In his role as CodeVA’s chief policy advocate, Chris has worked with state policymakers to redefine Virginia as a leader in computer science education. He has co-authored various laws around computer science education innovation, including 2016 legislation that made Virginia the first state in the country to mandate computer science as a core, integrated subject for all students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The proud son of a NASA engineer (a real-live rocket scientist), his career prior to CodeVA was as a journalist with a focus on policy and politics, particularly around issues of K-12 education. Chris has his B.S. in mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he occasionally serves as an adjunct professor.
Rebecca Dovi, Director of Education
A master teacher with more than 15 years of classroom experience and a decade of experience doing professional development and curriculum development at the state and national level. Rebecca serves on the Education Advisory Council for Code.org and is a Google Fellow Trailblazer. In 2013, she was selected by Amplify Education Inc. to become the first K-12 teacher to deliver a MOOC (Massively Open On Line) class. In 2010, she was selected for the development team creating and implementing the new Computer Science Principles course for the College Board and was one of the first four pilots of the course in the nation. She also was a recipient of the Aspirations in Computing award from the National Council of Women in Information Technology and is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences on computer science and on women in technology. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary with a BS in mathematics.
Maggie Smith, Director of Programming
Maggie Smith is a Richmond, Virginia native, educated at Breanu University in Gainesville, Ga. She has been with CodeVA since 2014. As a visual artist and art educator, she is always on the hunt to create flora & fauna from unusual materials. She finds the many connections between craft and technology fascinating and is always trying to learn more.
Zach Mulcahey, Robotics Team Manager and Children’s Programming
Zach Mulcahey is a young professional getting started in the world of computer science education. A former student of Education Director, Rebecca Dovi, Zach got his start with CodeVA during their first summer camp in 2014, and he joined the staff full time in the fall of 2016. During his time at CodeVA, Zach has run a lively robotics program for local students, as well as helped manage the various children’s programs that are offered.
Nathan West, Web Administrator
Nathan West is a junior at VCU studying computer science. He joined CodeVA in 2015 after his journalism professor, Chris Dovi, talked about the great work CodeVA had done. During his time with us, Nathan has experienced a bit of everything CodeVA has to offer. He mainly worked under Rebecca Dovi to organize our Teacher Trainings and he now has lead CodeVA’s team during our website re-launch, which launched in late August 2017. He plans to graduate in May 2019 and hopes to continue his professional career as a software developer.
Elaine Dunn, Executive Assistant
Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of CodeVA. Elaine started at CodeVA on April 17, 2017. Elaine came out of retirement from Communities in Schools of Richmond where she worked from July 1, 2014 to October 23, 2016 as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. Her full-time job for 47 years was with Richmond Public Schools, Department of Human Resources. She served as Coordinator of Human Resources in staffing, certification, benefits management, payroll, records management and served as Assistant Director to the acting Director of Human Resources.
Della Sigrest, Full Steam Ahead Program Manager and Marketing Manager
Della is a meticulous artist, an enthusiastic gardener, and a macgyver in general. She moved to Richmond for her bachelor’s at VCUarts and graduated in three years with a degree in Communication Arts. At CodeVA, you can find Della designing visuals of all kinds and managing special programs like Full STEAM Ahead, a program that’s mission is to empower and enrich young women in their pursuit of STEAM. She loves road trips, complicated board games, tinkering, and all things outdoors.
Affia Pollok, Educator and Volunteer Coordinator
Affia Pollok grew up in Richmond, and graduated from VCU in 2011 with a BS in Urban Planning. Affia currently owns and operates Myers St. Gallery in Scott’s Addition. Affia is integrated in the art community, and is experienced in art restoration. Affia has been involved with Code VA since August 2017. In addition to contributing by teaching through Eureka Workshop, Affia is also responsible for volunteer coordination. She enjoys traveling, cycling and yoga in her free time.
CJ Carnahan, Coordinator of Special Programs
CJ Carnahan was raised in Northern Virginia and has lived in Richmond City for five years. He graduated from VCUarts’ Art Education Department in 2017. He helps create and maintain Code VA’s website, state-wide logistics, database systems, and outreach programs. Additionally, CJ Carnahan uses his art education skills, background in digital and fine arts-based approaches to art making in Code VA’s classrooms to support students in becoming autonomous and informed young adults.
