Our mission is to transform learning so it’s personalized, best of breed, engaging, and mobile; enabling students to succeed in school and in life.
Sense of purpose.
We are inspired to fulfill a mission larger than ourselves. We recognize that every person on our team has an important role to play in helping students and teachers grow.
We work hard to deliver software and services that are truly valuable to schools, teachers and the students they serve. We are resilient, persisting through obstacles and collaborating across teams in pursuit of solutions.
We value integrity of word and work, collaboration, and respect for others opinions.
We seek out and expect that compelling data and research offers us the opportunity to change our approach quickly to best serve our students.
We ask questions rigorously and are always transparent and humble. We value tough, constructive questioning and thoughtful dissenting perspectives, believing that our students deserve nothing less.
Meet the Team
If you are really bright, passionate about education, and want to do something amazing, then Join the Team.
Founder & CEO
David has a passion for partnering with innovative district and charter leaders to leverage iPads and the vast ecosystem of educational apps to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), personalize learning, engage students, and raise student achievement. Before eSpark, David spent four years teaching using computer simulations and spent four years as a management consultant for ZS Associates. David has a BS from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Chicago, where he studied social entrepreneurship. David lives in Chicago with his wife Aarthi and new son Devin. David’s favorite app is Motion Math.
Luke is a hacker and learner. He joined the eSpark team as CTO because he has a passion for understanding how elementary schoolchildren’s learning can be dramatically personalized with technology. Previously, he managed the Mobile Platform team at Facebook, which provides distribution, payments, and tools to developers on iOS and Android devices. He also helped build Facebook Connect and the initial version of the OAuth 2.0 protocol. Luke holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.
VP of Finance
Anushree loves the variety of opportunities and challenges that new ventures provide and enjoys melding the accounting and commercial aspects of business. Anushree believes that the ability to provide “personalized learning” by leveraging technology is a powerful concept that can cause a paradigm shift in education so she is excited to be apart of eSpark. Prior to eSpark Anushree served as CFO at InStadium and was also part of the founding team of Brill Street & Co. She brings extensive experience in finance and business management at entrepreneurial and growth-oriented ventures. Anushree has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Calcutta and a Master’s degree in Accounting from Loyola University, Chicago and is also a Certified Public Accountant. She lives in Chicago with her husband Amith.
Director of Partnership Delivery
Kirat has always been looking for an opportunity to make an impact in education. Before eSpark, Kirat spent 5 years as a management consultant at ZS Associates where he aided companies implement large-scale changes. Kirat holds a BSE from The Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife Nirali. When Kirat sees a large open field, all he wants to do is relax and throw a frisbee.
Learning Design Manager
Emily believes that all students deserve great schools where learning is challenging and fun. Prior to joining eSpark, Emily was a Master Teacher with the UNO Charter School Network, leading a team of 16 elementary and special education teachers. Previously, she taught middle school language arts for 4 years on the west side of Chicago and in Washington, DC with Teach for America. Emily holds a B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from American University.
Strategic Partnership Manager
Michelle began her career working in Finance and Accounting in New York City, and then soon pursued her passion for education. She taught middle school mathematics for three years in Harlem, NY. Coming from a technology focused background, she fought to get technology into the school she worked at. In 2011 she moved to Chicago where she taught High School Mathematics at Perspectives Charter School. Michelle believes that technology is the key to individualizing education. She holds a BS degree in Finance and Accounting from Georgia Tech and a MA in Secondary Education. When not working she likes to compete in endurance events and eSpark Olympics!
Blended Learning Consultant
Through his five years of classroom teaching and tutoring experience, Shuaib has seen the power of technology impact students in the classroom and is passionate about sharing this insight with others. Prior to eSpark, Shuaib was with the Teach for America program in San Jose where he taught mathematics. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Biology and also holds Mathematics teaching credentials from Alliant International University in San Francisco. His favorite education app is Motion Math.
Senior Curriculum Innovation Specialist
Maren is a senior curriculum innovation specialist on eSpark’s data-driven Learning Design team. In her previous work as a classroom teacher, Maren recognized technology’s impact, ability to provide differentiated learning experiences, and potential to transform education. As eSpark’s second team member Maren has guided the curriculum development process to become increasingly more data-driven, rigorous, and “four C’s” focused. Maren holds degrees from the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.
