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Who We Are

SparkLab Leaders in each participating district advise and support students participating in SparkNC's interdistrict model. SparkNC supports SparkLab Leaders through the efforts of the core SparkNC Team, a small group of Strategic Advisors, SparkNC’s Business Advisory Council, and an amazing group of engaged and committed SparkNC Partners. Click on the links or scroll down to learn more about each of these groups of leaders and how they collaborate to guide and shape the work of SparkNC.

SparkLab Leaders

Jessica Tinnin

Asheboro City Schools

Nina Darnell

Cabarrus County Schools

Victoria Sylvestre

Chatham County Schools

Marquita Faison-Burrus

Edgecombe County Schools

Zaina René

Elizabeth City Pasquotank Schools

Daniel DuLany
Granville County Schools

Garland Beamer

Lexington City Schools

Brittany Branch

Mount Airy City Schools

Sara Toothman

New Hanover Schools

Yolanda Stubblefield

Rockingham County Schools

Ashlynn McNeely

Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Roshein McClain

Scotland County Schools

Nicholas Barrett

Vance County Schools

The heartbeat of SparkNC is our SparkLab Leaders. These innovative educators advise and support students participating in learning experiences in SparkNC’s interdistrict model.

SparkLab Leaders co-design and deliver in-person learning experiences to students in their SparkLabs, and they partner with other SparkLab Leaders and industry experts to deliver blended and remote learning experiences to students across the SparkNC interdistrict network.


SparkLab Leaders validate and critique student work, help students build their digital portfolios, and develop partnerships with high-tech businesses locally and throughout North Carolina. SparkLab Leaders are the “lead learners” in a new and evolving model for education, actively engaging in the iterative design of SparkNC.

 Lynn Moody

Joe Ableidinger
Executive Director

Dana Brinson
Senior Director of Strategic Programs and Development

Patricia Hilliard
Senior Director of
District Leadership

The SparkNC Team

The SparkNC Team

The SparkNC Team supports the SparkLab Leaders and guides the work of SparkNC’s Strategic Advisors, Business Advisory Council, and Partners. Our team is deliberative and strategic, but also impatient and driven to action. We are passionate about transforming learning, particularly for those who have been disengaged or left behind by traditional systems. We believe strongly in public education and the power of innovative educators to build impactful, personalized learning experiences for all kinds of learners.

Amie Caudle

Creative Director

McClain Musson
Director of Learning Design
and Accessibility

Stacey Shumake
Director of Learning
Environment and Platform

Renée Habersetzer

Director of Operations and Administration

Scott Benson


Trail B, LLC

Linda Bernard

Chief Learning Officer

Ultisim Inc.

David Wyrick

Chief Innovation Officer

Innovate UNCG

Tech industry panel speaking to Spark Scholars at the Tech Creatives Summit in July 2023.

SparkNC Business Advisory Council

Members of the SparkNC Business Advisory Council serve as thought partners in our work, brainstorming with our team to vet bold ideas from the perspective of business leaders with a deep commitment to K-12 public education.

Live Units are designed and led by SparkLab Leaders and industry experts in a live format either in-person or virtually in SparkLabs. Live Units will be available to students across the network of SparkNC districts and are great for those who enjoy learning in a cohort and a time-limited way. Keep checking on the SparkNC platform for new Live Units that will be launched throughout the year!

Experiential Units are live events and programs such as student conferences and summits, hack-a-thons, teamships, job shadowing and hands-on learning opportunities. They might be offered in SparkLabs, at high-tech companies, with university and community college partners, or at other sites across participating communities. Experiential Units take place in real-world settings that help learners build familiarity and comfort within professional and high-tech environments.

On-Demand Units on the SparkNC platform are available for learners to choose and complete at any time that works for them. These Units can be done by a single learner, or students can partner with others to learn in a small group to collaborate and encourage one another's progress.

SparkNC Strategic Advisors

SparkNC has enlisted the support of a small group of Strategic Advisors to add valuable perspectives to our work in areas at the intersection of education, innovation, leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and industry.

Adam Garry

ArtificiaI Intelligence Consultant

Dexter Robinson


Jena Collins

Apple, Inc.

Manager, Strategic Initiatives

Kate Groat

Live Oak Bank

Director of Corporate Philanthropy

Steve Isaacs
Senior Manager
Programs and Partnerships

Sujatha (Suj) Perepa


Distinguished Engineer


SparkNC Board of Directors
Coming Soon


Students own their learning journeys. SparkNC lets students choose learning experiences to explore fields like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, game development & design, and computer systems engineering.


Through partnerships with tech businesses, SparkNC helps students develop professional networks and build the “success skills” employers value. Students gain a competitive edge by completing real-world projects that create strong portfolios of relevant work.


Students move at the pace of learning. They can speed up, or slow down, based on their passions, their abilities, and their learning styles. SparkNC sets learning targets and empowers expert educators to advise and support students on personalized paths to success.

We are grateful to work with an extraordinary network of partners who collaborate with our team to design and deliver learning experiences, support SparkNC’s operations and strategy development, and host special events to help students ignite their futures in tech!

Our Partners

What We Do.

SparkNC is supporting NC districts to pilot new interdistrict approaches to teaching and learning that will accelerate student progress on pathways to careers in high-tech fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning, software development, computer systems engineering, and cybersecurity.

Why We Do It?

Too few learners know about high-tech jobs that will dominate the future job market in North Carolina. Even fewer see pathways for themselves into these jobs.

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