Bryan Wallace, Community Education Manager
Bryan is a native of Birmingham, AL. A recent transplant to Richmond, he earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Computer Science. He worked in the private industry as a software engineer at IBM before returning to the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS Boston) to earn his master’s degree in education – math-based curriculum and instruction through the Boston Teacher Residency program. He has over 10 years experience in education, formal and informal, as a classroom teacher, technology integrator/coach, teacher developer, and curriculum developer. He served with the several education projects including the SERP Institute at Harvard University as a teacher practitioner helping develop Word Generation, a program to use student discourse for interdisciplinary learning. He has a passion to see computer science education made available to all students. As Education Communities Manager, he helps to build and support education communities of practice around the computer science K12 education and implementation of Virginia CS standards statewide. He can easily be replaced by a volunteer and a roomba…its complicated!
Our Board Members
Christie Bieber, ACW Museum.
As Director of Strategic Initiatives at the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar, Bieber is on a four-member leadership team that reports directly to the organization’s president. Her duties are myriad, from working to strengthen programming at Richmond’s flagship Civil War museum, to recent rebranding and marketing campaigns, to architectural development and oversight of construction of the museum’s new state-of-the-art theater and exhibit space. She also is responsible for oversight and development of a multi-million dollar budget, and coordination of the museum’s 25-member Board of Directors. Previously, Bieber was executive director of the Virginia Young Democrats.
Margaret Mayer, Capital One
Margaret Mayer leads the technology strategy and implementation for customer single sign-on migration and future capabilities for the enterprise. Margaret Mayer is accountable also for the enterprise online application framework and online quality engineering practices. Previously led team responsible for Capital One’s marketing website.
Chris Peterson, Capital One
A dynamic leader with over 15 years experience developing analytic solutions to improve profitability, decision making, and manage risk. Diverse experience transforming Big Data into tangible action across the financial services, semiconductor, and telecom industries. Combines insightful analytics with strong business judgment, commitment and tenacity with outstanding communication skills. Recognized as a driven leader capable of setting strategic direction as well as innovating to deliver robust solutions to address complex challenges. Outstanding teacher, mentor, and team builder.
Vida Williams, The Axis Partners
Vida Williams has twenty years of progressive experience in leading technology projects of various scale in a variety technical environments, but specializing in Enterprise Strategy and IT Programs. Experienced in guiding all phases of IT production from design to development to test to implementation. Production planning, team scheduling, budget review and implementation, communication and organization. Her work has evolved over the last 8 years to include full-scale strategic enterprise planning enabling companies to leverage systemic technology to improve process efficiency and thus, the overall effectiveness.
Harold Fitrer, Communities in Schools
Dr. Harold Fitrer joined CIS of Richmond on July 1, 2008 as the Executive Director. Dr. Fitrer has over 30 years of experience working with Richmond Public Schools spanning a career in human resources and supervisory roles including the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative and Support Services. Dr. Fitrer holds an Ed.D. in Administration and Supervision and serves as adjunct faculty for Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education. Dr. Fitrer was most recently awarded the VEAOP State Administrator of the Year, 2005.
Jeff Nelson, Strategic Staffing Solutions
Jeff Nelson is Vice President of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3), a private international IT services firm. Since 2006, Jeff has also served as the General Director of S3 International with headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania; S3I builds shared service centers in Eastern Europe for global companies. In 2015, Jeff became the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Previously, Jeff was Executive Director of The U.S.- Baltic Foundation (www.usbaltic.org) in Washington, DC, a private educational and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening ties between the U.S. and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Rev. Tyrone Nelson, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
Balancing his roles as a committed advocate and a steady mediator for families in the greater Richmond community, Tyrone is both a civic leader and a church leader. As the pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward, Tyrone follows in a long line of community leaders who’ve firmly guided the city’s conscience through good and bad times. He’s served as president and co-president of RISC, Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Communities, an interfaith organization that annually brings together thousands of Richmonders of every denomination to speak with one voice in advocating for social justice and community change.
Andreas Addison, Richmond City Councilman
A civic innovator and channeler of big ideas about how technology moves communities forward and improves lives and outlooks, Andreas has brought some really big ideas to the City of Richmond in his six years with RichmondWorks, the city’s performance management department. It’s all about how the city can serve the citizen, for Andreas, who views that age-old question through the new lens of technology and data analysis. In 2013, Andreas convinced city leaders to enter the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. Through his efforts, Richmond was selected as one among 32 worldwide cities to participate and to receive consultation services from IBM’s world class consultants.
Vinnie Schoenfelder, CapTech
Vinnie Schoenfelder currently serves as CapTech’s Chief Technology Officer with over 20 years of industry experience and over 15 years working for CapTech. Graduating from Roanoke College with a degree in Computer Information Systems, Vinnie has been a lifetime consultant. Working for United Parcel Service, Coopers & Lybrand, The Hunter Group, and now CapTech Vinnie has been a key resource in helping large organizations solve business problems through the use of technology. During the course of Vinnie’s career, he has been a frequent speaker at Fortune 500 companies and technology conferences across North America, and has been engaged with clients in North America, Europe and Canada.
