Twin Cities Startup Week 2020 Twin Cities Startup Week 2020
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Scaling Through User Voice: Evaluating Your Attention to Educator Voices

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Elizabeth Orme
Creatively Focused, Founder and CEO

Elizabeth founded Creatively Focused and built a talented team of educators whose work will increase the national retention rate of special education teachers. Creatively Focused was named one of the 20 Startups to Watch in 2020 by Minne Inno and completed the year driving $2MM in revenue. In August 2021, they launched axis3, a web-based platform connecting the brainwork and heartwork of the special educator. Creatively Focused is a leader of innovation and technology in education.

With a background in urban settings with low-income populations, Elizabeth has worked extensively in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, co-teaching implementation and development, and transition-based planning. Before founding Creatively Focused, Elizabeth taught in the Chicago Public School system and conducted research for the University of Chicago Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center. She then worked as a teacher, school administrator, and Special Education Director for Twin Cities Academy, a charter school on the east side of Saint Paul. Elizabeth had a vision to create an organization that could support school systems in a creative way instead of following the status quo. 

Becky Vavrichek
Creatively Focused, Project Manager

Becky’s experience in education spans across several facets. Her background includes teaching grades K-5 both in the classroom and in an online environment. Before joining Creatively Focused, she was a project manager and instructional designer with Edmentum for over 7 years. As a project manager, she excels in building a strong, diverse, team that delivers high quality results on time.

Daryl Vavrichek
Edmentum, Education Programs Consultant

Over the last 20 years, Daryl has worked in education wearing nearly all of the hats. Starting out in a 5th grade classroom he has built up programming through coordinator hats in curriculum, Technology, and assessment. He really honed his passion for building things as Director of Education at an online school for several years. Be it a patio, furniture or a statewide online school, there are several ideas in his brain at any given time. Today, Daryl continues to support programs through program consulting and large scale project implementations at Edmentum.  

Sabina Saksena
Cytilife, Founder/CEO
Nathan Strenge
Fielding International, Senior Learning Designer

Nathan is a Senior Learning Designer at Fielding International in Minneapolis, a global leader in designing schools where learners thrive. Nathan also serves as USA Country Lead for Finnish nonprofit HundrED and is an active member of Education Reimagine’s Learning Lab and Transcend's Design Community. He is the co-founder of Exploration High School, a learner-center public school opening in NE Minneapolis in fall 2021. In spring 2020, Nathan leveraged his local, national, and international networks to lead a COVID response series called From Gathering to Transformation with 1,000+ participants from all across the globe.

User voice is imperative in all businesses. In education, it is critical for companies to understand the impact their product or service will have on all stakeholders - students, parents, teachers, and administrators. What does listening to the user voice in education really look like? How can our strategies impact our ability to scale? Through a combination of panel discussions and small group activities, participants will have the opportunity to hear from companies focused on building directly off of student/teacher/administrator voice, evaluate their own company's practices in listening to user voices, and finally, identify a concrete next step to increasing their company's listening skills.