Vicki’s Scoops for October 13

Hi everyone and happy Friday—and, happy Friday, the 13th! Those who know me know I am not superstitious, and after all, what’s not to love about Friday? Before you head out to that weekend, check out my scoops for you….

Friends and colleagues in new roles….

bulb, an emerging leader in digital portfolio software, has announced the appointment of industry veterans Aaron Sever as Director of Sales and Account Executives Janice BowenGwen Cheatham, and Aimee Schroeder.

Aaron Sever has 17 years of experience in education publishing and technology. At Perfection Learning, he led southern U.S. sales and grew revenue in his region every year. Previously, he helped the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt team exceed quota by gaining over 50% market share in Texas in multiple years. Aaron has a BS from Bowling Green and a MBA from TCU.

Janice Bowen has 20+ years of sales experience. She was the No. 1 producer in the nation multiple years at Perfection Learning. Previously, she was the top sales producer for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, both statewide and nationally. Janice has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas.

Gwen Cheatham has 20+ years of sales experience and most recently worked in educational sales for 11 years as an Account Executive with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Gwen supported all curriculum and instructional needs for large urban and suburban school districts where she consistently grew market share and exceeded sales quota. She has a BA from The University of Texas at Austin.

Aimee Schroeder is an Educational Professional with 20+ years of experience in classroom teaching, educational sales, marketing, and professional development. Aimee has worked core academic subjects and specialty areas including career and technical education. She has a BS and teaching certification from Sam Houston State University.

Congratulations to Aaron, Janice, Gwen, and Aimee on their new roles!

Our friend Liz Ralston has joined the executive team of Square Panda, developer of the research-based, multisensory, early literacy learning system, to lead educational sales of the Square PandaTM Classroom Edition. In her role, Liz will drive executive leadership for the PreK-12 education marketplace, leading both sales and client services teams to build strong partnerships with school districts nationwide.

In a variety of executive sales leadership roles, Liz has a proven track record of driving high performance results among her sales teams. Her history has involved strategic planning that fostered successful company growth as well as expertise in K-12 education sales and client services with diverse product offerings.

Join me in congratulating Liz on her new position!

As reported on the Penn Graduate School of Education website, Michael Golden was fulfilled as the CEO of Educurious, the education nonprofit he co-founded seven years ago to create project-based learning opportunities, professional development, and an expert network that connects students to professions and career paths. The Seattle-based nonprofit reached nearly 100,000 students in more than 20 states.

But when Michael was offered the chance to lead a new center for educational innovation at Penn GSE, he said he had to take it.

Throughout his career in the public and private sectors, Michael has championed student-centered educational approaches that give learners the skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century.

Prior to launching Educurious, he was the corporate vice president of Education Products Group at Microsoft Corporation. He has also served as vice president for strategic planning and marketing at Pearson Education and as deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he guided strategy, policy, programs, and legislation for more than 2 million PK-12, postsecondary, and higher education students.

Michael earned his Ed.D. from Penn GSE and an MBA from Harvard. After spending almost a decade in the Pacific Northwest, he is looking forward to returning to Pennsylvania.

While Michael is leaving Educurious, he will maintain ties to the organization, which has received support from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Bezos Family Foundation, among others. Penn GSE and Educurious have a signed a memorandum of understanding to explore potential joint projects, with a focus on ideas that would expand equity and access in education. Michael recognizes the value of expertise that both organizations possess and, from his time at Penn GSE, believes they can be an asset for one another.

Congratulations, Michael, on your new role at Penn GSE!

Mark Miller, Managing Partner at Good Harbor Partners, has an added role. He has announced he is also accepting the role as the new Chairman of LearnLaunch, working to create synergies and shared goals that benefit the ed tech industry.

Mark was one of the original co-founders of LearnLaunch. Since its 2012 start, LearnLaunch has emerged as the leading organization in Boston’s thriving ed tech ecosystem. Mark reportedly has three goals to support and nurture LearnLaunch’s growth and impact:

  1. Help greater Boston stake its claim as the world leader in all things education.
  2. Focus on the world-class talent that graduates from the area’s amazing colleges and universities-so that talent stays in Boston and improves education via LearnLaunch and, ultimately, that Boston becomes a talent pool for the greater marketplace.
  3. Seek support from the business, policy-maker, and the philanthropic community to further LearnLaunch’s mission of transforming learning.

Join me in congratulating Mark on his new role and the opportunity to build on LearnLaunch’s mission and continue to see the ed tech industry thrive.

Baltimore ed tech company Workbench has appointed two of its key employees to leadership positions in its sales and compliance divisions. This is part of a company-wide expansion that will bring Workbench’s project-based learning platform to even more schools, districts, and libraries nationwide. The current expansion plan is supported by Workbench’s latest round of seed funding, which was led by an investment from Brown Advisory.

The promotions are:

  • Becky Webster was promoted to VP of Sales to lead Workbench’s growing sales team. She previously was Director of Business Development.
  • Jennifer Klepper was promoted to Chief Compliance Officer in charge of tracking and implementing state, federal, and international privacy measures and standards. She previously was Workbench’s Director of Operations. Workbench is already a Student Privacy Pledge Signatory and has gained FTC “Safe Harbor” status in keeping child data protected. Jennifer, an attorney and one of the first Workbench employees, is excited to move from what was a broader role to one that is focused on maintaining student online safety and building the company’s expertise on internet privacy.