Matt Benedetti, Microsoft
Matt Benedetti has more than twenty-eight years in business, marketing, and government relations. The last nine at the helm of is own government relations company. A comprehensive lobbying and consulting services firm, Matt Benedetti & Associates represents its clients’ interests before legislative bodies and administrative agencies at the state and local level, as well as helping navigate the often rough and muddy waters of the government procurement process. Matt also specializes in multi-state government relations consulting and management.
Greg Samuels, Solvaria
Greg Samuels has spent his 25 years in the IT industry focused on solving business issues using information technology. Now the CEO of Solvaria, he has been a Programmer, Infrastructure Manager, Consultant, Chief Information Officer, and Mentor for many companies across Virginia. A lifelong learner, Greg utilizes his past experiences and current trends in technology to guide companies in making sound technology investments in people, process, and hardware. Greg was the leader of the Richmond Technology Council CIO Forum, and is a current leader in the Virginia Council of CEOs. Greg holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.
Anthony Fung, Tech. Entreprenuer and Former Deputy Secretary of Technology
Anthony Fung served as Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this capacity, Anthony served as a senior adviser to the Commonwealth on technology matters including data analytics, cyber security, innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology operations. Prior to joining the Governor’s Cabinet, Anthony was the CEO of a professional consulting firm, which served as a SCORE counselor, providing advice to small business on start-up best practices, business operations, and strategy. He lives in Richmond with his wife and two children and their dog, Tofu.
Alan Seibert, Salem City Schools
Alan Seibert serves as Superintendent of Salem City Schools. He is Past President of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and a leader in the SOL Innovation Committee. Dr. Seibert has been a catalyst for innovation in curriculum, instruction, assessment and use of meaningful data in his school division; and is a strong advocate for similar statewide reforms. He is also admired for his strength of character and dedication to serving others.
Stewart Roberson, Moseley Architects
An educator for over 35 years, Stewart served as a public school superintendent for 21 years. When he became chairman, president, and CEO of Moseley Architects in 2011, Stewart observed that “public service is in his DNA,” and that he wanted his “second chapter” to include opportunities to provide leadership to an entity serving the public interest. Joining Moseley Architects, with its significant presence in public sector facility design, makes that possible. “I view my second chapter as one in which I’m able to help preserve and enhance a highly successful team focused on outstanding client service and continuous improvement,” reflected Stewart.
Jared Cotton, Chesapeake Public Schools
Dr. Cotton served for more than six years as the Associate Superintendent for Educational Leadership and Assessment for Virginia Beach City Public Schools before being appointed as the Superintendent for Henry County Public Schools in 2012. He served Henry County for over six years, and was recently named the 2019 Virginia State Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Dr. Cotton brings skills and abilities to Chesapeake that include a collaborative leadership style; expertise in strategic planning, curriculum, and instruction; and an ability to address critical needs in spite of limited resources.
Nathan Daugherty, Comcast
First joining Comcast in 2006, Nathan Daugherty is Comcast’s Government Affairs Manager for Central and Southern Virginia. In this role he is responsible for managing the daily activities of the Government and Regulatory Affairs department. This includes reviewing franchise and other contracts for implementation to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory standards, as well as directing Comcast’s local community investment portfolio. A double Wahoo, he graduated from UVA’s Batten School of Public Policy as part of its first postgraduate class.
Jennifer Frayser, Solvaria
Jennifer Frayser is an experienced B2B marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and managed services industries. In her role as the Vice President of Marketing at Solvaria, she leads the company’s marketing strategy, branding, communications and social presences, while also working closely with the sales and service delivery teams to support business development. Prior to joining Solvaria in 2014, Jennifer most recently worked as an account supervisor at a communications firm that provided strategy to nationally-recognized brands to deliver tangible business results. Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and currently resides in Richmond with her husband and daughter.
Dan Cornell, Altria Client Services, Inc.
Dan Cornell serves as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Altria Client Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Altria Group, Inc. Since 2012, he has been responsible for information technology strategy for the Altria family of companies. This includes all application development, data management, technology infrastructure, data center operations and telecommunication networks. He also oversees the strategic technology alignment with Altria Group’s core businesses and departments to meet current and future needs. Dan joined PM USA in 1996 and has held numerous IS management and leadership roles in both Richmond and New York. Dan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a Minor in Management from Old Dominion University. He additionally serves on the Board of Directors for RVATech (Richmond’s Technology Council) and Virginia Repertory Theatre.
