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Get to know the BUOY Team!

Jen Gibson, Co-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 K12 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.

Cate Tolnai, Co-Founder
Director of Online Learning & Content Development



Professional Learning & Implementation | Strategy | Instructional Design | Online & Blended Learning | Digital Badges | Educator Health & Wellness | Gamification | Leadership & Empowerment

In her 18th year in education, Cate Tolnai’s professional experience spans online and blended professional learning design and implementation, strategic social marketing and communications, K-12 education, and both district and county level administration. As co-founder of BUOY, her deep interest in professional learning and development coupled with her communication skills positions her to successfully partner with a wide variety of teams.

Cate’s educational background includes classroom instruction, teacher-leadership, and administration in both public and independent school communities. She served on regional non-profit boards for educational technology integration and infrastructure. As a Google Certified Innovator (2014), Google Certified Trainer (2016), and Adobe Education Leader (2019), she stays current with educational technology trends, best practices, and influencers. She currently works as Adjunct Faculty at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothills College supporting online and blended learning needs of professional educators and presents on these topics regularly.

Cate’s recent co-authored publication, “Power Up Your Classroom: Reimagine Learning Through Gameplay,” (ISTE, 2019) presents frameworks for learning engagement and instructional design. She works to deepen the perceived value of instructional play, game-based learning, and exploration for both K-16 and adult learners.

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).

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
Jen and Cate are the best friends and professionals you can get in education
Miriam Bogler
Co-Founder, Project Pals
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