BioIn 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.
Christie Bieber Deputy Director
BioChristie joined the staff at CodeVA in early 2020 after serving 6 years on its Board of Directors, the last 5 as its Chair. Prior to CodeVA, Christie worked at the American Civil War Museum in positions of progressing responsibility, completing her 10-year tenure after serving as its Interim CEO. Christie earned her Masters of Business Administration from VCU in 2019. Her first experience with Computer Science education was a Visual Basics class while pursuing her undergraduate degree in International Studies from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, long before there were internet tutorials.
Rebecca Dovi Director of Education
BioA 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 Children’s Programming
BioMaggie Smith is our Director of Children’s Programs and has been with CodeVA’s Eureka Workshop since day one. She is an art educator with interest in child-centered education and play-based curricula. Her background is in gallery and museum education. Maggie uses the classrooms at CodeVA’s Eureka Workshop to combine craft and computer science. She loves learning with the Eureka staff as they create arts-integrated programs for kiddos.
Perry Shank Curriculum Manager
BioPerry Shank is the Curriculum Manager for CodeVA facilitating learning experiences through training curriculum for statewide professional development participants. He has taught all at all levels of K-12 public education and has worked with the Virginia Department of Education to review the VA State Computer Science K-12 Standards and has co-written the new VA Computer Science 9-12 Curriculum Frameworks. Perry received his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction. He holds a Professional VA teaching certification with endorsements in PreK-12th Music, Bus/IT, and Computer Science.
Anita Crowder Research and Evaluation Manager
BioA former engineer turned high school mathematics, engineering, and computer science teacher, Anita served as the Chair of the Technology Focus Area of the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology. She has teaching endorsements in Computer Science, Gifted Education, English (6-12), and Mathematics (6-12) and has a passion for integrating technology and computer science into the arts in ways that challenge norms and student perceptions about STEM. She has been an AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) Facilitator for CodeVA and Code.org for the last four years and an AP Reader and Table Lead for the AP CSP exam for the past three years. After earning her doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Educational Psychology, she turned her focus to research on increasing the number of students from underrepresented populations in STEM and computer science, which she has presented educational research at national and international conferences.
Bryan Wallace Community Education Manager
BioBryan 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!
Megan Graybill K5 Facilitator and Curriculum Coordinator
BioThis is Megan Graybill’s fourth summer with CodeVA as a K5 Facilitator and recently Curriculum Coordinator. Megan graduated from Radford University and earned her master in Educational Leadership from Virginia Tech. Over the past 12 years she has taught Elementary in Roanoke City and Roanoke County, currently with Salem City Schools as an 8th grade Introduction to Computer Science teacher and Computer Science coordinator where she works with students and teachers to support implementation of the VA Computer Science SOLs. She has participated in multiple Computer Science Curriculum Writing teams including the VDOE’s Computer Science Curriculum Framework and NEA Computer Science Micro-credentials and The Governor’s STEM Education Commission. Megan is committed and excited about helping support all teacher’s efforts to bring CS to ALL!
Blythe Samuels AP CSP Lead Facilitator
BioI have spent the last 22 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2 Honors, AP Computer Science – Principles, and AP Computer Science – A. I am the lead facilitator for CodeVA’s Computer Science Principles Educator Training. My biggest goal is to share best practices in teaching computer science, create an inclusive community to promote diversity in our classrooms and outreach programs and to collaborate together to maintain an active teaching community.
Sonia Vanhook Hub Manager and Facilitator
BioSonia Vanhook is employed by the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon where she is the Director of Educational Outreach as well as the Code Virginia Hub Manager. Mrs. Vanhook holds a Master of Science from ODU, a Graduate Certificate in eMarketing from UVA, her MBA with a Concentration in Executive Management, and a BS in Secondary Education with a Proficiency in Business. Sonia is certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia to teach Business and Information Technology, by the Virginia Community College System to teach online programs, and by Quality Matters as a Peer Reviewer for online courses. She is a Board Member of the American Advertising Federation, a Steering Committee Member of SWVHEC College for Older Adults, Vice-President of Public Relations for Wolf Hills Toastmasters, and a member of the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.
Natalie Rhodes Logistics Coordinator
BioNatalie Rhodes has been with Code VA for the last 5 years as a Middle School Facilitator and more recently as the Online Coordinator. She developed two of Code VA’s newest teacher training workshops; the Middle School Coaches Academy and the Middle School Integration Day. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Shenandoah University and her Master’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University in Curriculum and Instruction and Instructional Technology.Natalie is an Instructional Technology Resource Coach in Shenandoah County with 15 years in education. Prior to this role, she was a 7th grade life science teacher in the same county. She is passionate about student learning and teacher education and continues to support her love of computer science.
Jessie Vernon Southside Tobacco Commission Region Coordinator; Danville Hub Manager
BioJessie works as a Program Coordinator at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, VA, where she serves as CodeVA’s hub manager. Jessie was thrilled to join CodeVA and further support computer science education opportunities throughout southern Virginia. As a very detail-oriented person, Jessie is extremely proud of her role in handling all the logistics and planning for the annual Career ChoICE Youth Expo (link to www.sovacareerchoice.org) which sees over 4,000 students over two days. Her work at IALR and with CodeVA align with her passion for helping prepare our youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Jessie lives for quality time with friends and family, musicals, good food, and books (even if most of the ones she’s reading these days are children’s books).
Pamela Crook Outreach Coordinator
BioPamela worked as a project manager and recruiter in the corporate arena for over 10 years and transitioned into education where she has worked for the past 15 years. During those years, Pamela has taken on various roles including Exceptional Education Teacher, Exceptional Education Case Manager, and Coordinator of Assessment and Remediation. Currently, she works for Code VA as an Outreach Coordinator and is an advocate for ensuring computer science education is available to every student in Virginia by increasing Code VA’s presence across the state.
Zach Mulcahey Deputy Director of Children’s Programming
BioZach 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.
Thomas Brownell Lead Educator
BioThomas (he/they) is a teaching artist, DJ, and has been with the Eureka Workshops team for 2 years. He’s a graduate of VCUarts’ Art Education department and minored in Crafts/Material Studies in 2017. In the Eureka Workshop classrooms he combines two of his biggest passions: music and teaching in classes like “Coding with the DJ” and “Soundscapes in Earsketch”. “It feels so special to be able to incorporate lessons of musical and cultural history in classes about technology and computer science in the classroom” he says. “The skills and experiences students are getting in the classes empower them to be open and creative and experiment with new ideas in the classroom.”
Pepper Blush IT Technician and Instructor
BioPepper Blush (she/her) is Eureka Workshop’s IT Technician and Classroom Instructor. She is a trained artist who specializes in pixel art. Her classes center an approach to game development from an artist’s perspective using free, open, and accessible tools. She is constantly scouting the internet for programs that lower the barrier to entry for game development.
Affia Pollok Volunteer Coordinator
BioAffia 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.
Franny Aida Full STEAM Ahead Coordinator
BioFranny is an educator. She began as a French Teacher in Chesterfield County where she leveraged technology to bring France to her classroom. It wasn’t long before she was leading technology workshops for her colleagues. Franny went back to school to get her Masters in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia. When a job opportunity took Franny and her husband to Florida, Franny got her dream job as a technology coach. This year, after expanding their family, Franny and her husband decided to move back home to Richmond. She is thrilled to get involved with CodeVA and Full STEAM Ahead. Franny has an insatiable love of learning. She is a mom, a gourmande, and a podcast enthusiast.
CJ Carnahan Advancement Coordinator
BioCJ 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.
Elaine Dunn Executive Assistant
BioExecutive 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.