Tch Management Team
I’ve had several teachers who changed the course of my life, but none come to mind more strongly than my high school chemistry teacher. He knew that I was “on cruise control” to a B grade and would not let that stand. He explained that my B would become an F. Bold and arbitrary, to be sure, but also electrifying and motivating. I learned much more about what I could do than I learned about the subject.
I was always curious and interested in learning when, in my thirties and already with a career that spanned good-hearted political causes and the entertainment industry, I found myself with a desire to complete my undergraduate education. Eternally attracted to general concepts of science, I returned to UCLA and finished up with a degree in history with a focus on the history and philosophy of science. I then decided to continue my studies -- now with two young daughters -- at Stanford Law School. After graduation and practicing law for a mere 11 months, I became fascinated with the emerging learning software industry and left to join a kids educational software company, Knowledge Adventure. Their successful product line, called Jumpstart, was grounded in a simple mission to help kids do better in school. The company was acquired, grew, and I worked alongside category-leading game developers, such as Blizzard Entertainment, to explore how to make online experiences even more engaging. I then joined an early Internet search company, Ask Jeeves, which was founded on the notion that adults also wanted to learn, often by asking questions. That led to the company’s international expansion, and to my tenure as CEO of the U.K and Ireland division. When the Internet took a pause during the early 2000s, I co-founded and was co-CEO of Yoga Works, a leading brand of yoga studios, and helped expand its teacher training business.
After a stint as CEO of a small public company that specialized in developing internet content, I followed my true north compass back to education and joined Apollo Education Group (who owns the University of Phoenix). As Senior Vice President of Integrated Academic Strategies and Development, I focused on developing cutting edge, online software platforms and programs, including Innovators Accelerator with Clayton Christensen, and I managed the School of Continuing Education. I am or have been a special/strategic advisor regarding learning businesses and ecosystems to Airbnb, Stanford University Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning, and the Graduate School of Education, IDEO, and others. I believe learning is not just the stuff that helps us and teachers do better in the classroom and in our careers. It is part of what makes us uniquely human. And keeps us vibrant.
Erika Nielsen Andrew
Chief Academic Officer
As a small child I always knew that I was meant to be a teacher, but it took me a while to figure that out. I went to a large, small-town high school with a huge and competitive marching band. We earned physical education credit so that we could take two periods of music: one for marching, one for sectionals based on instrument type. One day, our fearless leader Mr. Stratton asked me if I would lead the flute session in our daily sectional. Suddenly I found myself standing before 25 flute players looking to me for guidance about both the flute and the music. It was here that I had my first lessons in classroom management. I also discovered my fascination with teaching. I felt the power of what it means when a teacher believes in you, even in a task well beyond your years. I felt deep purpose and satisfaction in passing on this belief to my new “students.” I was immediately absorbed in learning the craft of teaching, a feeling that has not left me in the 34 years that have followed.
I also knew at a very early age the power and importance of teams. As an eight-year-old volunteer at the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Fresno, California, I had my first experience on a team that mattered. I loved how it felt to accomplish something important, and how we egged each other on to be better than we thought we could be. I brought that same spirit to my classroom teaching and subsequent leadership roles. The opportunity to create vibrancy and inspiration for teachers in an infinitely knowable craft, is also what drew me to Teaching Channel.
Vice President, Operations
Who would have thought that some innocent volunteer work could result in a total career change... I first joined the community at East Palo Alto Charter School as a tutor. When the year ended, it turned out there was an opportunity to support school-wide technology and digital literacy integration. In this role, I co-planned with every teacher from K to 8, co-taught and supported technology integration in their classrooms, and I got to be a sponge. I realize now that year was a unique and incredible gift. I spent every day observing effective teachers at every grade level, in every subject area, and had the opportunity to try out new instructional strategies and make them my own. When a position opened up for a 7th and 8th grade math teacher, I leaped.
To the many teachers I met as a student and through my work at EPACS: You inspired me through my years as a teacher and taught me that teaching requires incredible perseverance, more skills than a ninja, and unending confidence in your students. I am excited to bring the same cat-like reflexes from my years as a teacher and coach to Teaching Channel, and work to create a resource for teachers that is as inspiring as the teachers I’ve known in my life.
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