Our Administrators and Authors


DebraDebra Woods

Executive Director

Debra has over 26 years of experience as an instructor in both online and face-to-face education formats, and has actively developed curriculum for online courses for over 18 years. Debra served as the Director of Online Mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. She has presented online pedagogy at conferences both nationally and internationally, and has served on campus advisory committees for implementing e-learning into the university. She was Co-Director of the Math Teacher Link program, and has written many successful grants to build online training courses for educators, as well as working with teachers on STEM education. In addition to a wealth of academic experience, Debra has practical experience in the field of engineering and computer science as a member of the technical staff in the aerospace engineering industry. Debra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from University of California at Los Angeles, and a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Southern California.


unnamedMichael T. Williams

Director of Learning Technologies

As Director of Learning Technologies at O’Reilly School of Technology, Mike provides the overall leadership and vision for the design, development, and implementation of all learning and technology services. Previously, Mike led educational technology efforts in the University of Illinois College of Education and has nearly two decades of experience in research and teaching centered on the integration of technology and learning. Mike served as Principal Investigator on several funded research grants, provided over 15 years of teaching experience, including both on-ground and online courses, and played an active role on the University of Illinois campus in the promotion of eLearning. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences and a Master of Education degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois College of Education.


kerry_butsonKerry Butson

Dean of Distance Learning

Kerry has worked for O’Reilly School of Technology since 1999 when it was known as Useractive.  Kerry has over 14 years experience in online education and has instructed thousands of students in 25 different O’Reilly School of Technology courses, including those that make up the Web Programming, Linux/Unix System Administration, Python Programming, Perl Programming, and PHP/SQL Programming Certificates. In 2000, Kerry was lead instructor for O’Reilly School of Technology. During her time at O’Reilly School of Technology, she has been an integral part of the course development team, rewriting both the HTML and JavaScript courses, testing and editing new courses to ensure they meet quality standards, and managing faculty. Currently, Kerry works with authors, editors, and the technical team to create new courses. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences, where she worked as a teaching assistant. Kerry developed a passion for programming while writing her senior thesis to control and collect data from mass spectrometers for the Department of Physical Chemistry.




steve_holdenSteve Holden

Adjunct Faculty Author

Steve is the author and curriculum developer for the Python Programming Certificate Series. Steve is the author of the book “Python Web Programming” (New Riders, 2002). He has actively taught at Learning Tree International for almost 20 years and has served as the Chairman of the Python Software Foundation for the last 4 years. He has worked with computers for more than 40 years, writing everything from real-time device drivers to bill-of-materials processing systems. Steve was a tenured faculty member at the University of Manchester from 1980-1985, teaching commercial information systems to undergraduate and graduate students. He led the team that developed VUWriter, the first specifically mathematical and scientific word processor, and supervised the first UK implementation of the Smalltalk-80 object-oriented programming language. He later served as Senior Technical Support Specialist for Sun Microsystems and as Vice President of Operations for a web services company. An entrepreneur throughout his career, he currently runs his own independent consulting practice while continuing to coordinate technical events and Python conferences in Portland, Oregon. Steve holds a B.Sc. Hons (1st class) in Computational Science from Leeds University.



robson_elisabethElisabeth Robson

Adjunct Faculty Author

Elisabeth is the author and curriculum developer for the Client-Side Programming Certificate series. Having over 15 years of programming experience, Elisabeth has produced online training, and has written three best-selling books and an online video course for O’Reilly Media (Head First Design Patterns, Head First HTML and CSS 2nd Edition, Head First HTML5 Programming,and Learn to Build iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). She has worked with everything from super computers to the iPhone, and she’s been programming the Web since the early days, when she built one of the first online resources for women in technology. She is currently co-founder and principal at WickedlySmart, an education content and technology company. Elisabeth holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Yale University, with an emphasis on programming languages and software systems.



peter_scottPeter Scott

Adjunct Faculty Author

Peter is the author and curriculum developer for the Perl Programming Certificate Series. He has over 30 years experience in software development and enterprise information systems. Since 1999 he has headed his own consultancy, teaching Perl in on-site trainings and at public conferences and special events. He is the author of the books Perl Debugged (2001), Perl Medic (2004), the creator of the DVD Perl Fundamentals (2009), and has attended every Perl Conference since the first one in 1997. .,He worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and Griffith Observatory before becoming a systems analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, supporting missions to the far reaches of the Solar System. He has been a member of several teams that have won NASA’s Software of the Year awards. Peter has developed across the spectrum of languages and systems from the microprocessor onward, and has done extensive enterprise-scale infrastructure architecture with emphasis on database, directory, and provisioning integration. He holds a B.A. and Master’s degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University. He is currently combining his insights into team dynamics with his Master’s certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming to deliver executive and group coaching to the high-tech industry.