D. Antonio Dean Cantu, Ph.D., Educational Curriculum Scholar

Dr. Dean Cantu is a highly experienced educational curriculum developer and social studies expert with over 25 years in professional education.  He currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Bradley University.  Dean has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Illinois University, an Ed.S. in Community College Education, a M.A. in history and a B.S. in social science education, all from Arkansas State University.

During his career in education, Dr. Cantu has authored 11 books and monographs.  He also served as a curriculum writer for The History Channel, the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition and PBS Frontline, and was an editor of The International Journal of Social Education. In addition, Dr. Cantu has served in a variety of leadership positions in professional organizations including President of the American Association for History and Computing and Chair of three National Councils for Social Studies (NCSS) Committees.  He currently serves as a member of the Governing Board of the National Social Science Association, member of the Illinois State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board for the Illinois State Board of Education and Executive Director of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies (ICSS).

Kathleen Rivera, President

Kathleen (Kathy) Rivera is the creator and founder of Virtual Learning Systems, Inc.  An innovator throughout her career, Kathy is a high energy industry leader in educational training and video production.  During her career, she has produced over 2,000 programs in educational professional development and K-12 curricula for public and private schools.  Kathy is a successful business woman who founded her first company in 1981. She has won over 100 broadcast awards including multiple Emmys as well as the prestigious Platinum and Gold Telly awards. Kathy has been honored by the National Education Association, the Houston International Film Festival and the New York International Film Festival, to name a few.

She’s also been recognized with distinguished business honors including the Influential Women in Business Award from the National Association for Women Business Owners and the Outstanding Working Woman in Illinois Award from the Northwest Chapter of the National Organization of Business and Professional Women.  Kathy began her career as a producer in broadcast television in Chicago at NBC and CBS, where she pioneered video storytelling.  The Chicago Tribune named her “The Woman to Watch in the 21st Century.”

Tom Rivera, Executive Vice President

Tom Rivera is an experienced business leader and award-winning communicator who spearheaded the business plan and strategy for the revolutionary VLS curriculum.  During Tom’s prestigious career as a marketing executive, he won numerous awards for creative print, radio and TV advertising.   Tom also has worked as an executive in business tourism for a number of renowned organizations and has been inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame.

Tom holds an Emmy and a number of Telly Awards for his achievements in writing, producing and marketing for the History Channel, CBS and PBS.  He also has developed classroom curriculum still being used by teachers today.  Tom served as a member of the board of directors for a Chicago area hospital network when the organization received the highest healthcare award in the industry.