A Woman Owned Business
Stages Learning's status as a woman-owned business is a significant aspect of our company's identity. In a world where gender disparities and biases still exist, it is crucial to support and recognize the achievements of women in entrepreneurship and leadership roles. Stages strives not only to help break down barriers for women in the field of education, but also serves as a positive role model for aspiring female entrepreneurs. With over 25 years dedicated to creating materials for learners with autism, Stages has served more than 100,000 customers, reaching millions of children worldwide with our innovative products. Woman proudly hold the majority of leadership roles within our company, demonstrating the potential for success and innovation when a diverse range of perspectives and experiences are brought to the table. Today women makeup 25 percent of top executives, yet the percentage of women serving as chief executives of Fortune 500 companies is only 6 percent. While 71.2% of teachers in the United States are female, only 28.5% of the more than 7000 superintendent roles are held by are women. Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. Stages is committed to representation and leadership in the industry that will encourage more women to pursue their own business ventures and help foster a more diverse, inclusive, and innovative landscape in the education sector and beyond.
CEO & COO
Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M.
Angela studied behavioral psychology under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, head of the premier program in the treatment and education of children with autism, and worked as a senior therapist for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, supervising educational programs, performing assessments, and conducting workshops for parents and professionals across the country and in Europe. Angela is Past Chair of the Education Market Association, and served as a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Education Research & Development Institute. Angela is the lead creator and author of all of Stages curriculum and digital products, and editor of the Autism Resource and Community website and newsletter, has written for numerous industry publications, and speaks at national conferences and education institutes on autism education, early literacy, education technology, and entrepreneurship in education. Angela has a BA in Psychology, and a JD, both from UCLA; and an M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education from the Technology, Innovation and Education Program.
Cindy Bowers, J.D.
She has an undergraduate degree in political science from UCSD and a J.D. from UCLA. Cindy lives in Encinitas, CA with her husband and 2 wonderful kids, and enjoys cooking for friends and family.
District Relations & Business Development
Frankie Kietzman, M.A.
Frankie’s passion for supporting children and adults with autism originates from growing up with her brother who is deaf and has autism. As one of her brother’s legal guardians, she continues to learn about post-graduate opportunities and outcomes for people with autism. Frankie has a Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in high and low incidence disabilities from Pittsburg State University and in 2021, completed another Master’s degree in Advanced Leadership in Special Education from Pittsburg State University.
Rachel Langenhorst, M.Ed.
She is a former classroom teacher and PK-12 Technology Integrationist and Instructional Coach prior to joining Stages Learning.Rachel currently serves additional roles to support educators, working as a Senior Educational Specialist for Mayo Clinic and teaching courses in Education Technology and Leadership in Master of Education programs in both Iowa and South Dakota. She is passionate about equipping teachers and students with what they need for success.A 25+ year veteran in education, Rachel prides herself on being a change-agent and life-long learner. Her biggest fulfillment comes in educating and empowering others through collaboration and connection. She speaks and instructs throughout the country, focusing her efforts on effective teaching practices, technology integration strategies, and individualized professional learning. Rachel serves as an advisory board member and contributor for edWeb.net and Mackin Educational Resources and has enjoyed participating in productions for The House of EdTech podcast and Education Talk Radio. Her work has been shared in a variety of education publications. She holds a BA in Elementary Education with a specialty in Reading Instruction and a Master’s Degree in Education Technology.
Liz prides herself on building trusted relationships with educators to see their world as they see it by understanding a district’s initiatives, challenges and the impacts of both. She has consulted with 100’s of districts over the last two and a half decades. What drives her work is her the commitment to focus on trying to make a difference for at least one student and/or teacher every day.Liz’s breadth and depth of her industry knowledge and experience comes from having worked with various program offerings to include a K-5 intervention support curriculum, on line assessment, professional development, full Carnegie unit on line courseware, a stakeholder engagement and communication solution designed specifically for superintendents and their cabinets, an early literacy multi-sensory phonics program and two other autism intervention programs before coming to Stages Learning.Liz has a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. She has served as a Board Member, Desert Foundation of Academics, 2007-08 and on the Alumni Council, Kenyon College 2004-2007. She also received the National Association of Professional Women, VIP Woman of the Year Circle Award, 2016.
Lisa Schleer, M.A., M.Ed.
Before joining Stages Learning, she served as an Assistant Superintendent in NJ, an Executive Director for Personalized Learning, and a Director of Special Services in NJ and CT. Lisa has dedicated her career to ensuring that all students have access to high-quality instruction, curriculum, resources, and staffing. Her passion and knowledge for students with disabilities are unparalleled.She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education, a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education, and an Educational Leadership Degree. She is finishing her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership on supporting Black or Hispanic low-socioeconomic students’ access to post-secondary education.
Dr. Kari Stubbs, Ph.D.
Previously, she spent thirteen years working at one of the world’s most recognizable digital content providers for children - BrainPOP. Her dedication to education extends to service on multiple boards including SXSWedu, BreakoutEDU, Kipp Academy in Kansas City, and previously ISTE, Digital Promise’s EdCamp, and the Horizon K12 Report. Kari has presented extensively on education topics across the United States and around the globe from Shanghai and Abu Dhabi to Sydney, Prague, and beyond. She’s received the Making it Happen Award, was recognized as 20 to Watch, and Microsoft’s Education VP twice named her a Global Hero in Education. Kari earned her PhD in Curriculum with a minor in Administration from the University of Kansas. Her dissertation focused on the use of technology in preservice program design.
