About Us

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Age of Learning blends education best practices, innovative technology, and insightful creativity to bring learning to life for children across the U.S. and around the world.

Our flagship product, ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy, is the leading and most comprehensive digital early learning resource for children ages 2–8. Our content provides young learners, their families, and teachers with highly engaging and effective learning activities that build a strong foundation for academic success.

At Age of Learning, We’re Bringing Learning to Life®!


Leadership


Curriculum Board & Academic Leadership

At Age of Learning, a broad range of experts in the fields of curriculum development, instruction, assessment, and child development guide the creation of our curriculum and content for young learners. The following individuals play a leading role in this important work.

Kimberly Oliver Burnim

Kimberly Oliver BurnimCurriculum Board Member

Ms. Burnim is a kindergarten, first grade, and reading intervention teacher with 16 years of classroom experience. She was honored as National Teacher of the Year in 2006—one of only three kindergarten teachers to receive the award in more than 60 years. Certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and currently serving on that organization’s Board of Directors, Ms. Burnim brings to ABCmouse a deep and forward-thinking understanding of how to support language and literacy development for young learners. In addition to strategic curriculum planning, Ms. Burnim collaborates in the design of ABCmouse learning activities to ensure they are developmentally appropriate, incorporate effective teaching strategies, and help to build a strong foundation of essential concepts and skills important for early learners.

Dr. Rebecca Palacios

Dr. Rebecca PalaciosCurriculum Board Member

A 2014 inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, Dr. Palacios has more than three decades of experience in early childhood education, as well as a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of dual language learning, and is co-founder and former vice-chairperson of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an organization that has certified more than 110,000 teachers. For ABCmouse, Dr. Palacios works on strategic curriculum planning, the design of age-appropriate learning activities, and the development of site content supporting English language learning. Dr. Palacios is a nationwide professional development presenter and has served on committees for the National Science Foundation, the Education Development Center in Boston, and Scholastic, Inc. Dr. Palacios has published articles on teacher professional development, early childhood education, and dual language programs.

Stephen M. Tomecek

Stephen M. TomecekCurriculum Board Member

Mr. Tomecek served as the Science Educational Consultant for 3–2–1 Classroom Contact, produced by Children’s Television Workshop, and as a curriculum specialist for both Newton’s Apple and Scholastic’s Magic School Bus. Mr. Tomecek has written more than 45 nonfiction books for both teachers and children. His first book, Bouncing & Bending Light, won the 1996 American Institute of Physics science writing award, and he has written six books for the highly acclaimed Jump Into Science series published by National Geographic. Mr. Tomecek served as Associate Director for the Science Museum of Long Island and as the Science Program Supervisor for the New York Hall of Science. Mr. Tomecek has also been a writer and science consultant for Chelsea House, Scholastic, Inc., and the National Geographic Society.

Phyllis Baecker

Phyllis BaeckerCurriculum Board Member

Ms. Baecker has more than two decades of experience as an editor for several leading children’s educational publishers, including Scholastic, Inc. Throughout her career, Ms. Baecker has managed, edited, rewritten, and provided production services for numerous individual children’s books and series as well as parent’s and teacher’s guides, including the My First Steps to Reading series, Dr. Seuss and His Friends parent guides, Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading books, and the Clifford book series. Ms. Baecker’s expertise in children’s publishing helps to ensure that all ABCmouse books represent the best editorial practices for young readers.

Dr. John Bollard

Dr. John BollardCurriculum Board Member

Dr. Bollard is a professional lexicographer with more than 25 years of experience. In addition to 10 years as an editor at Merriam-Webster, Dr. Bollard has served as Senior Editor of the Cambridge Dictionary of American English (2007), Editor of the Scholastic Student Thesaurus (2002) and Children’s Thesaurus (1998), Contributing Editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary (2001), and Consulting Editor for Webster’s New World Thesaurus (1996). Dr. Bollard edits all entries in the extensive ABCmouse glossary and helps ensure that the site is a rich and valuable resource for vocabulary development for young children.

