We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. 

- Whoopi Goldberg

When I returned to school at 40 to pursue a master’s in education, many people asked what I could possibly learn in a classroom that I didn’t learn after decades in business. My classes and fellow students challenged me to dig deeper … to continuously put the user first in product design and development, to apply the framework of Universal Design for Learning so that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities, and to understand Stages' value and position in the ecosystem of existing autism education programs.

But, by far, the greatest value I walked away from Cambridge with is in the people I met. I am eternally grateful for the advice, support and friendship of John Richards, David Dockterman and Kathy Hurley. With brilliant careers focused on educational innovation and entrepreneurship, each is deeply dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders who are working to improve the state of education worldwide. Stages is a better company, and I am a better person, through their mentorship.

~ Angela Nelson

Picture of John Richards

John Richards, Ph.D.

John Richards, Ph.D., is Founder and President of Consulting Services for Education, Inc. (CS4Ed). He is a Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education teaching Entrepreneurship in the Education Marketplace. He is a senior Advisor to Whitestone Communications providing premier mergers and acquisitions services, on the Board of Girls Thinking Global, and on the Advisory Board of iCivics.

John was President of the JASON Foundation, GM of Turner Learning–the educational arm of Turner Broadcasting–and Manager of the Educational Technologies Division of Bolt Beranek and Newman that launched the award winning Co–NECT school design. Over the years, John has served on boards for a variety of education groups including NECC; Cable in the Classroom; Software Information Industry Association (SIIA), Education Market section; and the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP). John's projects have won him numerous awards including two Golden Lamps and several CODIEs, as well as several EMMY nominations. He is a respected keynote speaker and is the author/editor of four books, over 90 articles, and has been responsible for the publication of over 1,000 educational products.

Picture of David Dockterman

David Dockterman, Ed.D.

David (Doc) Dockterman operates at the intersection of research and practice. In 1982 he helped found Tom Snyder Productions, an early pioneer in educational technology, while getting his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Over the last 30 plus years, he has continued to balance lives in the academic and publishing worlds, serving now as Chief Architect, Learning Sciences for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

At Tom Snyder, and later at Scholastic and HMH, Doc designed dozens of award-winning computer programs including: Decisions, Decisions; Science Court; and The Great Ocean Rescue. Most recently, he served as a key advisor for the development of MATH180 and READ 180 Universal. He is a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education, an Editorial Board Member for the journal Science of Learning, and a Senior Fellow for the International Center for Leadership in Education.


Kathy Hurley

Kathy Hurley is President of Kathy Hurley Consulting LLC and a 40+ year veteran of the education industry with deep experience in marketing and sales. She advises industry-leading companies and non-profits and serves on the board of Concord Consortium, CTQ (Center for Teaching Quality),, Jason Learning, and NCTET. She and Deb DeVries co-founded Girls Thinking Global, a nonprofit dedicated to the empowerment and education of girls and young women worldwide, which merged with the Women’s Education Project where she now serves on the Board of Directors.

Previously, Kathy held the position of Executive Vice President Education Alliances, for the Pearson Foundation. Kathy and Priscilla Shumway, co-edited Real Women, Real Leaders, featuring 24 women who are top leaders in their field. Kathy is based in Punta Gorda, FL and Asbury Park, NJ.