Natalie Braselton, M.A.
Her most recent experience was in school leadership where she worked as an Elementary School Principal to help improve teaching and learning outcomes, took pride in building school and home relationships and oversaw the preschool speech and language program. She also served as an Assistant Principal at a dual language immersion elementary school where she coached and oversaw the school's 90:10 program. As a classroom teacher, she worked with diverse populations in both the elementary and middle school setting. While teaching, she mentored teaching credential candidates at San Diego State University. Natalie earned her Bachelor's degree at Pepperdine University and her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership degree at San Diego State University. Throughout her time in education, Natalie has been passionate about providing opportunities for all demographic groups of students to achieve at high levels of success.
Rachel Emmer, M. S. CCC-SLP
During that time, she supported children in a variety of settings and specialized classrooms at the elementary level, at an early childhood school, and as part of a district behavior instructional support team. Rachel has a passion for working with students and staff to increase communication skills and positive behavior in the classroom. .Rachel has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, a Master of Science in communication disorders from The University of Texas at Dallas, and her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. .
Dr. Michelle Nutini, Ed.D.
In that role, she served as a subject matter expert, provided professional development and training, technical assistance, and consultative services, and built interactive resources to support the planning and implementation of autistic support services in and outside more than 400 specialized programs throughout the district’s 200+ schools. An award-winning educator, Michelle has presented at annual conferences for the Council for Exceptional Children, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Philadelphia Autism Project, and the International Society for Autism Research. Invested in applying research to practice, she has also served on several advisory boards as part of community-academic partnerships in implementation research studies through the Autism Research Intervention Network, AIR-B, and the University of Pennsylvania. Michelle earned her Doctorate of Education in Special Education Leadership & Management at Drexel University as a USELT (Urban Special Education Leader of Tomorrow) Scholar, which has been integral to her passion and work in building systems and capacity. In addition, she has a Masters in Elementary and Special Education from Chestnut Hill College, a TESOL certificate from the School of International Training, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the National Public Honors College.
Michael Caliguiri, BCaBA
For the past 5 years, Michael has been providing consulting services for multiple school districts in the form of program management, conducting functional assessments, and creating and implementing behavior intervention programs within various settings to support behavior change and academic growth. Michael joined the Stages Learning team in June of 2022 as an Educational Ambassador helping educators and service providers provide specialized instruction for students with developmental disabilities.
Amanda Struss, M.Ed.
PAmanda is passionate about working to develop and provide the most positive, comprehensive, and individualized programs to support students who require intensive interventions in order to increase their ability to gain skills using a more natural teaching approach and to effectively access the environments that they are present in throughout each day. Outside of the classroom environment, Amanda provides extensive consultation to families of children with autism and behavior disorders; has helped develop and implement positive behavior and intervention systems for school districts; and has been a featured speaker at conferences about how to effectively incorporate positive behavior supports within the classroom. Amanda obtained her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut’s NEAG School of Education, where she focused her studies on Autism and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports..
Marketing & Design
Leslie Stebbins, Ed.M, MLIS
She is a graduate of University of Michigan, Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and of the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Leslie has served as a teaching fellow and is currently a researcher at HGSE.
Laura Danforth, Ed.M.
digital arts, and the RULER program from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where Erik worked as a consultant to digitize their award winning in-school program, RULER. He brought together and managed the SMEs, Producers, Designers, and Developers to deliver the portal on time and on budget. Erik also developed engines that could be used for a variety of online games and arts manipulatives for the online experience. They developed a badged curriculum delivered to over 50,000 students in lower-income communities. During his time at Pearson, Erik led teams as the Vice President of the Pearson Foundation, the Director of Learning Well Being, and the Chief Field Officer. He also launched the FX Networks as graphic designer and video production manager.
Prior to founding Designer’s Touch studio in 1997, John was employed for over 14 years by two Boston ad agencies, working his way up to an Associate Creative Director. He created ad campaigns, direct response programs and many other marketing initiatives with clients such as Tyco International, Marriott International, General Electric, Polaroid and Borden Foods. Before entering the advertising world, John graduated from the New England School of Art & Design in Boston, Massachusetts.
Chris Spence, Ed.M.
Chris is a graduate of Williams College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Technology, Innovation and Education Program, and currently serves as a teaching fellow at Harvard.
Shanshan Guo, MS
Sarah Nichols, BFA
She has expert knowledge of typography, color theory, layout, photography, illustration, composition, and standards for print and web graphics. She is experienced in creating all visual elements of branding, including logos, brand and brand standards, typeface selection, and layout. Sarah applies these in a range of applications and collateral. Sarah has served as senior in-house designer for large and small organizations, a magazine art director, and a typesetter at a printing press. She completed the Edward Tufte “Presenting Data and Information” course which included new fundamental design strategies for information displays, methods for spectatorship and cutting-edge visualizations, information architecture, and video mapping. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, Graphic Design from Principia College in Illinois.
Logistics & Administration
Michelle Thomas, PhD
This has allowed Michelle to develop strong organizational and management skills, enabling her to smoothly execute multiple projects simultaneously. Michelle holds a Master of Management from Cambridge College and PhD in Management from Walden University.