Alison Ascher Webber
At the EdTech Center @ World Education, Director of Strategic Initiatives Alison Ascher Webber develops and directs innovative projects that advance digital equity and leverage technology to increase the reach and impact of education and workforce programs. Alison co-leads Digital US, a national initiative to close digital skills gaps by 2030 and supports the federally funded Digital Resilience in the American Workforce initiative. She advises online learning and ICT4D initiatives that have included the National Immigration Forum, UNESCO, and the Employment Technology Fund @ JFF. Previous roles were Education Director at mLearning company Cell-Ed and Associate Director at Avasant Foundation. Alison served as first Executive Director of the Leadership Training & Education Fund for janitors across California and helped form the award-winning Building Skills Partnership, for which she serves as a proud Board member. Alison holds a Master’s in Education and started her career teaching ESOL and work readiness.
Jen Vanek, PhD
As director of digital learning and research, Jen Vanek leads projects in digital literacy, online learning, English language learning, and adult education. She is co-principal investigator for the 21st Century Learning Ecosystems Opportunity research project, a collaboration of World Education, Portland State University, and the Walmart Foundation, to describe characteristics of effective technology-rich and employer-supported adult learning. Jen also directs several professional development communities of practice, including the IDEAL Consortium, a community of practice of adult basic education leaders who prioritize equitable access to distance education, and the award-winning mLearning Leadership Community of Practice, a collaboration of adult literacy programs working to leverage mobile devices for literacy development.
As vice president of World Education, Priyanka Sharma oversees the organization’s U.S.-based projects and centers of expertise, including the EdTech Center. Priyanka has led innovative projects for the EdTech Center @ World Education on college and career readiness, technology integration, digital transformation, and digital skills development. Priyanka co-leads Digital US, a national initiative to close digital skills gaps by 2030, and also directs the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC), leading projects that emerge from collaboration among the policy-makers, professional developers, and practitioners in the five member states.
With a deep commitment to social justice and community involvement, she has served as the Board Chair of The City School, a youth leadership organization based in Boston. She previously served as the Board President of Friends of Community Learning Center, raising resources and public awareness for the Community Learning Center in Cambridge, MA.
Jamie Harris is Digital Skills Senior Technical Advisor at the EdTEch Center of World Education. She works on national projects that draw on her strengths in digital literacy instruction, ESOL and adult education teaching and PD, and immigrant integration. Jamie comes to World Education from the Maryland Department of Labor Adult Instructional Services Team where she served as the Adult Education Program Specialist and supported Title II programs with Technology Integration. Jamie led the development of a Digital Literacy Framework for Adult Learners and a Digital Literacy Framework Instructor Implementation Guide as well as served adult learners as faculty and coordinator in multiple states and overseas. Jamie has a Bachelors of Science in Communication Studies and a Masters of Education.
Digital Learning Senior Technical Advisor
As Assistant Director, Victoria Neff supports the center’s strategy, operations, partnerships and innovative engagements in North America, Africa and Asia. Victoria has experience designing, implementing, and researching technology and digital learning initiatives. Victoria joins the EdTech Center from World Education’s Asia & Special Projects division, where she managed ICT4D and educational technology initiatives, from using mobile technology to optimize data collection for early grade literacy assessments under the TEST project to working with the Cambodian government and UNESCO to design and pilot the first online equivalency program for out of school youth under the Basic Education Equivalency Project (BEEP). Victoria has spent over a decade working in education and global development and is passionate about removing barriers to digital access and innovative digital solutions that can expand enhance learning and life outcomes. She has a BA in global studies from Providence College and an MA in international development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
In her role as Digital Learning Specialist, Rachel Riggs supports various research, professional development, and digital learning initiatives at the EdTech Center. Prior to joining this team, Rachel was an ESOL teacher/tutor for ten years. She earned an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from The New School in 2018. Coming from an adult education program at a community college, Rachel has focused her energy on promoting digital equity and supporting educators in their use of educational technology. She is passionate about leveraging the creativity and collaboration of educators and learners to catalyze progress in adult education.
Ebony Vandross supports the EdTech Center in addition to multiple projects for the World Education U.S. division. She developed an interest in the field of adult education as a Literacy Volunteer with the Boston Public Library, and as a Resource Center Volunteer with Women’s Lunch Place. After arriving at WEI she became involved with The Change Agent, drawn to the publication and its commitment to center the voices of adult literacy students, immigrants, and people of color. She hopes this work will aid her in her support of social justice and progress for marginalized communities.
Annalisa Crowe supports digital inclusion projects including Equity in mLearning and Digital Navigators to advance technology access, digital skills development, and digital learning for millions of adults who have not yet had opportunities to develop digital skills. She holds a B.A. in psychology and education and brings to World Education a commitment to social justice and equity in education. Her background as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant who was met with immense barriers to further developing his education sparked her interest in developing innovative projects to improve adult education.
International EdTech Leads
Adam Turney currently serves as Interim Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor for World Education’s Africa Division. He is also involved as an EdTech Center lead for World Education’s international work. Adam’s work focuses primarily on programming in Mozambique, and extends to new business efforts leveraging technology and digital access for improved learning outcomes across the continent. Before joining World Education in 2014, he spent more than eight years teaching in the U.S., South Korea, and Mozambique. Adam has a BA from Michigan State University and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education International Education Policy program.
Christine Bailey brings over a decade of international development experience, delivering programming in more than 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. She has worked extensively developing and implementing communications for behavior change programs tackling Ebola, WASH, and maternal and child health issues, among others. Since 2015, she has worked with World Education’s Bantwana Initiative, providing leadership and program management, team building, and new business development growth, with emergent expertise in child protection, GBV, VAC/CSA, AGYW, norms change and digital solutions sub-sectors. Ms. Bailey supports Bantwana’s Eswatini and Uganda portfolios. She holds dual Masters Degrees from Ohio University and Columbia University.
As Senior Adviser of WEI’s Asia Division, Estelle Day oversees WEI’s Cambodia portfolio, as well as new business development work for the Division as a whole. She leads Cambodia-specific and global projects focused on early-grade reading, book supply chain; education systems strengthening; EdTech; teacher training, and youth development. Based out of World Education’s head office since 2005, she spent the six years before that working in Cambodia, leading innovative girls’ education interventions. Experienced in corporate social investment partnerships, from 2010-2015, Ms. Day was the Director of WEI’s flagship positive youth development initiative that reached 32,000 youth through corporate partnership across 8 countries to improve work readiness and civic engagement, and reduce unsafe migration. At WEI for 20 years, and with 25 years in the international education sector in total, she has overseen programs in 19 countries. She brings that experience to WEI’s EdTech Center as a lead for World Education’s international work. Estelle has a first-class BA from Oxford University and an MEd from Harvard University.
Sarah French is a Senior Program Officer for World Education’s Asia and Special Projects division and serves as an EdTech Center Lead. She has supported a wide variety of programs and initiatives, including those related to digital case management, e-learning, digital literacy, social and behavioral change communication, and teacher professional development. Prior to joining World Education, she spent six years teaching both domestically and internationally. She has an MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently pursuing an M.Ed. in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Yuri Machkasov works as a New Business Development Specialist for World Education’s Africa Division and serves as an EdTech Center lead. Yuri’s focus is on program management, finance, operations, and program design, having supported a wide range of programming and new business development efforts across multiple donors (including USAID, PEPFAR, FCDO, World Bank, Peace Corps, U.S. State Department, and foundations). Before joining World Education, Yuri had a background in teaching, having taught language and digital literacy courses both in the United States and internationally beginning in 2009. Yuri has a double BA in Global Business and Spanish from the University of Minnesota Morris.