Allyson Julian is a member of the product development team at eSpark. Prior to eSpark, Allyson spent time in both the educational and non-profit industries. Her specialties include PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS, Linux Server Administration, Digital Media Creation, Social Media Strategy, and Branding/Identity Creation.
School Partnership Manager
Bob finds that the most ideal education is an individualized plan for each student: one that is engaging and rigorous. Before joining eSpark, Bob was an administrator for 4 years and a classroom teacher for 6 years in the Chicago Public Schools. Bob holds a BS in Elementary Education from Loyola University of Chicago, Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling to exotic places like Africa and Thailand or spending his time training for marathons. Currently, his favorite app is Pearl Diver.
School Partnership Manager
Colleen is enthusiastic about challenging and guiding students towards success. She joined eSpark because she understands the challenge of differentiation and believes the iPad is a powerful tool that can drastically change the education experience for teachers and students. She has taught in a variety of public education settings for the past 4 years as a Reading Intervention teacher. Colleen has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Reading and a Master of Education in the area of Reading and Literacy. She enjoys working with coastal schools where she can schedule surf lessons after hanging out in classrooms. Colleen’s favorite educational app is Monkey Blocks.
Alex is excited to solve challenging problems and to utilize technology to make an impact on the way students learn. Previously, Alex led API and infrastructure development at a startup in Berlin, helped build a successful social marketing platform at what is now Adobe, and led part of a massive electronic medical record project at Kaiser Permanente, as well as moonlighting as an online bookseller. Alex is also active in the open source community as the author of the Koala Facebook gem and several other open source projects, and has spoken at a number of engineering conferences in places like Krakow, Barcelona, and Lyon. He studied computer science at the University of Chicago.
Senior Learning Design Analyst
Erin has been heavily involved in the EdTech space for the past 10 years, most recently delivering interactive whiteboard PD to teachers and district technology coordinators. Erin was also a classroom teacher, and this combination of work experience really allows her to understand the “business of education.” Erin finds the growing trend of using data to drive decisions extremely interesting and is passionate about early childhood literacy acquisition and development. When Erin is not working on curriculum development for eSpark, she has yarn and knitting needles in her hands. Her favorite app right now is Isaac Newton’s Gravity HD.
Partnership Delivery Manager
Jonathan taught three years in the Memphis City Schools and reading for five years at KIPP Ascend Charter School in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Like many teachers, he was constantly challenged by the need for differentiated instruction in his classrooms, and he really wishes he’d had eSpark on his side. He holds a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Rhodes College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Christian Brothers University. His favorite app right now is, duh, Motion Math, and he’s better at it than Kirat.
Strategic Account Manager
Brian knows the K-12 education industry very well having covered Northern California the past 12 years for Follett Educational Services, working with schools and districts on classroom curriculum materials. As a member of the eSpark sales team he enjoys working with both administrators and teachers and seeing the impact he can have on their organization. Brian received a B.S. in Leisure Studies/Tourism Mgmt from the University of Illinois. He enjoys playing basketball and golf as well as watching most sports especially football and basketball, go Bears!
New Partnerships Associate
Jenny graduated from the University of Illinois in Elementary Education, specializing in middle school ELA. While spending time in different classrooms, she realized the importance of students achieving self-agency and feeling empowered when learning. After working in educational publishing and creating content for students grades K–8, she joined eSpark in order to help push the boundaries of what learning looks and feels like in a classroom. As a New Partnerships Associate, Jenny wants to help school districts realize how eSpark can significantly impact student learning. When not working, Jenny can be found sailing on Lake Michigan or on her couch with a new book and hot chocolate.
Scott believes that eSpark sovles a crutial problem for many teachers and schools. So he works every day on trying to eSpark with the districts that need it. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon last spring with a degree in Physics and brings a data-oriented mindset to the marketing team. He also loves playing frisbee.
School Partnership Associate
Megan believes that individualized learning is the key to student success. She has always wanted to improve the lives of children and knew that pursuing the field of education would most effectively allow her to do so. She recently graduated from Boston College with a double major in Elementary Education and Human Development as well as a minor in Organizational Studies. She spent her college years working as a student teacher in a diversity of different schools and loved teaching, as well as learning from, her students. She has joined our team with the hope that she might contribute to a mission that is greater than herself. During her free time, she likes to spend time with friends and family, run, and explore Chicago.