Congratulations to Becky and Jennifer on the promotions and their new roles!

At Lexia LearningPaul Griffin has joined the company as Head of National Partnerships, and David Rose has joined as Senior Educational Outreach Specialist. The addition of these two seasoned educational leaders is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to support the needs of school districts striving to help every student read, write and speak confidently and proficiently.

Paul Griffin joins Lexia having previously served as Vice President, Strategic Relationships in the Business Development Group of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). During his 22 years with HMH, he worked with superintendents and cabinet-level administrators across the country to bring educational solutions for student success to districts and also served as the liaison to the Council of the Great City Schools, Council of Urban Boards of Education and National Alliance of Black School Educators.

Paul currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the National League of Cities, working with municipal governments across the United States to shape their work on behalf of children, youth, and families. Recognized nationally for his leadership on behalf of children, he received the California Alliance of African American Educator’s Corporate Leadership Award in 2016, and the National Alliance of Black School Educators’ highest recognition, The President’s Award, in 2015.

David Rose joins the Lexia team, having served most recently in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) as Deputy Chief, Office of Teaching and Learning. During his tenure, he supported a team of more than 200 staff in academic strategy for all content areas, special education, language acquisition, and early childhood in support of curriculum and instruction, technology integration, and library revitalization in the District’s 112 schools. Under his leadership, DCPS launched and scaled blended learning models across the district, providing personalized learning paths for students as well as actionable data for teachers.

Prior to his role with DCPS, David served as Supervisor of Instructional Technology and Professional Development at Southfield Public Schools in Michigan; Head of Technology Planning and Professional Development at the prestigious Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland; District Technology Coordinator at Pender County Schools in North Carolina; Regional Director of the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning at the Southeast Education Alliance in North Carolina; and as an elementary classroom teacher.

Congratulations to Paul and David on joining the great Lexia Learning team!

And Trace Urdan has joined Tyton Partners, the leading provider of investment banking and strategy consulting services to the global knowledge sector, as a Managing Director. Trace will be primarily focused on developing new relationships in support of the firm’s banking and consulting practices and extending its sector thought leadership through various research, publishing, and presenting initiatives. He will be based in San Francisco.

Trace has followed the Global Education and Knowledge Services market as an equity research analyst for more than 18 years, during which time he has held senior research positions at a number of firms including ThinkEquity, Robert W. Baird, Signal Hill Capital Group, Wells Fargo Securities, and most recently as a Managing Director at Credit Suisse. After holding senior management positions within Time Inc. and KPMG Media Marwick, Trace began his career as a research analyst in 1998 with Alex. Brown & Sons, covering publishing and education.

During his career Trace has followed a wide range of companies serving the education market, including early childhood, K-12, higher education, and employment training. He is widely-cited as an expert on the topics of for-profit education, education technology, and education policy. He has been cited by Career College Central magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in the career college sector, testified before the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education, and authored a white paper for the Kauffman Foundation on the topic of higher education regulation.
Trace received a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

This is great news for Trace and for Tyton Partners. What a powerhouse team they have there! Join me in congratulating Trace on his new role!


George Perreault, Chief Academic Officer for ClassLink, was recently awarded the Jack Kelly Award for having a positive effect on educational technology in the state of Florida at the Florida Association of Educational Data Systems (FAEDS) conference.

George has been on the ClassLink team for two years. Prior to that, he served as Director, Instructional Technology and Library Media at Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in Florida, capping off a distinguished forty-year career as teacher, administrator, and technology leader. During his time working in schools, George guided OCPS through increasingly sophisticated use of technology in the classroom and across the district. After retiring from his position as district administrator, ClassLink approached George to join its growing team in the role of Chief Academic Officer so that he could continue advocating for the effective use of technology in education.

Congratulations to George on this much-deserved recognition.

And Melissa Sinunu, President and COO of Classworks, has been chosen as a finalist for the 2017 Women of the Year Award by Women in Technology (WIT), an organization that advocates for women in Georgia’s STEAM community.

Classworks is proud to have Melissa recognized, and I agree. As one of her colleagues shared, Melissa does amazing work to promote and support women in the technology industry and to provide an instructional technology solution that helps all students incease achievement in science and mathematics.

Congratulations to Melissa on this wonderful honor!

The Snoop had a fun interview with Larry JacobsEducation Talk Radio, on October 13th, and I was joined by Polly Stansell, SVP, Product Development for Voyager Sopris Learning. We provided some of our own key take-aways from this year’s conference.

Did you miss it? If so, check out the archived program!

And now, off to another beautiful Fall weekend! I have grandkids’ soccer games and some fall festivals on my to-do list. Go have yourself some fun. I will see you back here next Friday. Till then….Vicki, the Snoop

[Send me your scoops at and be sure to follow me on Twitter @Snoops4Scoops #SheSnoops]