Emeritus Board

Meet Our Emeritus Board

Robert Cole

Emeritus Board Member

Read Robert's Bio

“The work of ITEF is so important in that it allows for teachers to think differently about teaching and learning and provides the space and support to innovate their practice.”

Robert currently works in the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at Saint Louis University. He has more than thirty years of teaching experience, nineteen of which were in the Saint Louis University School of Education. During his time in the School of Education, he taught classes on technology integration, curriculum & instruction, and instructional design, among others. In addition, he advised undergraduate and graduate students and served as the Program Director of Teacher Education. Robert’s breadth of teaching experience spans elementary, middle, secondary, post-secondary, and graduate levels.

He holds a Bachelor of Music Education, a Master of Technology Integration, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. As an instructional developer in the Reinert Center, Robert consults with the teaching community at SLU related to elements of instruction, assessment strategies, course design, and learning technologies. He keeps current regarding emerging technologies, new approaches to pedagogy, and evidence-based practices for online teaching and learning. 

Julie Sharpe

Emeritus Board Member

Read Julie's Bio

“It is an honor to serve on the ITEF Board and provide support to educators throughout the St.Louis area. Educators must have the tools to produce quality work every day.  ITEF has taken proactive steps to listen to educators, understand their needs, and respond to those needs with purposeful assistance.”

Julia has had almost 40 years of experience in the field of education, beginning with a total of twelve years as a first-grade teacher in the Webster Groves and Hannibal Public School  Districts.

Following that, she served as Elementary Principal at Mark Twain Elementary School in Hannibal for seven years before accepting the position of Elementary Education Director in the Jefferson City Public Schools. After serving in that position for eight years, she became Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Personnel in Jefferson City.Julia earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri Columbia and has her Masters and Doctorate in Educational Administration from the same institution.

Dr. Sharpe has served on the ITEF Board for over nine years and feels it has been a true honor to meet and work with the outstanding educators in the St. Louis area.

Tracy Toft-Downing

Emeritus Board Member

Read Tracy's Bio

“True innovation is never about what is merely disruptive or novel. The best innovation ignites inspiration, creativity, insight, and understanding.”

Tracy Downing is a journalist, writer, and philanthropist who began her career as a reporter at WDAF-TV in Kansas City. There, she was the lead education reporter, covering Kansas City’s massive School Desegregation plan. This led to her lifelong interest in education issues, equity, and reform. Named to ITEF’s board in 2008, Tracy served as both Board Chair and interim Executive Director before becoming an active member of ITEF’s emeritus board and grant selection committee. She remains committed to the mission, goals, and ideals of the Innovative Technology Education Fund, and is grateful for the opportunity to help foster true innovation in education through its grants.