About the Leadership Council

JM Business Card

Anne Truger (JessieMarie Flanagan, SL)

Anne is an Instructional Technology Specialist with the Special Education District of Lake County in Illinois. She has been a special education teacher for 16 years and has a masters in Instructional Technology. Anne is a Discovery Star educator and a member of the DEN in SL Leadership Council. Anne has presented at both state and national technology conferences for the last 10 years and she is the Co-Chair for ICE Conference (Illinois Computing for Educators). In world Anne is known as JessieMarie Flanagan. Currently JM, as she is affectionately known, is also an intern with ISTE in SL.


Beth Business Card


Beth Knittle MA & M. Ed. (Beth Kohnke, SL)

Beth is a District Wide K12 Technology Integration Specialist.  She is a Star Discovery Educator and a member of the DEN in SL Leadership Council.  Beth has presented at state and national conferences and leads the MassCUE Special Interest Group on Universal Design for Learning. Beth has also worked with several educational organizations, K-12 and higher ed, in creating an educational presence in Second Life.



Riptide Business Card

Fred Delventhal, M.Ed., (Riptide Furse, SL)

Fred works as senior level Instructional Technology Coordinator in Arlington Public Schools, Virginia. He has presented at Northern Virginia Technology Educational Consortium conferences, the Technology and Learning Symposia (Virginia), and the Virginia Department of Education Educational Technology Leadership Conference. Fred has worked as an adjunct professor for George Mason University Instructional Technology Certificate Program and for the Four Rivers Consortium (Virginia). Along with the teachers Fred works with, he has won multiple awards at the MHzNetworks International Shortie Film Festival. He is a Discovery Star Educator. He recently flew with a team of teachers aboard NASA’s Weightless Wonder Microgravity Jet through the NASA Explorer Schools program. Fred serves as the DEN in SL Leadership Council Chair where he is known as Riptide Furse. Along with his Leadership Council he has presented several times in Second Life to both virtual audiences as well as live.


Lor Business Card

Lori Abrahams, MA in Education (Lor Fredriksson, SL)

Lori Abrahams has been an educator for 37 years in IL and GA. She has taught 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and instructional technology for K-8. She is currently an Information Literacy Teacher at Frederick School in Grayslake for 5th and 6th grades. Lori has been an active Illinois Computing Education (ICE) member and NICE member, was President and Mini-conference Chair for NICE, Secretary of ICE for 4 years, Chapter Liaison for 5 years, has been the program chair for the ICE conference, formerly called IL-TCE, the past 9 years, and was on the NECC 2001 program committee. Lori has presented locally the past 15 years various technology workshops and presented at NECC in 2008 and 2009. She is a Discovery STAR Educator, a DEN in SL Leadership Council Member and Events Chair, a certified SMARTboard trainer and is iSafe certified.



Mary Del Bianco (Telos String, SL)

Mary is the technology integration specialist for a non-public (parochial) school in Kensington, MD. She is a STAR educator and serves on 2 Leadership Councils. Mary is also on the board of the Maryland Society for Educational Technology (formerly known as MICCA). Before transitioning into her current position 3 years ago, Mary was an art teacher for 17 years.  Her passion for understanding how we learn and her mission to help all children actively engage in learning led her to study Technology for Education at Johns Hopkins University.  She is very much a constructivist educator, so her affiliation with Discovery Education and Second Life seems inevitable, as both demand creating and collaborating. She recently finished a graduate leadership certificate with JHU in Out-of-School Time Learning.  Mary believes that learning is a 24/7 activity, and quality programs incorporating educational technologies must be made available to all children, including outside of the regular school day. Mary conducts on-going professional development for teachers and has presented at MSET’s annual conference, the International Visual Literacy Association conference and the Archdiocese of Washington Educators Conference.


Laelia Business Card

Nancy Sharoff, MST, MS (Instructional Technology), SDA (Laelia Laval, SL)

Nancy grew up in Europe attending Department of Defense schools in Germany.  After receiving her Bachelor’s degree she worked as an Academic Advisor for the University of Maryland, European Division.  Upon completion of her MST she taught at the elementary and middle schools Ellenville, New York.  She went on to complete a Master’s in Instructional Technology and certification for School District Administrator.  In addition to a K-12 setting, Nancy has developed and taught various workshops and graduate level courses in the areas of visual literacy, educational technology, cyberbullying and reading.  She has presented at local, state, national, and virtual levels.  She is a DEN Guru for Visual Literacy, Discovery STAR Educator (a DEN in SL Leadership Council Member and Blog Chair), Google Certified Teacher, and is iSafe Certified .



Patti Ruffing (Vita Demina, SL)

Pat has taught in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, for 25 years.  After teaching a variety of subjects from junior high math and science to Spanish and music, for the past ten years she has been a technology coordinator and network administrator, while providing  tech support and professional development for staff. She is currently enrolled in the Discovery Wilkes Masters Program in Instructional Media. Patti has been a STAR Discovery Educator since 2006, served as a DEN in SL guide, enjoys helping newcomers become acclimated to SL, and currently is a member of the DEN in SL Leadership Council where she helps to coordinate events and occasionally contributes to the DEN in SL blog. 



Valaina Maher (Valaina Shepherd, SL)

Val is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) for an elementary school for Prince William County Schools in Virginia and has two Master degrees, one in Early Childhood Education and another in Educational Technology Specialist. She has taught for over 30 years in private and public elementary schools in MO, IL, PA, NY and VA.  Valaina is a SMART Exemplary Educator, a Google Certified Teacher, a Discovery Star Educator and served as a guide in Second Life before becoming part of the SL Leadership Council.  She has presented for her district, the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) conference, and at NECC 2009.