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

CEO & COO

Angela Nelson

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

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, and has served as CEO since the inception.
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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

Cindy Bowers, J.D.

C.O.O.
Cindy joined Stages in 2018 as C.O.O. She came to Stages after 18 years in employment law. Cindy worked at Morrison & Foerster before becoming the General Counsel and Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Saddle Ranch Chop House restaurant chain.
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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

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Frankie Kietzman, M.A.

District Relations Manager
Frankie Kietzman is a Manager of Educational Relationships for STAGES® Learning with experience teaching as an elementary teacher, self-contained autism teacher for elementary and secondary students, and an autism specialist and coach for teachers dealing with challenging behaviors.
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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.

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Rachel Langenhorst, M.Ed.

District Relations Manager
Rachel Langenhorst serves as a District Relationship Manager for Stages Learning, bringing her expertise in education leadership and technology, as well as her years of classroom experience, to districts throughout the country.
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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 Ralston

Liz Ralston

VP of District Relations
Liz Ralston serves as the Vice President of District Relations. She has spent 26 years working in the K12 education market and has a passion for partnering with K12 school district leaders to improve student outcomes.
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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

Lisa Schleer, M.A., M.Ed.

VP of Strategic Educational Partnerships
Lisa joined Stages Learning in April 2022 as the Vice President of Strategic Educational Partnerships. At Stages Learning, she brings her leadership, special education expertise, and fiscal management skills to her relationship-building strengths.
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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

Dr. Kari Stubbs, Ph.D.

SVP of Business Development
Leveraging her professional roots in an inclusion classroom and collaboration in the boardroom, Dr. Kari Stubbs has a proven track record of harnessing the voice of the customer to improve organizational systems. Most recently, Kari joined the team at Stages Learning as the Senior Vice President of Business Development.
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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.

Professional Learning

Rachel Emmer

Rachel Emmer, M. S. CCC-SLP

Director of Professional Learning & Customer Care
Rachel Emmer joined the STAGES Learning team in July of 2021 and provides professional development and customer care. Rachel is a speech-language pathologist who worked in public schools for 15 years.
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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

Dr. Michelle Nutini, Ed.D.

Autism Education Expert
Before joining STAGES Learning, Dr. Michelle Nutini taught diverse high-needs students with autism for over a decade in the School District of Philadelphia before serving as the district’s Autism Support Coordinator for the last five years.
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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

Michael Caliguiri, BCaBA

Educational Ambassador
With over 15 years of experience in Special Education, Michael is a dedicated Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst with extensive experience in early childhood, primary and secondary levels of education, and in-home programming.
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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.

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Amanda Struss, M.Ed.

Educational Ambassador
Amanda is a special education teacher and autism specialist who has worked in a variety of educational and clinical settings across the country for the last 14 years. From California to Maine, this includes both non-public and public schools, specialized classrooms and inclusion settings, and in-home services.
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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

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Leslie Stebbins, Ed.M, MLIS

Director for Research & Project Manager
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.
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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.

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Laura Danforth, Ed.M.

Communications Coordinator
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.
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Erik Gregory

SVP of Production
Erik is the Senior Vice President of Production at Stages Learning. Most recently, he was Executive Director of the Amani Project. He led a worldwide team to build a global movement of young leaders to promote equity and social justice through an arts and emotional intelligence curriculum based on modern music theory,
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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.

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Eric Tracy

Designer & Production Artist
Eric Tracy joined Stages in 2021 as a Designer and Production Artist.  He is an artist with experience and passion in many forms of art, ranging from new to 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.
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John Milano

Grapic Design
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.
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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.

Development

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Chris Spence, Ed.M.

Senior Software Engineer
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.
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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.

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Shanshan Guo, MS

Software Engineer
Shanshan joined Stages in 2022 as a Software Engineer. She enjoys using her skills to develop quality software and web applications. Shanshan earned her Master's Degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University.
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Sarah Nichols, BFA

UX/UI Designer
Sarah Nichols is responsible for the User Experience design for Stages nuew digital learning platform, She 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.
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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.

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Leonardo Aguilar

Software Engineer
Coming soon!

Logistics & Administration

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Mike Carvalho

Superhero Warehouse Manager
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.
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Michelle Thomas, PhD

Office Manager
Michelle provides general office management for Stages, coordinates events logistics, and assists the CEO and COO with administrative business projects. Michelle has 10+ years of experience in the hospitality industry, including roles in human resources and events management.
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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.