School Partnership Associate
Ellen is a graduate of Northwestern University. As a veteran of the Chicago Public Schools system, Ellen holds a strong desire to help improve education, and believes that technology can powerfully aid in closing the achievement gap. As a member of the eSpark team, Ellen is thrilled to assist the Partnership team in providing individualized attention to students and teachers. Her current favorite app is Algebra Combat.
Director of Learning Design
Kelly is passionate about facilitating personalized learning at the nexus of curiosity, critical thinking, interactivity, and fun. Prior to joining eSpark, she was director of Curriculum and Instruction at CompassLearning Inc., overseeing the K-12 content for the Odyssey and Renzulli products. She is proud to have served as a PK-8 teacher, team leader, literacy coach, instructional specialist, and research assistant. Kelly is a licensed K-12 reading specialist and an alumnus of Teach for America. She holds an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.S. in Consumer Economics and Journalism from the University of Georgia Honors Program.
Student Learning Innovation Specialist
Mary believes innovative teaching and personalized learning are the driving forces behind student success. As a former special education teacher for students with low-incidence disabilities, Rti Coordinator and iPad Initiative Grant recipient with Chicago Public Schools, Mary utilized iPads to engage students, increase independence and promote inclusive classrooms. Mary holds a BA in Psychology and Spanish from The College of the Holy Cross, a Master of Education in the area of Special Education from Loyola University and an Educational Specialist Degree from National Louis University. Her favorite educational app right now is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Morgan Allen came to eSpark because she knew she wanted to use her skills for social good and is passionate about building an educational platform that helps change the way children learn. Prior to eSpark, she worked as an Operations Manager at i_SW and Marketing Coordinator at Salesforce.com. She holds a BA from Virginia Tech where she studied Communications and Marketing.
John has been working to make better software for over 15 years. As someone who believes that you should never stop learning he is excited to do what he can to improve the learning experience. John has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, and he brings an interest in Software Craftsmanship and a focus on clean and well-tested code to the team. He enjoys reading, cooking and baking, and traveling to places that have interesting things to eat and drink.
User Experience Designer
Athena wholeheartedly believes in the promise of innovative problem solving. As a User Experience Designer at eSpark, she hopes to provide a means for students to reach their potential and share a love for learning. Athena recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she majored in Industrial Design with a focus on engineering solutions towards social progress. She enjoys creating somethings out of nothings, adventuring, and contemplating ways to save the world.
Graphic and Web Designer
Sarah made her way to eSpark after working at various youth and education-focused nonprofits. She is passionate about finding creative ways to close the achievement gap and inspire kids to be lifelong learners. Sarah holds a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Miami University. When not nose-deep in Adobe Illustrator, Sarah enjoys cooking, hanging with her puppy Louie, and being outdoors. Her favorite app right now is Duolingo.
Scott started in October as a Partnership Delivery intern but has made his way over to Engineering. He is interested in using data to solve problems in education. Perhaps this comes from his physics education at Carnegie Mellon University where he will receive his B.S. in the spring. His favorite app is The Going to Bed Book. It is awesome. You should go check it out right now.
Faaiz has an intense passion for innovative technology and impactful early stage products. Faaiz is currently a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying International Relations. Faaiz joined the eSpark team as one of its first team members and has been enjoying every moment since. In addition to eSpark, Faaiz was chosen as a 2012 TEC Fellow at True Ventures in San Francisco. He is looking to stay within the early stage/venture space for his career aspirations. In his spare time, Faaiz manages his own charity, SHARE Midwest, that donates clean and unused medical supplies to the developing world. His favorite educational app is Math Blaster Hyperblaster.
Partnership Delivery Intern
Susie has a passion for youth advocacy and education. Prior to joining eSpark in October, she served as an AmeriCorps Member in Chicago in 2011. She taught substance abuse prevention to middle school students at multiple schools in the Chicago area. She also designed and facilitated gender-specific after-school and summer programming based on empowerment and leadership. In August she continued her passion for youth development as an Enrichment Instructor for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago. Susie recognizes the importance and need for individualized based learning and is excited to be helping eSpark students nationwide achieve their goals! She received a B.A. in History from the University of Vermont. When she is not working she likes to take trips to New England and spend time by the ocean. That’s why her favorite app is Pearl Diver.
