DENvisory Board Elections

We’re thrilled to share a new level of membership within the DEN.  Our DENvisory Board, consisting of 5 DEN Leadership Council (DENLC) members, will be formed soon, with the goals of representing the DEN, providing feedback to the DEN Team, and helping guide and shape the future of the Discovery Educator Network.  The nominations are complete and it’s time to share the finalists for the DENvisory Board positions.  ALL DEN Members can vote in this election.  Five of these nominees will be selected to serve a two-year term representing YOU on the DENvisory Board.

Below you will find a photo and a brief statement from each candidate.  Please read the statements and then vote for your choice.  You can only vote once, and only DEN members may vote.  Voting ends on August 10th.


Jan Abernethy – I really want to be super involved. That’s what Porter said needs to be your mantra, and I really want to be super involved. My three children are raised and have moved out of the house. I have finished the Wilkes Master program, I have more time on my hands and I am ready to take on some responsibility. I LOVE the DEN!!!! Collaborating with other DEN Stars over the past five years has been amazing. Working with like-minded educators has allowed me to leave my island, learn from others, and prosper. Every year I am able to offer my students so much more than the year before and I tribute that to the DEN. I look at a chance to serve on the DENvisory Board as a way for me to give back to the DEN.


Tally Burkhart – I want to represent and serve the LC. I have been heavily involved in DEN and the LC for about 4 years now, so this is my next step. I love organizing and am super-interactive. I love my DEN friends and hope to be a part of the DENvisory Board.




LeeAnne Daughrity – While I could write a long speech sharing my thoughts and my joy in serving, I am going to refrain and make this short and sweet. I want to serve, because I enjoy serving. I love learning. I love helping people find the courage to speak and to become experts at something they enjoy. I love finding and spotlighting the best in people. I love being part of something much greater than me! I love the DEN!



Mary Del Bianco – I am crazy invested in improving the opportunity to learn for all learners, and I believe the DEN is the best organization out there to reach out to all learners. all ages, all kinds of learning styles, all folks every where. I know that is a pie in the sky goal, but I have been interested in ed reform for 20 years, first as an art teacher and now as a tech integration specialist. In my efforts to help move forward with change, I serve on the Maryland Society for Educational Technology. That position allows me to participate in state level conversations about improving education. But I believe the DEN has the best shot at making it happen because of the support from Discovery and the enthusiasm of the DEN members. I want to continue to work for change and I want to do it with the DEN.

David Fisher – I want to be part of this group as it will have the opportunity and ability to take the members’ ideas and turn them into actionable items that will make the DEN the premier professional development organization in education today and for the future. I want to be part of the group that will be able to pay it forward to our newest DEN members with programs that will continually and consistently inspire them to grow the DEN and contribute training to its members. I want to be part of the group that has the ability to implement positive changes in the lives of students and teachers across the country even if their school districts don’t subscribe to Discovery Education through the creation of an outreach program by the DEN members. I want to be part of the group that does what is right for the students, right for educators, and right for the profession.

Monique Liles – I want to serve on the DENvisory Board because I have many great ideas to offer. I love the DEN and Discovery Education, and promote this resource to every teacher that I meet and work with. The Discovery Educator Network is the greatest networking and resource service for teachers in existence, and I want everyone to know about how wonderful this resource is.  I have been an active member of the DEN community for a couple of years, I am uniquely positioned to serve on the DENvisory Board and provide support and ideas to the DEN community. I have taken an active leadership role in the DEN by helping to organize the Georgia DEN LC, and serving as the Georgia LC Blog Coordinator for the past couple of years.

Cheryl Lykowski – I truly feel that the DEN is my extended family and we are connected, not by genes, but by the stronghold of connections and collaborations that are part of my daily life. I know that I can reach out to the DEN and its members for anything, both professional and personal, and will get an answer to my call. This is the reason I want to be a part of the DENvisory Board. Someone once said, “True networking is a gift you give to others.” True networking, I believe is built with meaningful relationships and connections and where learning from each other and paying it forward is an integral part of the gift. This powerful gift of family, networking and connections is what I want to be able to pass on to others. I want to help others understand the power of the DEN and how it can benefit them both personally and professionally.

Eileen Malick – My enthusiasm mixed with authentic real-world examples would not have generated the success in my community without the support of the DEN and the DEN LC for many years. This will also be my 2nd year with the Lego Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) where I have been collaborating with LEGO Education to develop classroom solutions and curriculum that elevate STEM concepts and 21st century learning skills At the last LEGO LEAP session when the DEN community was recognized, by coincidence I wore my DEN Leadership Council shirt and announced, “I am a member of the DEN, and they have been expecting your call!” I also function as a 21st PLC (professional learning community), and with the MathScience Innovation Center as a 21st Century Fellow in the subjects of Engineering, Fractals, and Nanotechnology. I am also a Robotics Mentor (Team 1599), Industrial Advisory Board Member for VCU, Vice President of the Virginia CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association), and Summer Camp Director for middle school and elementary school children. I also use my DEN blog ( ) and a variety of social media to communicate innovations. I have a genuine love for the DEN and have participated in the Summer Institute, and have presented at DEN conferences. I have even visited DEN HQ for fun because their building was the only LEEDS Platinum building in the area for its environmental excellence. So please vote for someone who is consistent and embraces the constant changes of technology and STEM, and who has consistently been active in the DEN.

Rita Mortensen – I have been actively involved with a variety of DEN events since the DEN first started, and have found creative ways to use Discovery content in the classroom to engage students. Over the years, I have attended the DEN summer institutes, presented DEN webinars as a DEN Guru, written blog posts, coordinated DEN events such as a photo walk, virtual conferences and even hosted Hall Davidson and Steve Dembo for our all district staff development days!  “Rita serves and leads by example. She advocates for resources and training needed to achieve this level of dedication, and then she provides the ongoing support to make this happen. Through her work, she has become a DEN Star, DEN GURU and an Apple Distinguished Educator. Her increased participation in outside groups provides additional levels of resources and support to all. Rita is a strong asset to our school, its programming, and its continued growth. Her vision provides leadership and guidance, as schools work to become a platform for 21st century learning.” – Teresa Voss, LMC Director @ VAHS and STAR Discovery Educator.

Betsy Ruffin – Experience, enthusiasm and extra time to give to the DEN cause — that’s Betsy Ruffin, candidate for the DEN Advisory Board.  I’m an educator with 30+ years of experience, including regular and special education at all levels, librarian-media specialist and technologist; have been a DEN member since 2005, a STAR since the inception of the program and an LC member for 3 years,  2012 DENny award as DEN Legend, frequent DEN blogger, still promoting Discovery Education and the DEN at my district even as a retiree!  I retired this year so I have time to give to the DEN Advisory Board and its activities.


Cheryl Woolwine – I love to share Discovery with People! I am a great supporter of Discovery throughout Florida! Would love to help Discovery and the DEN grow in even more places!





DON’T FORGET TO VOTE – Voting ends on August 10th.


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  1. Joe Fromme said:

    What an awesome group!!! The DEN is DENfinitely in GREAT hands.

  2. Allison Bakken said:

    Vote for only one? How am I supposed to do that! Look at all these DENrific people!

  3. Carolyn Stanley said:

    I just voted. What a great selection. I wish the winners the best and hope DE finds a special place for those who didn’t get the votes. Notice, I didn’t say those who don’t win because it looks as if all of the candidates are already WINNERS!

  4. heasulli said:

    You a’re all truly deserving! Thanks for continuing to inspire us all 🙂

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