Management Team

Dr. Steven Guttentag, President

Dr. Steven Guttentag, President, began his career as a classroom teacher and has spent the last 20 years designing and deploying technology solutions to improve K–12 education. In addition to his classroom experience, Dr. Guttentag has held several senior school district administrative positions, with responsibilities in the areas of technology, facilities, special education, policy analysis, labor relations, budgeting, restructuring, and grants management. A co-founder of Connections Academy, he also helped develop the company’s institutional business, Connections Learning by Pearson, the Nexus Academy blended learning schools, and the global private school, International Connections Academy, where he remains the Headmaster and Board President. More recently he has played a strategy role at Pearson, creating a plan for schools around the globe. Previously, he led KPMG Consulting's Midwest education practice, and was the Chief Education Officer for Education Networks of America, a provider of complete, managed Internet-access solutions to the education community. His academic credentials include a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.E. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Policy and Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Linda Leftrict, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Enrollment

Ms. Leftrict leads the Connections Education marketing team, ensuring that the voice of the customer and their educational needs are reflected in all products, services and customer engagements. Ms. Leftrict brings with her more than 25 years of marketing and product management experience in the education, healthcare and consumer packaged goods fields. Prior to joining Connections Education, Ms. Leftrict served as the Chief Marketing Officer, Global Products and Services Division, for Laureate Education, where she worked for over 10 years in the K–12, higher education, and online education segments. While at Laureate Education, Ms. Leftrict led several successful marketing campaigns, including those for Walden University and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Prior to her work at Laureate, Ms. Leftrict led the largest health and medical practice account at Ogilvy Public Relations, directed worldwide strategy for consumer products at Johnson & Johnson, and led marketing initiatives for Nestle. She began her career in marketing at Pepsi-Cola Beverage Co and Scott Paper. Ms. Leftrict holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Virginia and a Master’s of Management, Marketing & Finance from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Marc Guerrasio, Executive Vice President, Product Management and General Manager, Institutional Business

Mr. Guerrasio was one of the co-founders of Connections Education and brings 20 years of software and Internet technology experience to Connections Education. He previously served as the CTO of Versient, an online marketing services company. He was also VP of Engineering and CTO of Ntercept Communications, an online market research company that developed a standards-based language for the creation of interactive, online surveys. Mr. Guerrasio was responsible for the technical development of SpeakOut.com, a political portal site that served over 350,000 users during the 2000 elections. He has held other senior engineering positions with OutReach Technologies and VideoGrafects.

Dr. Patricia Hoge, Executive Vice President, Curriculum and Instruction and Chief Academic Officer

Prior to joining Connections Education in 2006, Dr. Hoge served as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Catapult Learning, overseeing the development of their K–12 instructional and teacher training programs. Additionally, she was Executive Director of Education for eSylvan, where she directed the development of the curricula for synchronous online delivery. Dr. Hoge spent over 15 years in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist, curriculum developer, and supervisor of reading/language arts. As a certified speech-language pathologist, she provided services to PreK–12 students. Dr. Hoge has served as a clinical supervisor and adjunct faculty member at Loyola College and adjunct faculty member at Towson University, and serves on several K–12 and higher education school boards and advisory councils including the Towson University Board of Visitors. She has co-authored numerous resource materials for teachers and speech-language pathologists. Her academic credentials include a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology, an M.S. in Speech Pathology, and a Ph.D. in K–12 Educational Leadership..

Monte Kalisch, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Mr. Kalisch has been with Connections Education since 2002 and has over 20 years’ experience in technology positions spanning many industries.  Prior to Connections Education, Mr. Kalisch was the Director of Technology for Versient, an online marketing services company. He has also served as the Director of Web Site Engineering for Ntercept Communications, a marketing research firm, and SpeakOut.com, a political portal organization. Mr. Kalisch was a technical lead for the development of the first web-based crop management system for VantagePoint Network, a John Deere subsidiary. Mr. Kalisch holds degrees in computer science and mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado, as well as a M.S. in Business Administration from Colorado State University. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses at both universities while working on his master’s thesis Supplementing Traditional Education with Internet Technology.

Pat Laystrom, Executive Vice President, Business Development

Ms. Laystrom has been with Connections Education since October 2001 and has over 25 years of experience in education. She has taught in the classroom, managed a series of educational learning centers, and held senior management positions with leading educational companies including AHA!interactive, a cutting edge online curriculum provider;  Scholastic New Media, where she helped launch Scholastic Network, an early teacher web portal; and Educational Resources, a national distributor of educational technology and professional development programs. Since 2011, she has been leading the State Relations team focused on identifying new opportunities, building key relationships, and working on legislative activities across the country. Ms. Laystrom earned a B.S. in Education from Indiana University.

Ted Ochs, Senior Advisor, Executive

Mr. Ochs began his career as an industrial engineer with Corning and Black and Decker where he held both project management and production supervisory roles. He subsequently held financial management and executive positions in the health care and retail industries. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of Jordan Kitt’s Music and was the CEO and CFO of The VNA of Maryland and the Regional Finance Director for Manor Care, Inc./In Home Health, Inc. In addition to these corporate positions, he has served for almost 15 years as an officer on the board of the Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore, a provider of services to individuals with communication difficulties. Mr. Ochs’ academic credentials include a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Peter Robertson, Senior Vice President, School Operations

Mr. Robertson joined Connections Education in 2009 and is Senior Vice President of School Operations. Mr. Robertson was previously Vice President of Education Services at SchoolOne where he led the redevelopment of a web-based student information system. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of Elementary and Secondary Education Product Management & Development for the Educational Testing Service, where he was responsible for the integration and on-going development of System 5, a standards-based, assessment-focused suite of School Improvement products and services. Prior to that, Peter served as Chief Information Officer for the Cleveland Municipal School District where he was responsible for student assessment, educational research, and program evaluation; and for the management of information technology resources and infrastructure system-wide. Peter spent four years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company; worked as an educational researcher at the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching; and served as a Social Studies and Communication Arts Program teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. He served on the Shaker Heights (Ohio) School Board from 2007 to 2011 and on the Montgomery County (Maryland) School Board from 1983 to 1984.  He earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia, and a B.A. from Harvard College. 


IN MEMORIAM
Barbara Dreyer
(1955 – 2014)

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Connections Education, inspirational and energetic leader and natural teacher, Barbara helped redefine education today by creating life-changing educational options for families throughout the country.