Get to know the BUOY Team!

Jen Gibson - Founder,
Chief Executive Officer


Strategic Implementation | Professional Development | Community Engagement | PR Strategy | Project Management | Design Thinking | Social-Emotional Learning | Talent Retention | Digital Badges

With more than 25 years of experience in education, public policy, edtech, and edTech business development, Jen specializes in strategic thinking and unique approaches to work on behalf of BUOY’s clients. Jen is a partner with a passion for learning, combined with innovative strategies that provide growth opportunities, powerfully designed programs, future visioning, diagnostics and analytics that drive success.

Jen’s education background includes service in public education as a teacher, administrator and school board member. Additionally, she was a faculty member at Chapman University’s teaching credential program. Jen has participated as an active member on a number of boards and associations with a mission for education.

Before co-launching BUOY, Jen co-founded PD Learning Network, a platform for online professional development services for K12 educators, was the Chief Learning Officer for Lesson Planet as well as provided strategic consulting services for Districts and Organizations.

Jen earned her M.A. in Teaching with a focus on technology from Chapman University.

Ask Jen About Hiking! Jen loves to hike and helps keep her local trails maintained in her free time. 

Meet the BUOY Experts

Cate Tolnai
Online Learning & Content Developer

As a founding member of BUOY, Cate's deep interest in professional learning and development coupled with her communication skills positions her to successfully partner with teams.

Cate's professional experience spans online and blended professional learning design and implementation, micro-credentials/digital badging, strategic social marketing and communications, K-higherEd education, and both district and county level administration.

Cate earned her M.A. in Teaching from the University of San Francisco (2003), her post-graduate certificate in Marketing Strategy (Cornell, 2017), and her post-graduate certificate in Educational Technology (Boise State University, 2013).

Ask Cate About Gaming! Cate co-authored a book, Power Up Your Classroom in 2019 & it is all about reimagining learning through gameplay!

Dr. Dennis Nord, Ph.D.
Career Development & Climate Change Expert

As former Director of Counseling and Career Services at University Santa Barbara, Dennis specifically focused on career education.

Currently, Dennis is focusing on supporting professionals solving climate issues. Dennis also provides organizations with career pathway consulting.

Author of: ClimateCareerMoves.com, Walking Dog Press: Dennis has published a number of career books and kids' books not only to entertain but also as a way to motivate them to go outdoors into nature like his characters. Among his publications are professional journal and popular articles.

Dennis serves as a board member and docent for the NatureTrack Foundation which focuses on connecting students with the great outdoors.

Ask Dennis about Native Plants! Dennis spends a lot of time outdoors and knows the name of just about any native plant in California. He spends his free time planting them in his garden and nature journaling.

Thomas Aurelio Davis
Business Development & Innovation

Tom is a former middle & high school bilingual science teacher, coach, administrator, grant writer, businessman, and life-long learner. Tom's passions center around mentoring & coaching, equal opportunity for all underrepresented communities, STEM, English Learners; technology for teaching & learning; students with special needs, and students at-risk of not completing their education.

Tom currently serves as Director of Business Development at the Center for Educational Innovation in New York & has served in the same capacity for both the California Association of Latino Superintendents & Administrators (CALSA) and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).

Founder of: Net4EdAccess, an education consulting firm, based in San Diego Tom is a board member of Computers 2 Kids San Diego (C2KSD) and is also on the advisory board for Project Tomorrow, a national non-profit.

Ask Tom About Basketball! Tom is an avid basketball player & represents Mexico on the Over 64 National Basketball Team which finished sixth in the FIMBA World. Championships in Helsinki in 2019!!

Coming Soon


Professional Learning Testimonials

Really excited that I got to be a part of [BUOY's] session. The energy level of the presenters was amazing. It was great to get so many ideas about how to make classroom experiences more game-based and fun for students.
Rebecca Davenport
Great energy and information. Thanks for sharing so many resources for us to use as we need to use.
Amber Youngman
Teacher, Johansen High School
I love all the different examples you gave us where we can bring "play" back into the classroom.
Lynae DeGravelles