Jeff Mao’s influence extends far beyond any one state, though he’s made pivotal contributions to educational technology and digital learning in Maine, Nevada and Utah, to name a few.
Mao, the senior director for education at nonprofit Common Sense Education, has most recently dedicated his time to the Future Ready Schools initiative, which works with K-12 school leaders to develop and implement personalized digital learning plans that will benefit all students.
Mao got involved with Future Ready Schools when it was created in 2015. He has played an active role in all 21 Future Ready Summits held to date, he told EdScoop. The summits draw school superintendents and other administrators and offer professional learning, networking, support and other tools to elevate efforts for school innovation.
“At any given summit, it is not uncommon that the districts represented account for over 1 million students,” Mao said.
Tom Murray, who serves as director of innovation for Future Ready Schools, called Mao a “stalwart partner” of the initiative. This year, he said, Mao is leading a program he designed for district IT managers to help them explore and share innovative practices.
“He brings to Future Ready a wealth of experience and knowledge about one-to-one learning programs and policy that few, if any, could match,” Murray told EdScoop.
It’s true. In his own words, Mao is “likely best known as the leader of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative,” which led to the first and largest statewide one-to-one learning program. During that time, Mao authored a multi-state contract that allowed other states to use Maine’s procurement process and contract.
So, when the Nevada legislature voted in 2015 to fund Nevada Ready 21, a statewide one-to-one program, the Nevada Department of Education enlisted Mao as a consultant to support their procurement process, which was modeled after Maine’s.
Mao also served as lead consultant and author of Utah’s statewide digital learning plan, which led to the creation of the Utah Digital Teaching and Learning Grant Program.