Dr. Twila Tardif

Dr. Twila Tardif Curriculum Board Member

Dr. Tardif is a renowned and published scholar in the study of how children learn their native language and how that impacts learning a second language. She is a professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of Psychology, and is former Associate Dean of the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts and former Director of the Center for Human Growth and Development. Dr. Tardif has conducted over 20 years of research examining Chinese children's progress through spoken language and literacy development. She has advised on Nickelodeon’s popular multi-cultural animated series Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. Dr. Tardif speaks several languages, including Mandarin, which she learned while teaching English in a rural community in central China. Dr. Tardif earned her Ph.D. at Yale.

Dr. Leslie Ponciano

Dr. Leslie Ponciano
Director Research & Educational Partnerships

Dr. Ponciano is a child development expert with nearly two decades of experience in early childhood research. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine; an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a Ph.D. in Education from UCLA. At UCLA, Dr. Ponciano created early childhood education courses and directed an academic program. More recently, she created and directed the Early Childhood Education Masters program at Loyola Marymount University. She served two terms on the board of directors for Peace4Kids, a community-based organization serving foster children, and remains active in the organization.

Scott Kim, Ph.D.

Scott Kim, Ph.D. Puzzle Master

Scott is one of the world’s foremost puzzle designers, specializing in puzzles and visual thinking games for math education. He is also a computer game designer, artist, and author. Scott was a long-time columnist for Discover magazine; contributed to Scientific American and Games magazines; and created the book Inversions, which contains 60 of his original ambigrams—words and other symbols that can be read or interpreted from different directions or orientations. Scott earned a B.A. in Music and a Ph.D. in Computers and Graphic Design from Stanford University. Watch Scott's TED Talk about his passion for puzzles.

Kim Berglund

Kim Berglund Curriculum Board Member

Ms. Berglund is a leader in digital educational media, with more than 15 years of experience as an educator and developer of award-winning video and interactive digital learning resources for young children. She recently served as Director of Development and Research in Early Math Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Previously, she spent eight years as Content and Curriculum Director at PBS Kids, where she oversaw content development on multiple media platforms and created comprehensive curriculum frameworks based on current teaching standards to guide the development of all media content. Ms. Berglund has also worked with The Fred Rogers Company and WGBH. She began her career as an elementary and preschool teacher. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Management Team

Age of Learning’s management team includes individuals with diverse backgrounds in entrepreneurship, content development, technology, media, entertainment, consumer research, international business, and finance.

Doug Dohring

Doug DohringFounder & CEO

Doug Dohring is a California-based entrepreneur who has led several companies to success over the past three decades. Doug founded Age of Learning, Inc., in February 2007, which brought together experts in the field of education, creative content developers, and engineers to develop and launch ABCmouse.com, the most comprehensive digital learning resource for children ages 2—7. Winner of numerous awards from national education, parent, and media organizations, ABCmouse offers a comprehensive expert-designed curriculum for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade. ABCmouse.com is regularly ranked as the leading children's learning app for iOS and Android. To date, children have completed more than 1.9 billion learning activities on ABCmouse.

Prior to founding Age of Learning, Doug founded NeoPets, Inc., in February 2000. Neopets.com rapidly became one of the world’s top-ranked websites, generating more than 8 billion page views per month in 11 languages globally. Advertising Age named Doug one of the Top 100 Marketers of the Year in 2001, and in 2002, with the expansion of NeoPets into Asia, Neopets and Doug were the subject of a Harvard Business School Case Study. Doug served as Chairman and CEO of NeoPets, Inc., from its inception through its $160 million sale to Viacom in June of 2005. Before NeoPets, Doug founded The Dohring Company in 1986, which quickly grew to become a top-100 market research firm in the U.S., serving thousands of clients.

Listed alphabetically:

Farshid Almassizadeh

Farshid Almassizadeh
President of Operations

Farshid came to Age of Learning after 25 years of leadership in the computer, video, and mobile gaming industry. Farshid was a VP and COO at Electronic Arts Interactive, a $1.2 billion division that included EA Mobile, Pogo, Playfish, and PopCap Studios. He joined EA and Maxis in 2003 to establish the Sims Console Division. Farshid’s initial foray into the gaming industry was co-founding one of the premier independent development studios, known as Presto Studios, Inc., in 1991.

Lee Borth

Lee BorthCOO

Lee served as COO of NeoPets, Inc., from 2000 to 2006, overseeing the development of Neopets.com into one of the largest youth communities on the Internet. Lee spearheaded the company’s licensing, merchandising, and promotions activities, securing strategic relationships with companies such as Sony Computer Entertainment, McDonald’s, General Mills, and Wizards of the Coast. Prior to NeoPets, Lee was VP Business Development at The Dohring Company for more than eight years.

Shannon Castellani

Shannon CastellaniVP Legal

Shannon joined Age of Learning with 20 years of experience in corporate and legal affairs, most recently as Deputy General Counsel and Privacy Officer for Everbridge, Inc., a high-growth global SaaS company.  At Everbridge she also served as acting General Counsel, responsible for filing the company’s initial confidential S-1 with the SEC. Previously, Shannon served as Associate General Counsel at Move, Inc. (acquired by News Corp.) and practiced law at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP in both the Entertainment and Corporate practices. She holds a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the San Diego Law Review.

Jerry Chen

Jerry ChenPresident of Greater China

Before joining Age of Learning, Jerry co-founded AboveNet Communications in 1996, which later listed on NASDAQ, and oversaw Asia-Pacific regional operations. He subsequently became a real estate developer and an angel investor in Silicon Valley and China. A native of Taiwan, Jerry earned his M.B.A. from the University of Hartford.

Rob Corley

Rob CorleyArt Director

Rob was an artist and animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation for more than a decade before coming to Age of Learning. Rob contributed to such animated feature classics as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and many other Disney animated feature films and projects. Rob has also provided freelance illustration, character design, and artistic direction for clients such as Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, Warner Bros., Big Idea Productions, and others. Rob completed his illustration studies at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Alex Galvagni

Alex GalvagniPresident of Production

Alex came to Age of Learning with more than 20 years of expertise building and leading innovative software development organizations. Most recently, he served as the General Manager of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment game studio Turbine, where he led the company’s expansion into mobile. Previously, Alex was President and Chief Operating Officer of Transpera, Inc., a leading mobile video ad network acquired by Tremor Video (NYSE: TRMR); and Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Development at Glu Mobile, Inc. (NASDAQ: GLUU). Alex also spent several years as a Senior Software Engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. He holds an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University.

Sunil Gunderia

Sunil GunderiaSVP Strategy

Sunil spent 11 years at The Walt Disney Company, most recently as GM Mobile and VP Digital Distribution, overseeing mobile activities globally. During his Disney career, Sunil managed internal and external studios and led the creation of dozens of products. He began his career as a management consultant at Ernst & Young. He has a B.A. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Accounting from the University of Georgia, and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Dave Hendry

Dave HendrySVP Curriculum Management

Dave has served as Principal Investigator in two national U.S. Department of Education Professional Development projects and has directed and coordinated curriculum development activities for four National Science Foundation projects. He is a two-time winner of the George Foster Peabody Award for educational documentary production and winner of the Educational Press Association’s highest award for curriculum design. Dave holds B.S. degrees in Physics and in Mathematics from the University of Arizona.

Paula Hidalgo

Paula Hidalgo, Ph.D.VP Product Development

Prior to her leadership role at Age of Learning, Paula had more than 15 years of executive experience in product development for education companies ranging from startups to global leaders. After working at McKinsey & Co., Paula held several executive positions at Pearson, including VP Design and Development. She was Chief Academic Officer at GameDesk, and at Math Solutions she pioneered the development of online professional development offerings. Paula worked at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) while earning her Ph.D. from UCLA. She has extensive teaching experience and has taught and is fluent in five languages.

Zachary Katz

Zachary KatzSVP Corporate Development

Before joining Age of Learning, Zac was Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission, responsible for the agency’s policymaking and operations on behalf of Chairman Julius Genachowski. At the FCC, Zac oversaw and helped launch a major upgrade of the E-rate program, which provides billions of dollars in annual funding to help connect schools and libraries to the Internet. He joined the FCC in 2009 from the White House, and he previously practiced law at Munger, Tolles & Olson, after beginning his career in strategy consulting and venture investing in Silicon Valley. Zac graduated from Yale Law School, where he was Editor in Chief of The Yale Law Journal.

Thuy Kim

Thuy KimVP Business Intelligence

Thuy was Senior Director of Business Analytics, Digital Analytics & Optimization, and Enterprise Analytics at Experian for nearly five years before joining Age of Learning to lead the Business Intelligence team. She also directed the Web Business Analytics team at Kelley Blue Book for six years. Thuy earned a B.S. in Advertising at the University of Texas at Austin and did graduate work at Stanford University.

Rik Kinney

Rik KinneyEVP

As EVP at NeoPets, Inc., from 2000 to 2006, Rik was responsible for overseeing business development and client advertising; personally engaging clients such as The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Proctor and Gamble, Kraft, Mattel, and McDonald’s; and spearheading the development of innovative, immersive advertising campaigns. Rik served as EVP at The Dohring Company for more than 14 years, advising thousands of corporate clients on their advertising, marketing, and Internet strategies.

Miriam Lewis

Miriam LewisSVP Administration

Prior to joining Age of Learning, Miriam was a VP at NeoPets, Inc., supervising the company’s Administration, HR, and Facilities operations through its transition from startup to an industry leader in the online youth entertainment space. Before NeoPets, Miriam served as VP of Client Services at The Dohring Company, overseeing services for more than 1,000 research clients. Miriam also managed administration and HR operations during her eight years with The Dohring Company.

Michael Marchetti

Michael MarchettiCFO

Michael has been a leading player in the growth of interactive entertainment for more than 15 years. He was most recently CEO of Buffalo Studios, which was sold to Caesars Interactive in 2012. In 2000, Michael was a founding executive and CFO of JAMDAT Mobile, leading JAMDAT’s highly successful IPO in 2005 and its acquisition by Electronic Arts in 2006. From 2006 to 2011 he led multiple platform and business model transitions at EA as SVP and GM for mobile, Pogo, and social games. Michael began his career on Wall Street as a corporate lawyer at Cahill Gordon & Reindel and then as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch.

Bill McCaffrey

Bill McCaffreyCTO

Bill was CTO of NeoPets, Inc., where he designed and built systems to support more than 140 million registered accounts, facilitated translations into 10 languages, and expedited international expansion and scaling to serve more than 8 billion page views per month. Prior to NeoPets, Bill was in charge of technology and systems at The Dohring Company, including the development and oversight of the company’s online panel, OpinionSurveys.com. At Age of Learning, Bill oversees a team of engineers building products and services in PHP, JavaScript, HTML 5, and MySQL, on Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems in a distributed AWS cloud.

Kevin O'Donnell

Kevin O'DonnellSenior Producer

Kevin brings more than 30 years of executive-level experience in the field of children’s entertainment, including educational entertainment, to his creative leadership role at Age of Learning. He created the award-winning PBS television series Liberty’s Kids, voiced by well-known personalities such as Warren Buffett, Walter Cronkite, Billy Crystal, Dustin Hoffman, and Whoopi Goldberg. Kevin creatively contributed to classic children’s shows, including Madeline, Dennis the Menace, and Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego; and he has worked on interactive educational games with companies such as Lucas Arts, Sundance, and PBS.

Bill Salak

Bill SalakSVP Technology

Bill came to Age of Learning after more than a decade overseeing large-scale web development projects and has more than 15 years of experience in web application architecture and development. Bill founded and served as CTO of multiple Internet and web development companies, leading technology projects for companies including AOL, HBO, NBC-Universal, the U.S. Army, Hasbro, Highlights for Children, Educational Testing Systems, and Film LA. At Age of Learning, Bill leads the technology incubation and platform development teams, in addition to providing leadership and direction to the company’s open source initiatives.

David Samuelson

David SamuelsonHead of Global Schools

David’s 25-year career in the U.S. and global education sector began with educational publishing and software development at MECC, the company behind The Oregon Trail, where he served as VP and Executive Producer. That led to 15 years at Pearson, with executive roles including VP of Product Strategy, CMO of the $2 billion U.S. Schools division, and President of Global Schools. He also served as Achieve3000’s first CMO. Most recently, David was EVP and General Manager for Capstone, a global publisher of children’s books and software. Before transitioning to education, David had a successful career in theatre and television, winning an Emmy as a producer of children’s programming.

