fairfax Country Public Schools, Virginia: Jim Siegl is a Technical Architect specializing in the evaluation and design of enterprise-wide solutions that can scale to meet the needs of the 175,000 students and 22,000 faculty and staff at Fairfax County Public Schools. Mr. Siegl's most recent focus is in the areas of disruptive and emerging technologies including Cloud Computing, Collaborative Applications, Identity Management, Portals, Online Textbooks, Text-to-Speech, Podcasting, and mobile computing.

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Third Grade Teacher, Maury Elementary School: Jennifer has served as a third grade general education teacher for the past several years and previously taught Special Education. Jennifer earned her graduate certificate in Special Education while working for Teach for America in Charlotte, and recently obtained a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Jennifer enjoys hands-on learning, and getting students invested in extensive projects. Her ultimate goal is to positively affect as many students as she can.

Neil Campbell, Policy Director, Foundation for Excellence in Education: Neil serves as the Policy Director for Personalized and Blended Learning for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Neil previously worked as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Education Elements, an education technology company that helps schools design and implement personalized learning solutions. Neil also served at the U.S. Department of Education as a Special Assistant and later Chief of Staff in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development where he focused on the Department’s budget formulation and planning. Neil came to the Department as part of The Broad Residency in Education after receiving his MBA from Vanderbilt University and working at The Boston Consulting Group.

Dr. Cathy Casserly, Vice President of Learning Networks, EdCast Inc.: Dr. Cathy Casserly is an independent strategist, with current engagements include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Net Texts, Inc. and as a Fellow for the Aspen Institute. Previously, Cathy was CEO of Creative Commons, a global non-profit that empowers people and institutions to share their creative, scholarly, and other knowledge assets. As Vice-President at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Cathy spearheaded their early efforts focused on the science of performance improvement in education, and at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched and directed the Open Educational Resources Initiative. Early in her career Cathy was a teacher of mathematics in Kingston, Jamaica and tutored in a high security prison.

Paige Kowalski Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign: Paige Kowalski is Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the Data Quality Campaign. She leads a team of professionals to advance education data policies at the local, state and federal levels that meet the needs of individuals and improve student outcomes. Paige also has significant state and local experience through her tenures with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the University of California, the City and County of San Francisco, and Chicago Public Schools.


Aimee Guidera

President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign



John Bailey

Vice President of Policy, Foundation for Excellence in Education




Kathleen Styles

Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Education




Nuala O’Connor

President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology



Jules Polonetsky

Executive Director and Co-chair, Future of Privacy Forum





Dr. Charmaine Mercer

Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent Education



Carey Markel

Data Privacy Officer, Colorado Department of Education



Tom Murray

State and District Digital Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education



Tom Luna

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Idaho



John Rice

Manager of Blended Learning for DC Public Schools



Jonathon Couch

Vice President, ISIGHT Partners





Olga Garcia-Kaplan

Parent Advocate




Jim Siegl

Technology Architect, Fairfax Country Public Schools, Virginia



Jennifer Fitzpatrick

Third Grade Teacher, Maury Elementary School



Neil Campbell

Policy Director, Foundation for Excellence in Education



Dr. Cathy Casserly

Vice President of Learning Networks, EdCast Inc.





Paige Kowalski

Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign