CER is proud to present with Stoà, the most important and historic management school in the South of Italy, The U.S.–Italia Education Innovation Festival, September 21-23, 2020, in Ercolano, Italy, steps from Pompeii and overlooking the Bay of Naples.

The U.S.–Italia Education Innovation Festival will be the first global Ed Tech event in Italy, with a concentration on innovations and technologies that amplify, engage and educate the world’s students in the arts and sciences. Our focus will be on exploring, uncovering and connecting with technologies and innovative practices already being increasingly applied across the globe to learning, teaching, and in the workforce, bringing us each day more quickly than the last into the 21st Century. Together, we will move from early education, through K–12 and Higher Ed and across the Workforce, breaking up the silos to build continuum of education models that cut through all levels of education, preparing us for work, life and explosive change – across the globe.

Schedule of Events

  • DAY 1
  • DAY 2
  • DAY 3

Welcome to Ercolano and the start of beautiful, new relationships!

Festival opens! Coffee & Networking
Programma del Mattino

Benvenuti from Italian Leaders

The Future of Work - Implications for Education From Pre-K to Gray
Ulrik Christensen, CEO of Area9 Group

The Role of Personalization in Precision Education
Can AI achieve optimal results and personalization? Learn from these gurus what the future holds for AI directed education across the learning continuum.
Scott Bess, Head of School Purdue Polytechnic Highschool
Sallyann Della Casa, CEO at GLEAC
Ulrik Christensen, CEO of Area9 Group, Moderator 
Lorenzo Cesaretti, Co-Founder & CTO at TALENT srl

Pranza & Networking

Programma del pomeriggio

Innovative pathways to Grow Strong Readers
Tu Parli Inglese? Tu leggi bene? No. Non posso....But can fix it with the latest innovations to improve reading and language skills! What does the science say about growing strong readers? We can accelerate the acquisition of critical reading and English language skills with the latest in VR and AR. Find out!
Janine Caffrey, CEO of Lexplore, Inc
Michael McDonald, Founder of Gold Lotus
Enrico Poli, Director, Zanichelli Venture

"Customers who bought this item also bought…”  How Ed tech can learn from innovations in other industries.  
Ed tech is lagging other industries.   This session imagines new uses of technology to improve learning and recreate innovations that changed the world (but remain unseen in classrooms).
Mark Defusco, President, Bay State College, Boston, MA

Mapping Higher Ed to Workforce Skills Here, There And Everywhere
Hard skills, soft skills, essential skills. Whatever the term, we all agree there are gaps, in the US, Italy and across the globe.  But does it have to be that way? Forse, non, if these bold innovators have their way.
Carol D'Amico, Executive Vice President, Strada Education Network; Indianapolis, Indiana USA
Sallyann Della Casa, CEO, GLEAC; Dubai, UAE  
Leonardo Lecce, President and CEO of Novatech; Naples, Italy
Col GArn Alessio Grasso, Direttore, Ufficio Tecnico Territoriale, Napoli, Moderator

5:00  PM
Depart for Wine Tasting & Dinner*

Wine Tasting Dinner at the exclusive Villa Paolina* is a wine & country resort located in the northern part of the Neapolitan region. It is surrounded by the Monte Maggiore mountains. Villa Paolina is part of Alois Wine making cellar known all over the world for his autoctons ancient wines (casavecchia, pallagrello bianco e Palla grello nero ).

*optional event, not included in ticket price, be sure to add it to your registration when you check out

More sessions being announced daily, check back for updates
Programma del Mattino

What it takes to Bend the Arc of Human Potential
Michael Moe, GSV, San Francisco, CA

Future of Work
The fast pace of technological change is reshaping occupations around the world: the skill profile of some jobs has changed 40% over the past two years. More jobs are hybrids, mixing and matching skills from different fields. This challenges traditional forms of learning and the ways employers find talent. But it also provides opportunities to reinvent learning in ways that will ultimately strengthen the relationships between universities, students, and employers.
Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies

Driving Graduate Success: New Strategies for Universities
The changing labour market is reshaping jobs and challenging the prospects of graduates. But these changes are also opening major opportunities for higher education institutions who look at learning in new ways. Innovative universities from Padua to Boston are using labor market data to rethink how they create programs, reach prospective students, and empower graduates with the skills and information to succeed. We’ll learn how.
Burning Glass Technologies and University partners

Programma del pomeriggio

Pranza & Pitch

EdTechX Italia Start-Up Pitch Competition 
Grab your lunch and listen to some of the globe’s most innovative startups.

Join us for the Italian edition of the 2020 EdTechX Ecosystem Events - a series of ten local startup pitch competitions aiming to feature entrepreneurs transforming the future of learning and work in Europe!

In collaboration with EdReform, StartED and Zanichelli Venture, we'll be showcasing Italian startups who will be pitching to a panel of esteemed judges, including investors and industry leaders. 

The winner, selected by these judges and the audience in attendance, will receive the chance to speak in front of 1200+ global thought leaders at the annual EdTechX summit in London as part of the final Global Startup Super League Competition on 18 June 2020.

Excursion to Villa Oplontis 

The Villa Oplontis was a palace built overlooking the sea (the coastline is now further away). Archaeologists deduce that the rambling building had been through several stages of development, and at the time of the eruption which buried it. Join us for this private, hard to obtain tour, part of your full pass or Tuesday registration.

Afterwards, travel into Napoli Centro and enjoy dinner on your own. Buses will leave participants at either their hotel or the city center.

More sessions being announced daily, check back for updates


Sleep in and join us at 10 am for the final day, pitch competition winner announcement, amazing program and closing dinner complete with music.
Programma del Mattino

K-12 Education - Challenges and Market Opportunities. 
Education reform has reached maturity in the US.  Can Italy learn from its wins and losses as it diversifies its K-12 offerings? Leaders of exceptional school organizations talk about what works, what doesn’t and how to collaborate across the globe.
Daniele Denti, CEO, Ingenium Education
Nick Paradiso, VP of Government Relations & Partner Services, National Heritage Academies 
Scott Barron , Founder & Chief Reinvention Officer, School Growth LLC 
Tammy Barron, President, School Growth LLC 

There’s An APP For That? Innovative Breakthroughs for Career Success.  Making life better for learners at all levels requires the most nimble of applications, the most innovative and comprehensive access to the skills necessary to succeed. You’ll meet just a few of the best creators on the planet.
Lucilla Crosta, Edulai ideator, Edulai
Adriano Allora, Co-Founder/CFO/CTO, Maieutical Labs
Ean Mikale, Chief A.I. Architect, Infinite 8 Institute
Jamey Heit, Co-Founder & CEO, Ecree, Inc. 

Pranza & Networking

Programma del pomeriggio

Pitch Contest Winners Announced  & Presentation

Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development in the 21st Century 
Stephanie Nellons-Paige, Vice President & External Affairs, Texas Central LLC

RESOLVED: Innovation Is Equally Distributed (or not)  Access to the  innovation culture is not equally distributed throughout our country, depending on geographic location you grow up in gender, socioeconomic class, race, you may or may not have opportunities to learn innovation.
Lisa Dawley Ph.D., Executive Director, Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education, University of San Diego and Co-Inventor of Pactful
Andrea Leone-Pizzighella, Director, TESOL Essentials Series, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO, 1Huddle 
Dr. Marco Clark, Founder and CEO of Richard Wright Public School

New Perspectives on Post-Diploma Technical Education in Italia
Leonardo Lecce, Novotech, Inc.

Reception and Conversazione
Enjoy the finest wines from Puglia courtesy of Novatech as you engage with leading investors

Investment Trends: What we’re seeing in the U.S and Globally
A panel of early stage investors focused on the future of learning and future of work share (some of) their secrets for identifying successful and venture capital-fundable businesses in the global education space and how that differs across geographies from the U.S. to Europe and other key markets. Learn what the obstacles are to scaling and growth in edtech and their predictions about how the market will evolve and adapt in the years to come. 
George Straschnov, Managing Director at Bisk Ventures
Michael Moe, Founder, GSV
Ash Kaluarachchi, Cofounder, StartEd EdTech Accelerator
Matthew Johnson, Edtech Attorney and Advisor, Cooley, LLP, Moderator

Buses leave for Villa Tirone Ristorante

Mangiamo, Parliamo and Enjoy!
A magical place, glimpses of beautiful nature, with a breathtaking overlooking the Bay of Naples totally captures your attention. A panorama to enjoy in a welcoming, youthful and sparkling environment, enjoying  a drink with new friends or celebrate the end and the new beginning of our special Us-Italy event 2020.

Continua tu la conversazione!
Fireside chat Featuring:
Ben Nelson, CEO and Founder of the Minerva Project
Festival host Jeanne Allen
and other special guests

More sessions being announced daily, check back for updates

Special Events

Wine Tasting Dinner at Villa Paolina – Monday, September 21, 2020

At the beginning of the Sele Valley, a short distance from the hot spring of Contursi Terme, surrounded by a huge park with olive groves and vineyards, is Villa Paolina. Set in a pristine environment near the source of the river Sele, the Villa is an ideal place to meet, relax and enjoy good food. Located in the northern part of the Neapolitan region, and surrounded by the Monte Maggiore mountains, the vineyards at Villa Paolina are part of Alois Wine, known internationally for their success in Campania region and antique wines.  This is an unusual spot and selected uniquely by a local, influential leader who is part of the advisory team for the US-Italia Ed Innovation Festival.

For those who add this optional and special event to their registration, you will depart the Festival at Stoa at approximately 5:30 by bus, and travel 50 minutes through the beautiful country of Campania. There you will be greeted by our host, GianFranco Alois, who will lead you through an experience you would not normally find anywhere.

You will taste wines only found in this region in their ancient cellars, taste the conciato romano cheese selected as one of the best cheeses in all of Italy and enjoy local Casertan pork alongside.  You will have wine called Trebulanum, casavecchia DOC di Pontelatone aged in french barrels, Cunto, pallagrello nero aged in Austrian oak wood, that are the high level of Alois production and last selected cheese and ham. This experience will be followed by a sumptuous dinner before you head back to your hotel.


Included in your registration is this opportunity to tour

Villa Oplontis – Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Villa Oplontis is a large structure situated in the ancient Roman town of Oplontis (the modern Torre Annunziata). The Roman elite favored the Bay of Naples for holiday retreats. Just as today’s wealthy Romans and Neapolitans head to the island of Capri, in ancient times this area was a refuge from the heat and bustle of Rome in summer and a place to relax and indulge in civilized leisure; the pursuit of otium.

The Villa Oplontis was a palace built overlooking the sea (the coastline is now further away). Archaeologists deduce that the rambling building had been through several stages of development, and at the time of the eruption which buried it, the villa was undergoing restoration works, and was perhaps somewhat neglected. There had been a major earthquake in 62AD, and many smaller tremors in the build-up to the big eruption of 79AD, which may explain this. During its lifespan, though, the villa must have been one of the grandest dwellings in the area. Its wall paintings are some of the finest examples of Roman painting in existence. Its large gardens were decorated with statues as well as trees and plants. Approached by land or sea, the villa would have impressed visitors even before they entered the colorful and refined halls, strolled through its various colonnades, or glimpsed the huge garden swimming pool.

The ruins are well-enough preserved that it’s possible to gain some idea of how people might have lived here; relaxing under a portico, taking a dip in the huge pool. Rooms are numbered and descriptions in the guide-booklet help to explain the decoration and what is assumed about their uses.

Buried until its gradual discovery over the last four centuries, this huge and lavish palace has been associated on slender evidence with Poppaea Sabina, the unfortunate wife said to have been kicked to death by the Emperor Nero. Her family are believed to have come from this area, and the grandeur of the villa suggests it belonged to someone either very rich or very well-connected. A wine amphora found here bore the inscription of the name “Poppaeae”. Consequently, the villa is sometimes called Villa Poppaea, and is also known as Villa A by archaeologists studying the ruins around the site of the Roman seaside village of Oplontis (and as Scavi di Oplonti in Italian).

Lying under the modern Naples suburb Torre Annunziata, the full extent of the villa complex hasn’t been discovered. But what there is to see is very impressive. (Wear comfortable shoes).

Included in your registration closing dinner on the Naples Bay!

Villa Tirone Restaurant – Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Don Antonio, founder and soul of the restaurant, since the early 1950s, draws on the secrets of the great tradition of Neapolitan cuisine. The structure is located in an enchanting geographical position, with an umbrella pine forest and vineyards that rise up the slopes of Vesuvius, facing the breathtaking panorama of the Gulf of Naples and the island of Capri.

Careful choice of products,  the quality offered with love and passion combined with the warmth and humanity of a group of people in love with their work.  A magical place, glimpses of beautiful nature, with a breathtaking overlooking the Bay of Naples totally captures your attention. A panorama to enjoy in a welcoming, youthful and sparkling environment, enjoying  a drink with new friends or celebrate the end and the new beginning of our special Us-Italy event 2020.