At Age of Learning, our purpose is to help children everywhere build a strong foundation for academic success and to foster a lifelong love of learning. We blend education best practices, innovative technology, and insightful creativity to create engaging and effective educational experiences that bring learning to life. Our flagship program, the award-winning and research-validated ABCmouse.com® Early Learning Academy, is the leading and most comprehensive digital learning resource for children ages 2–8, designed to help prepare children for kindergarten and ensure third-grade readiness.
Today, two of every three children in the U.S. are not proficient in reading and more than half are not proficient in math by the time they reach fourth grade (The Nation’s Report Card). Globally, hundreds of millions of school-age children are below grade level in basic academic skills (Unesco Institute for Statistics).
These gaps in foundational learning have devastating long-term consequences for our children and our world. But these gaps can be closed: Decades of research shows that high-quality early learning experiences can significantly improve children's learning trajectories, with lifelong benefits. Age of Learning is committed to providing outstanding digital educational programs that help children develop the foundational skills required to succeed in school and beyond.
Our Curriculum Board of nationally recognized educators and experts in language development, child development, and early learning best practices guides the development of our programs, in collaboration with our in-house team of researchers and curriculum and assessment managers. Dozens of classroom teachers across the U.S. and around the world also review our programs and provide critical input. Our Curriculum Board members include a National Teacher of the Year, an inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame and co-founder of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and a leading scholar of language development, among other experts:
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Dr. Owen is an expert in game-based learning analytics. At Age of Learning she specializes in optimizing adaptive learning systems through applied machine learning. Previously she worked as a researcher and data scientist with GlassLab Games at Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) and LRNG by Collective Shift after earning a Ph.D. in Digital Media (Learning Analytics focus) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Owen’s doctoral work was based at the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) center, which launched collaborations with EA, Zynga, and PopCap Games using game-based Educational Data Mining. Dr. Owen spent a decade as a K–12 educator and was a founding teacher at the Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise charter school. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.
Dr. Rothschild oversees formative and user research across Age of Learning’s educational programs. She came to Age of Learning from WIDA, a leading educational research and program development organization within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she focused on early childhood assessment and design. Previously, at Microsoft Research, she conducted a joint research study between Microsoft and Sesame Workshop on media use with early learners. She also worked as an educational game designer and curriculum specialist and was a classroom teacher for several years. Dr. Rothschild earned a B.A. in Hawaiian Language and an M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus on Digital Media and Learning.
Dr. Schachner is an expert in research and evaluation of early learning programs. At Age of Learning she leads the company’s research on the educational efficacy of ABCmouse and other initiatives. Previously, Dr. Schachner was a principal education researcher at SRI International, where she led rigorous large-scale research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services. She has written and published extensively on the development of young children and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis, and a B.A. in Psychology, cum laude, from Georgetown University.
Our management team, comprised of executives with backgrounds in technology, media, consumer research, international business, finance, law, and government, includes:
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, and the company has 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—8. Winner of numerous awards from national education, parent, and media organizations, ABCmouse offers a comprehensive, expert-designed curriculum for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade. ABCmouse is regularly ranked as the top-grossing children's learning app for iOS and Android. To date, children have completed more than 3 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. In 2002, with the expansion of NeoPets into Asia, Neopets and Doug were the subject of a Harvard Business School Case Study on the company's viral growth and user engagement. Doug served as Chairman and CEO of NeoPets, Inc., from its inception through its $160 million sale to Viacom, Inc., 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. Learn more about Doug Dohring...
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 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 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.
Bing came to Age of Learning with two decades of experience in product management, product development, and product design, primarily in the education technology sector. He was previously VP Product Management and VP Product Development at Blackboard. Prior to that, Bing served as a member of the executive team of the NTI Group through its acquisition by Blackboard in 2008, helping grow the startup to become the leading provider of school-to-parent communications. He began his career in the tech sector with USWeb/CKS, which became marchFIRST after merging with Whittman-Hart, where he worked as a software developer, information architect, and client manager.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 $5 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 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 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 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 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.
We develop our educational programs through a deeply collaborative and child-centric process involving:
The goal of our process is to create engaging and highly effective educational experiences that help children achieve specific learning outcomes and develop a lifelong love of learning. It is comprised of three phases:
The process begins with research. Curriculum and assessment specialists collect, review, analyze, and synthesize three categories of information:
This body of information forms the basis of subsequent curriculum and assessment design decisions.
Curriculum specialists, with review and input from advisors, develop and validate comprehensive, detailed Scope and Sequence documents covering the subjects and topics to be addressed for each program under development. These documents present the specific learning objectives (concepts, principles, data, and skills) that will be taught for each topic.
Our curriculum team works with our creative content developers to determine the types of Learning Activities that will effectively address each learning objective, such as games, books, songs, puzzles, videos, and art activities. Our creative content team, including designers, visual artists, writers, editors, composers, musicians, voice-over artists, and engineers then create these activities in an iterative process heavily informed by user research.
Teams typically create a prototype of a new Learning Activity either on paper, with physical manipulatives, or digitally, and work with our User Research team to have children use the prototype in one or more research sessions. These sessions, which provide critical insights into children’s play-styles, behaviors, motivations, and challenges, test our hypotheses about how best to teach and assess. Based on this user research, our teams iterate Learning Activities and assessments before releasing them in to our live programs.
We then evaluate our programs through field testing and rigorous efficacy research to ensure they’re improving learning outcomes. We partner with third-party early learning experts, including SRI International, University of Oregon, NORC at the University of Chicago, and WestEd to study the effectiveness of our programs in a variety of use cases. More than a dozen large-scale research studies, including multiple randomized control trials, have found that ABCmouse accelerates learning and helps children make significant gains in early literacy and math skills.
Reflecting our commitment to help children everywhere build a strong foundation for academic success, Age of Learning's Education Access Initiatives reach millions of children by offering the full, award-winning ABCmouse.com® Early Learning Academy at no cost to teachers, libraries, and community centers, including afterschool programs and public housing authorities.
Age of Learning has partnered with the White House, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and others to serve children across the U.S. in need of high-quality early learning resources.