Patrick Riccards comes to ConnCAN with over 20 years of communications political strategy experience under his belt. He is a tireless advocate for kids, and has transformed the work of countless organizations and campaigns over the past 20 years. From the National Reading Panel, to New Leaders for New Schools, to the National Governors Association, to the American Federation of Teachers, Patrick has been integral in building public support for issue-based organizations, especially those working to improve public schools across the country. Most recently based in Virginia as CEO at Exemplar Strategic Communications, Patrick has provided expert consulting on leadership, policy, research, and communications for a range of organizations focused on public education and other issues. Patrick is already a well-known personality in the education blogosphere thanks to his blog, EDUFLACK. In 2009, he was a recipient of PRWeek Magazine's prestigious "40 Under 40" award for top communications professionals in the country, and in September 2011, Bulldog Reporter named him the Non-Profit Communications Professional of the Year. Patrick has served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) Initiative, focusing on expanding STEM opportunities for all students, particularly those from historically disadvantaged populations. He has also served as Chairman of the Falls Church (VA) School Board.