Our Team

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
– Andrew Carnegie

Our Team

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
– Andrew Carnegie


Picture of Angela Nelson

Angela Nelson, Ed.M., J.D.

CEO & President

Angela founded Stages Learning Materials in 1997 as a vehicle to publish and distribute her line of photo-based teaching tools for autism and special needs.

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.



Picture of Cindy Bowers

Cindy Bowers, J.D.

Cindy is an attorney who worked for Morrison & Foerster before becoming the General Counsel and Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for the restaurant chain Saddle Ranch Chop House. She has an undergraduate degree in political science from UCSD and a J.D. from UCLA. She joined Stages in 2018 as the C.O.O. Cindy lives in Encinitas, CA with her husband and 2 wonderful kids, and enjoys cooking for friends and family.


Chris Spence, Ed.M.

Chris is the President and Founder of Educational Media Associates and has a professional background in rich Internet application development and education work. Chris began working with Stages in 2014, providing software development for innovative learning tools and apps. He 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.

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Leslie Stebbins, Ed.M., MLIS

Leslie is a writer and educational consultant at LeslieStebbins.com and also serves as the Director for Research at Consulting Services for Education. Leslie joined the Stages team in 2016 as a project manager, content strategist, and researcher to help inform the design and development of new learning tools. 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.

Photo of Laura Danforth

Laura Danforth, Ed.M.

Laura works with Stages in all areas relating to communications, social media marketing, and newsletter development. Laura worked as a second grade teacher for several years in Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern and from the Harvard Graduate School of Education Language and Literacy Program. Laura joined the Stages team in 2017.

photo of Patty Martinez

Patricia Martinez, Ed.M.

Patty is an Educational Technology professional with an undergraduate degree in Business Management from Cal State University, Northridge and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She initially joined Stages in 2012 and has worked in various positions including Operations Manager. Currently, she works on the Autism Learning Line Community, and the Stages Learning Consultant programs.

Photo of Heather Dorn

Heather Dorn-Deasy, BCBA, LBA

Writer & Staff BCBA

Heather has extensive experience working with children with unique needs and abilities. Creating individualized and meaningful programs for children and adolescence using evidenced based practices of ABA in home, community and school settings has become a passion for Heather. She focuses on the design and implementation of educator and parent training programs as well as supervision and mentorship practices for students of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Heather has training and experience that spans several states and two countries. She has training and experience in Functional Behavior Assessments, staff and parent training, IEP processes and professional consultation and plan development.

Heather has a background in social work, ICF-DD-H administration and is Board Certified as a BCBA. Heather joined Stages Language Builder ARIS writing team in 2018.

Nathan Noble Photo

Nathan Noble, MS

Software Engineer

  • Intuit
    Staff Software Engineer
  • The Experience Engine, Inc.
    Principal Engineer
  • Solekai Systems
    Software Architect
  • Piksel Inc
    Technical Lead
Photo of John Milano

John Milano

John Milano joined Stages as the Lead Graphic Designer in 2018. John has over 30 years of creative experience working in the advertising industry and specializes in creating effective marketing materials.

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.

Photo of Jenny Frakes

Jennifer Frakes

Jennifer Frakes has more than 20 years of experience in writing, editing and marketing. She received her B.A. in Communications and Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and held marketing and fundraising positions at both her alma mater and the University of San Diego. Jennifer has written for a variety of community and industry publications, and currently works for Stages Learning Materials as the ARIS editor. She is proud to be part of the Stages team and is excited about the continuing role ARIS and other Stages products play in the lives of children, parents and educators around the world. Jennifer resides in San Diego, CA with her husband and two daughters

Nicole Zhang

Yuxin Zhang

Yuxin Zhang is a graduate student at Northeastern University pursuing an M.S. in Information Systems, and she is also a university ambassador. Yuxin is passionate about creating a positive environment with her wittiness and enjoys helping others. Meanwhile, as a volunteer translator of TED Talks, she believes that language should not be the barrier but the bridge to sharing knowledge.

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Rachel Emmer

Coming Soon

Picture of Sarah Nichols

Sarah Nichols

Sarah Nichols, BFA, has more than 19 years of experience as a graphic designer. Sarah spends her time creating UI/UX design for products including apps, websites, video games, and online learning modules. 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.

She 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.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, Graphic Design from Principia College in Illinois.


Eric Tracy

Designer / Production Artist

Eric Tracy joined Stages in 2021 as a Designer and Production Artist.  He is an artist with experience in many forms of art, both new and traditional, and a passion for sharing, advocating, and educating through art.  Eric received his BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Cartoon image of forklift and driver

Mike Carvalho

Faster than a speeding forklift! More powerful than a semi-truck! Able to leap tall pallets in a single bound! SuperMike is always here to save the day.

Christian Mendietta

Project Manager

  • AutoDesk

Project Manager

  • Dinamo Consulting

    Project Manager

  • Scrum Master Leader


Christian Mendieta