Curiosity in Education

6:00–8:00pm @ The Franklin Institute

Join a panel of world-class educators discuss how the idea of curiosity in education and how it informs their practice.


  • Milton Chen, Executive Director Emeritus, George Lucas Education Fund
  • RaFranz Davis - Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD
  • Antero Garcia, PhD - Assistant Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Stephanie Sandifer - School Designer, Administrator, Teacher - Houston ISD.


Milton Chen - Dr. Milton Chen is senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a non-profit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area producing the award-winning website on innovative K-12 learning. He served as executive director of GLEF from 1998 to 2010. Dr. Chen has been the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco; director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, helping develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact; and an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During 2007-08, he was one of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars.

Dr. Chen serves as chairman of the Panasonic Foundation in New Jersey, which supports superintendent leadership and district improvement, and is a member of the board of trustees for Sesame Workshop. He chairs the education committee for the National Park System Advisory Board, advancing the agency’s work in STEM and humanities education.

Dr. Chen’s career has been honored by the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Congressional Black Caucus. He recently received the NHK-Japan President’s Award for contributions to educational media and was named an Honorary Ranger by the National Park Service. His 2010 book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, was named as one of the year’s best education books by the American School Board Journal. Perhaps most importantly, on his 50th birthday, Dr. Chen was named a Jedi Master by George Lucas!

Rafranz Davis - Rafranz Davis is currently sharing her relentless passion for innovative learning as the Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Lufkin ISD. She is a trailblazer in every facet of her endeavors and has dedicated her career to empowering students and teachers to share their voices throughout their communities and the world. Rafranz uses her platform across the edtech ecosystem to advocate for creative learning through making while simultaneously challenging communities through the lens of digital equity and diversity.

Rafranz has written for many different publications and is the author of The Missing Voices in EdTech: Bringing Diversity Into EdTech For more information, her website is

Antero Garcia - Antero Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University where he studies how technology and gaming shape both youth and adult learning, literacy practices, and civic identities. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Antero was an English teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. His most recent research studies explore learning and literacies in tabletop roleplaying games Dungeons & Dragons and how participatory culture shifts classroom relationships and instruction. Based on his research focused on equitable teaching and learning opportunities for urban youth through the use of participatory media and gameplay, Antero co-designed the Critical Design and Gaming School—a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero’s research has appeared in numerous journals including The Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, and Reading and Writing Quarterly. His most recent books are Good Reception: Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (with Nicole Mirra and Ernest Morrell), and Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction (with Cindy O'Donnell-Allen). Antero received his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Antero is on Twitter at @anterobot.

Stephanie Sandifer - Stephanie Sandifer is an educator with over 20 years of experience at the K-12 and college levels. She has experience in face-to-face, blended, and online learning settings as well as in leadership roles that encompass a wide range of school administration and curriculum, instructional, and professional development leadership. Stephanie has led comprehensive school improvement initiatives at two Houston ISD high schools and led the design and initial implementation of the mobile, blended, and personalized learning model for the A+ Unlimited Potential (A+UP) Charter School located in the Houston Museum District. The learning model at A+UP has resulted in students achieving an average of more than 2.7 years of growth in reading & 2.3 years of growth in math within a single year. Stephanie has authored and co-authored books & chapters on educational technology topics, consulted on a diverse range of education projects around the country, presented sessions and workshops at regional and national education and edtech conferences, and serves on the advisory board for the SXSWedu Conference. She is also active as a parent volunteer at the HISD elementary school attended by her three children. As a Houston-based public school educator and a parent of public school students, Stephanie is committed to working with other educators and community members to re-envision the learning experience, increase student voice and choice, and to ensure that Houston-area public schools provide new opportunities and new outcomes for all students equitably. For more information, follow Stephanie on Twitter @ssandifer or visit her website