School Partnership Intern
Becca is currently earning her MA in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University. Since the beginning of college, she has worked in diverse school settings across the Chicagoland and Madison metropolitan areas and has seen the power that technology can have in creating motivating and individualized educational experiences for all students. As a Partnership team intern, she is thrilled to be a part of bringing these kinds of awesome experiences to students across the country through eSpark’s iPad program. In 2011, she received a BS from Northwestern University in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a concentration in Learning Disabilities. When she is not working, Becca enjoys volunteering with Best Buddies and baking – if there is ever a chocolate chip in sight, it’s being made into a cookie.
Thom van der Doef
User Experience Designer
Before coming to eSpark, Thom van der Doef worked as a graphic and UX designer for Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill Education. He has a Masters in Design Methods from IIT’s Institute of Design and is most excited about using design methods to create amazing learning experiences for students and teachers. When his twin boys Bas and Martin are old enough to join him, he will again enjoy backcountry hiking, drumming, and going to art shows.
School Partnership Manger
Carrie saw the power of iPads in the classroom first-hand while teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in the Chicago Public Schools. She found it inspiring to see all students grow through a blended learning model and is thrilled to share those experiences in schools around the country. Carrie began her career in the education department of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and then spent 10 exciting years as a teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from DePauw Univeristy and a Master of Education for Roosevlet University. During her free time, Carrie likes spending time her family, playing and watching sports, and decorating her home.
Sarah is thrilled to rejoin eSpark after interning with the team for two consecutive summers. She is passionate about promoting eSpark to educators in order to help more students succeed academically. Her volunteer experiences in Cincinnati and Chicago have showed her the value of utilizing innovative educational tools to help children learn. Sarah holds a BBA in Marketing from Loyola University Chicago. Cooking, eating, and traveling with friends and family are a few of her favorite things.
Val taught preschool for two years on Chicago’s South Side. During this time, Val realized the need for a balance between traditional teaching methods and the integration of new educational technology. Although, she had the use of an iPad in her classroom, it was difficult to find authentic applications that targeted a specific student’s learning goal – eSpark to the rescue! Val holds a BA in English from DePaul University and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from Dominican University.
Maya believes in using data and statistics to inform and improve education. Prior to joining eSpark, she was a researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her work investigated how public schools impact inequality and long term student outcomes. Maya holds degrees in Economics and Public Policy from Stanford University and the University of Chicago. Her favorite R package is R Color Brewer.
Having just graduated from Northwestern University (Computer Science), Gursimran is excited to continue learning and helping other students learn. He loves to hop around projects and technologies and to learn better ways to do approach problems. At Northwestern, he was involved with Hack Northwestern and various side projects, along with learning a great deal about what it takes to be in a tech startup. He also likes sci-fi.
School Technology Manager
Alex believes strongly in the importance of education and the power of technology to enable and transform student learning. Alex has Information Technology experience in both K12 and higher education and holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
New Partnerships Associate
Josh is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, with a degree in Psychology and Business. A music and sports enthusiast, Josh is new to the ed tech industry. Having spent the last 8 years doing extensive tutoring in the Washington D.C. and Chicago areas, he witnessed firsthand the challenges students face staying motivated when performing above or below grade level. Josh sees personalized learning as the key to the future of education and is thrilled to be a part of the eSpark team that strives to make that vision a reality.
Finance & Accounting Intern
Mustafa is currently in his final year in DePaul University’s Strobel Honors Accounting Program, majoring in Accounting and Finance. Mustafa hopes to earn his CPA certification after graduation. He finds the idea of contributing to the establishment of an efficient accounting process at a fast-growing start-up to be a great way to test the knowledge he’s gained. Prior to eSpark, Mustafa interned at Ernst and Young in Audit as well as at Abbott Laboratories in Financial Planning and Analysis and Internal Audit. Mustafa’s favorite things are cars, coffee, colognes, fitness and technology.
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