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  • IAE’s Board of Innovators

  • Alfonso Ippolito

    Executive Director

    (903) 363-9844

    Al Ippolito has 25 years of experience in engineering, marketing and sales. He held positions in brand management, product introduction, project management, distribution operations, relationship marketing and business development.

    Mr. Ippolito holds a graduate degree from Syracuse University in Speech Communications and Associate degrees in Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He is also certified to teach Speech in Texas at the high school level. Ippolito currently teaches as adjunct professor of Speech Communication at UT Tyler and as professor of Speech Communication at Tyler Junior College.

    Ippolito gained diverse experiences working for Fortune 500 international companies Carrier Air Conditioning and General Electric.

    At Carrier Air Conditioning his career spanned engineering marketing, sales and distributor operations. As a partner within McKinsey Consulting and Carrier, he created and implemented a national distribution system into 60/40 company ownership.

    In 2003 Ippolito transitioned his service oriented professional expertise into education. As Assistant Director of the East Texas STEM Center / Student Programs (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), he was directly involved in implementing STEM education in East Texas.

    In 2010, Ippolito formed Innovation Advancing Education (IAE), a world-class company focused on transforming education environments and better preparing students with the necessary skills required for the 21st century. The methodology used by IAE is integrating critical and creative thinking skills to improve student comprehension and learning. 

    Ippolito is a co-author of World Class Excellence for Teacher Leadership: The New Hybrid Approach, a whitepaper by IAE that was published in National Social Science Journal.

  • Dr. Robert L. Stevens

    Education Consultant

    Dr. Stevens is a professor the at the University of Texas at Tyler, College of Education and Psychology, who teaches upper-division courses in the School of Education.

    Dr. Stevens holds a Post Doctorate from Harvard University in Government and International Relations and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts in Social Foundations of Education. His advanced research studies include his dissertation, "The Relationship between Dogmatism, Ethnocentrism, Fatalism and Social Class Background: Implications for a Selection Process for Teacher Education Programs."

    Dr. Stevens also holds an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts, in Social Foundations of Education, and a B.A. from Keene State College in English.

    His other professional and research interests include civic education, using art and music in the social studies, depression era post office murals, and teaching local history.

    Dr. Stevens is a co-author of World Class Excellence for Teacher Leadership: The New Hybrid Approach, a whitepaper by IAE that was published in National Social Science Journal.

  • Gina Byford

    Education Consultant

    Gina Byford has 18 years in the field of Education. She acquired her Bachelors degree in Bio/Earth Science, then her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Tyler. She went on to complete UT Tyler’s Educational Leadership program and acquired her principal/mid-management certification. She has served as principal, vice-principal, Curriculum & Instruction coordinator, Federal Programs director, District Testing coordinator, Instructional Materials coordinator, English Language Learner director, as well as 504/Special Education liaison.

    During her time in the classroom, she teaches secondary science. She participated in several STEM opportunities with both Stephen F. Austin University (Angelina Initiative) and UT Tyler’s STEM program. Her classes have participated in online learning environments with NASA, NOAA, and Texas A&M Galveston. She has been a recipient of several grant awards, with one grantor (Home Depot) recognizing an original Physics lesson. She was awarded Teacher of the Year by her peers at Brownsboro ISD. She also was instrumental in transforming a low performing middle school science program up to exemplary status. She is an advocate for hands-on, student-centered learning opportunities that create innovative as well as critical thinkers.

  • Jon Arriola

    Education Consultant

    Jon Arriola has 15 years of experience in education. Prior to his career in education, he held several positions in various occupations including marketing and sales, training and development, and ballroom dancing.

    Arriola holds a graduate degree from the University of Texas at Tyler in Human Resource Development, and he currently teaches Learning Framework at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.

    Arriola is the President of the Veterans Advisory Board at Tyler Junior College, serves as a Senator on the Tyler Junior College Faculty Senate, and serves on the Curriculum and Instruction Committee and the Safety Committee at Tyler Junior College. He also serves as a Mentor for the newly established Brother 2 Brother Association, and volunteers for the TJC Tutoring Center.

  • Don Bristow

    Donald Bristow holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (Elementary School Teaching Credential Waiver Program) and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Sacramento State University, Sacramento.

    Bristow is the IT Director for Bethesda Health Clinic in Tyler.  In addition to IAE, he serves on the boards of the Better Business Bureau, Operation Go Quickly and the International Institute of SPORT.

    Bristow is the creator of Chaotica, a collection of contemporary art based on the mathematics of Chaos Theory.  His works have been exhibited nationwide, and he is represented by Gold Leaf Gallery and Valerosa Designs & Gallery.

    Bristow understands the value of the 4 C's and importance of real-world experience in education. Bristow is a co-author of World Class Excellence for Teacher Leadership: The New Hybrid Approach, a whitepaper by IAE that was published in National Social Science Journal, and is the author of the Creative Force Triptych program from IAE.