Christine Woertink

Christine WoertinkSVP Design

Christine has a 20-year track record of creative leadership success. In five years at Electronic Arts, Christine guided the development of the EA Mobile Publishing organization, overseeing Creative Marketing, Consumer Insights, and Interactive, as well as serving as the design lead for Worldwide Consumer Marketing. Prior to EA, Christine led creative and brand development teams at DirecTV and The Walt Disney Company. She has also provided creative and brand consultation for leading Internet brands including Lynda.com and Zynga. Christine holds a B.S. in Advertising and a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

Stephanie Yost

Stephanie YostSenior EVP Content Design & Production

Stephanie leads the development, design, and production of content at Age of Learning. From 2007 to 2015, she was EVP Content and General Counsel. Before joining Age of Learning, Stephanie spent seven years as General Counsel at NeoPets, Inc. She was previously a senior IP/new media associate at Troy & Gould, as well as a media litigator at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Stephanie clerked on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and holds a B.A. in Communications Studies from UCLA and a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law. Prior to law school, Stephanie produced live shows, records, and television commercials for a variety of clients. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and NARAS, as well as a Grammy nominee.


Board, Investors & Advisors

Sky Dayton

Sky DaytonChairman

Sky has a long history as a successful entrepreneur in the Internet industry, having founded, co-founded, and helped build companies with a combined market value of over $3 billion. Best known for founding the Internet service provider EarthLink in 1994, Sky also founded Boingo Wireless in 2001 and co-founded eCompanies, Business.com, and several other companies. Sky was an investor and active board member at NeoPets leading up to its sale to Viacom in 2005. As chairman of Age of Learning, he works closely with our management team to help guide our growth.

Will GriffithDirector

Will joined ICONIQ Capital as a Partner in 2013 and co-leads its merchant bank, including its technology and direct investment efforts. Prior to ICONIQ, Will was a General Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures and an Associate at The Beacon Group, a private equity firm acquired by JP Morgan Chase. Will began his career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley. He received B.A. degrees in Engineering and History from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Will has been an investor in a number of companies, including Alibaba, SurveyMonkey, The Honest Company, and Uber.

Yan Ke, Ph.D.

Yan has been a leading technology entrepreneur in the U.S. and China for almost two decades. In 1997, Yan left Cisco to co-found and serve as an executive at NetScreen Technologies, a Silicon Valley Internet security company that went public in 2001 (NASDAQ: NSCN) and was later acquired by Juniper Networks for $4 billion. In 2005, Yan co-founded Northern Light Venture Capital, a Beijing-based, China-focused venture capital firm that has backed more than 100 early- and growth-stage companies and manages nearly $2 billion in capital. Yan attended Tsinghua University in China, and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. In 2002, he was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Dan Rose

Dan is currently VP of Partnerships at Facebook. As head of global business development and operations, he is responsible for strategic partnerships, developer relations, M&A, and community operations. Dan joined Facebook in 2006 after seven years at Amazon in business development and product management, including the development of the Amazon Kindle. He has a B.A. from Harvard University.

Dave GoldbergIn Memoriam

Dave was an investor and trusted advisor to Age of Learning. A successful entrepreneur and widely respected technology executive (SurveyMonkey, LAUNCH Media), he shared our belief that every child should have access to a high-quality education. Dave helped to guide our strategy, build our team, and prepare the company for global expansion. We miss him greatly.


Creative & Production Team

Age of Learning's creative and production team includes hundreds of visual artists, designers, writers, editors, composers, musicians, voice-over artists, and engineers who work in partnership with curriculum experts to create educational content that is highly appealing to young learners.

To date, this team has created many thousands of learning activities and site features, including games, puzzles, and environments; fun and clever animations that feature a charming cast of characters; professionally voiced and beautifully illustrated original fiction and nonfiction books; and traditional and original children’s songs and chants, including the highly acclaimed The Letter Songs A to Z animated music videos.