Board of Directors
Founder & Chief ScientistZoran Popović is a Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, as well as founder of Enlearn. Trained as a computer scientist, his research focuses on creating engaging environments for learning and scientific discovery. He is one of the leaders in the field of large-scale citizen science. His laboratory created Foldit, a biochemistry game that produced four Nature publications, and showed for the first time that novices can be developed into world-class experts in a science domain through game-based scientific discovery. His laboratory has produced award-winning math learning games played by over five million learners worldwide. He is currently focusing on engaging methods that can rapidly develop mastery and expertise in arbitrary domains with particular focus on scientific breakthroughs and revolutionizing K-12 math education. Zoran is known for conducting large-scale educational campaigns including Algebra Challenges conducted in Washington, Minnesota, and Norway with almost 100,000 students. To maximize the impact of his research, he founded Enlearn to develop the first platform that adapts all aspects of the learning ecosystem by specializing to each curriculum, student, classroom and teacher in realtime, towards maximizing learning outcomes. His contributions to the field of interactive computer experiences have been recognized by a number of awards including the NSF CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award.
Co-founder of Polaris Venture Partners, Vice Chairman of the George Lucas Educational FoundationSteve Arnold is co-founder of Polaris Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, and is co-founder and vice chairman of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, creators of www.edutopia.org. He also serves on the boards of The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, Enlearn, The Teaching Channel, and The New Mexico School for the Arts. Steve has been involved for more than 20 years in a wide range of projects and organizations dedicated to improving the quality of education in America.
President and CEO of Digital Promise
Karen Cator is President and CEO of Digital Promise. From 2009-2013, Karen was Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the development of the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and focused the Office’s efforts on teacher and leader support. Prior to that, Cator directed Apple’s leadership and advocacy efforts in education. She began her education career in Alaska as a teacher and served as Special Assistant for Telecommunications for the Governor of Alaska. Cator holds a Master’s in school administration from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s in early childhood education from Springfield College. She is a past chair for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and has served on boards including the Software & Information Industry Association-Education.
Former SVP for Education at PBS and SVP at Discovery Education
Rob Lippincott has a 30 year track record leading learning innovation while achieving financial success for public and private enterprise. As PBS SVP for Education, Mr. Lippincott led strategy and product development. As SVP for Discovery Education, he rebuilt and expanded Discovery’s full line of digital video streaming products for the home and school markets, reaching two thirds of US classrooms. As CEO of Children’s Progress, an early-childhood assessment company, he closed a fully-subscribed capital round in preparation for its sale. As VP of the Family Education Network, he engineered several acquisitions preparing the company for sale to Pearson where he then served as Senior Vice President and General Manager. Mr. Lippincott co-founded the eCommerce consulting division of Perot Systems Corporation and created new publishing technologies for Ziff-Davis, AT&T and WGBH. He has served as Board Secretary of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Chairman of the Interactive Multimedia Association.
Mr. Lippincott taught as a member of the faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, as the Assistant Headmaster of the Stowe School and in three Pennsylvania schools. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Harvard University.
President of Pear PressMark Pearson is the president of Pear Press, a small publisher that publishes big books. He founded the company after publishing Dennis Bakke’s Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job, which was a New York Times bestseller. His latest book is John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. Prior to that, he published John Medina’s Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, a long-running New York Times bestseller that is now being translated into 27 languages. Pearson also published Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, a 2,438-page 6-volume cookbook.
Former Director of Education, College Ready, Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation
Vicki Phillips most recently served as Director of Education, College Ready, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she lead the work to ensure U.S. high school students graduate ready to succeed, and to improve access to college.
Phillips has built a strong education reform record throughout her career, at all levels – from neighborhood schools to the federal government. For nearly three decades, she has endeavored to improve education – as a teacher, state-level policymaker, leader of a nonprofit education foundation, superintendent of a large urban school district, and for nearly a decade as the director of education for the world’s largest foundation.
Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she was superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Portland, Oregon. Earlier, Phillips served as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s appointed secretary of education and that state’s chief state school officer. She previously served at the state level in her home state of Kentucky, helping to implement the sweeping changes demanded by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. Phillips has worked with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., and has been a middle and high school teacher.
Born in Kentucky and raised on a small farm, Phillips was the first in her family to go to college, and earned first a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education and a master’s degree in school psychology from Western Kentucky University. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and management from the University of Lincoln in England, and served as a founding member of the governing council for England’s National College for School Leadership.
Senior Principal Scientist, Adobe Systems
David Simons is Senior Principal Scientist at Adobe Systems in Dynamic Media Advanced Product Development (APD). He co-founded The Company of Science & Art (CoSA) in 1990. CoSA created After Effects, and was acquired by Aldus Corporation in 1993 and merged with Adobe Systems in 1994. After Effects has become one of the top software applications for the visual effects and motion graphics industries, producing over half a billion dollars in total revenue for Adobe since 1994. David served as the Engineering Manager for After Effects for fourteen years before moving into his current senior position at Adobe, leading the APD group in Seattle. David has authored more than twenty patents related to digital compositing and animation and holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Brown University.
Founder of Volition LLC and Senior Advisor to New Profit
David Levy is the founder of Volition LLC which helps mission-driven organizations to: make strategic choices with the necessary commitment that results in action; position themselves for advantage and success; design and build the capabilities needed for success; and implement their strategies, including operating model transformation and change management support.
David brings more than 30 years of experience across the private, nonprofit and public sectors to his work. His private sector consulting experience, spanning 17 years, includes partner-level positions at Booz & Co. and Monitor Group where he served international clients primarily in life sciences (pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, consumer health and medical devices), nutrition, weight management and consumer products. David specialized in developing growth strategies, designing the required growth capabilities, and helping clients implement those capabilities. Prior to consulting, he was an R&D executive with Herman Miller, Inc. where he co-authored the design criteria for the Aeron™ Chair.
In the nonprofit sector, David has done extensive consulting work with leading organizations such as New Profit Inc., Teach for America and Management Leaders for Tomorrow, and serves on the board of Acelero Learning, Enlearn and LEAP Innovations. He worked with New Profit on their initial growth strategies, development of proprietary intellectual capital, development strategy, operating model and mentoring social entrepreneurs. David advised Wendy Kopp, then CEO and Founder of Teach for America, for over five years during which time the organization more than doubled the number of students served. Engagements included repositioning of the Teach for America brand, improving core member satisfaction, advising on growth strategies, overhauling the board of directors and building the organizational capacity required to deliver an aggressive five-year growth strategy.
David graduated with distinction from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Architecture, received his M.S. from Cornell and Doctor of Architecture from The University of Michigan where he also was an Assistant Professor of Architecture.
Recent Blog Posts
From our thought leaders
Former deputy secretary of education to head expanded initiative By Benjamin Herold June 29, 2017 Pediatrician Priscilla Chan and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are gearing up to invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year in a new vision of “whole-child...
Alan November, June 16, 2017, eSchool News. Instead of rewarding students for how many problems they solve, here’s what schools should be focusing on instead. If you told me that students as young as first grade can learn to solve complex linear equations—an algebraic...
Tom Vander Ark, May 10, 2017, Education Week. In his article, On the Brink of Massive Change: Is This The Future You Want?, Tom Vander Ark raises questions about how our world is going to change over the next two decades with the technological revolution and mentions...
Nick Wingfield, April 24, 2017, New York Times. Enlearn's founder, Zoran Popović, who is Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington is interviewed in this New York Times article, Video Games Help Model Brain's Neurons, about “Mozak,” his...
New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization that helps bold problem solvers break through to transform lives, communities, and systems, launched the Personalized Learning Initiative and Zoran Popovic joins their Learning Community. Click here to read the full...
Tom Vander Ark, Jan 17, 2017, Getting Smart. In this episode of Tom Vander Ark's podcast on Getting Smart, Zoran Popović, Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, chats about computer science, gaming, virtual reality and how we can help...