Executive Advisory Board
Chuck English, Commonwealth of Virginia
Chuck English has designed, developed, and supported new and innovative programs in schools, school districts and informal education centers in several states. He has worked in museums as an education director and taught science and science education from elementary school through college. As education centers, especially informal education centers, are looking at new ways to engage and inspire their audience, Chuck’s work has evolved into program development, evaluation and strategic planning. In his previous role as Director of Playful Learning at the Science Museum of Virginia, Chuck worked to create programming both inside and outside the Museum to engage families in STEM learning, with particular focus on underserved audiences. In his new role as Virginia STEM Coordinator, Chuck is working to pull together the great wealth of opportunities and experiences across the Commonwealth associated with STEM. Many stakeholders are working hard to create enriching STEM experiences; however, they are often working in isolation. In his role, Chuck is working to ensure sure STEM efforts work collaboratively, sharing experiences, resources and effort.
Dr. Tiffany Jana, TMI Consulting
Dr. Tiffany Jana is the CEO of the TMI Portfolio of companies, a network of socially responsible, interconnected companies that cultivate organizational inclusion worldwide. TMI was the world’s first diversity and equity focused Certified Benefit (B) Corporation. Dr. Jana’s military upbringing, and subsequent predilection towards travel, exposed them to dozens of countries and cultures that made them question whether all of the focus of difference and discrimination was the best use of human energy. As a multiple minority (including race, gender identity, and invisible disability), Dr. Jana has always believed that if they could only help people see the vast depth, complexity, and beauty of the human experience, perhaps people would be kinder to each other. Dr. Jana’s speaking style is inspiring, engaging, high-energy, and relatable. Dr. Jana’s preferred pronouns are ‘they/them’ but ‘she/her’ is not offensive to them.
Mike Doerr, Paymerang
Mike Doerr currently serves as the Vice-President of Public Sector Business Development for Paymerang, a financial services business to business payments automation and outsourcing company in Chesterfield County, Virginia. He also serves on the advisory board for an insurance technology comparison startup called MagicQuote. Mike helped CodeVA enhance its support from the corporate and philanthropic community, helped launch its successful Virginia is for Computer Science Lovers efforts, and was a strong advocate for Virginia becoming the first state in the country to adopt standards on computer science education in its public schools under Governor McAuliffe. He has served in senior staff and advisory roles for a number of prominent Virginia political leaders including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Fahryka Elliot, Henrico County
Fahryka Elliott currently serves as the educational specialist for business & information technology and marketing programs in Henrico County and provides instructional support to more than 80 middle and high school business and marketing teachers. She has earned degrees from Virginia Union University, Virginia State University, and George Washington University and has also achieved National Board Certification for teachers in 2012. Fahryka has 13 years of classroom experience as a business teacher at Henrico High School and Highland Springs High School and has taught a myriad of business & information technology courses, including Programming, Web Design, and Database Design and Programming with SQL and PL/SQL. As an educational specialist, Fahryka has brought computer science into several secondary business classrooms and works closely with Code VA administration to ensure that her teachers are well-prepared for CS success in their classrooms. Fahryka understands that Computer Science can open doors of opportunity for all students, no matter their economic status or intellectual abilities, and is looking forward to serving on the Advisory Board for Code VA.
Thomas Taylor, Chesterfield County Deputy Superintendent
Thomas Taylor is the Deputy Superintendent for Chesterfield County Public Schools, supervising the daily operations of 65 schools with over 61,000 students and more than 8,000 employees in Virginia’s 5 th largest school system. He began his career in public education in 2000 as a substitute teacher in the tidewater area of Virginia. Since then, he has served as a coach, social studies teacher, and administrator in numerous Virginia school divisions. In 2008, Dr. Taylor became principal of Charlottesville High School and in 2012 was named the University of Virginia’s Outstanding Alumni Principal. He was appointed Superintendent of Middlesex County Public Schools in the same year, where he served for nearly four years and was subsequently named the Region 3’s Superintendent of the Year in 2016. Since 2016, he has served Chesterfield County Public Schools various senior leadership roles – Executive Director of School Administration/Chief of Schools, Chief Academic Officer, Chief of Staff, Acting Chief Financial Officer, and now as Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Taylor holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and a doctoral degree in education policy studies from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and also holds master’s degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Dr. Taylor is an adjunct professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Virginia and regularly speaks at national and state meetings for various professional organizations.