Leadership Team

Dr. Steven Guttentag

Co-Founder – Connections Academy
Managing Director – Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12

Dr. Guttentag is one of the co-founders of Connections Academy, and has over 20 years of career experience designing and deploying technology solutions to improve K–12 education. Dr. Guttentag serves as the Managing Director of Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education). Since leading Connections in 2014, Dr. Guttentag has navigated the organization through an evolving marketplace, including a rebrand to Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12; spearheaded diversification of business lines; and implemented new processes and functions to support the company’s continued growth. Dr. Guttentag was part of the founding team of Connections Academy in 2001 and crafted the company’s initial business strategy and product design, and has helped build the business from four employees and zero customers to its current status as a global leader in K–12 virtual learning. Dr. Guttentag has held several different roles with the company, beginning as the Chief Education Officer managing all school operations as well as leading curriculum and instruction.

Prior to founding Connections Academy, Dr. Guttentag served as the Chief Education Officer for Education Networks of America, a provider of complete, managed Internet-access solutions to the education community, and led KPMG Consulting's Midwest education practice. He began his career as a classroom teacher within the District of Columbia public schools, and has held several senior administrative positions within the School District of Philadelphia. His academic credentials include a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University, and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Patricia Hoge

Chief Academic Officer
Executive Vice President – Product & Line Of Business Management

Dr. Hoge serves as the company’s Chief Academic Officer, providing strategic vision, leadership and direction for the instructional framework and pedagogical approach to the curriculum, instructional services, and teacher professional learning. Dr. Hoge also leads product and line of business management for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), ensuring the organization balances the needs of customers with student learning and academic outcomes. Within her role, Dr. Hoge oversees several areas including Product Management, Efficacy Research & Reporting, Education Technology Innovation & Integrations, and Business Analysis. Prior to joining Pearson Online & Blended Learning (formerly Connections Education) in 2006, Dr. Hoge served as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Catapult Learning, overseeing the development of K–12 instructional and teacher training programs. Dr. Hoge was also the Executive Director of Education for eSylvan, where she directed the development of curricula for synchronous online delivery. Dr. Hoge began her career as a certified speech-language pathologist providing services to PreK–12 students, and has spent over 15 years in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist, curriculum developer, and supervisor of reading/language arts. Dr. Hoge has served as a clinical supervisor at Loyola College and an 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 Ph.D. in K–12 Educational Leadership from Walden University, and an M.S. in Speech Pathology and a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Towson University.

Holly Atwell

Executive Vice President – School Services

Ms. Atwell leads academic services for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), ensuring that academic services are successfully designed and delivered to or on behalf of all customers. Ms. Atwell oversees the Student Academic Services, Academic Program Management & Training, Partner Schools Program Management, and the Partner Schools Leadership Teams, providing services including teaching, training and professional development, tutoring, speech, program management and a school staff help desk. Ms. Atwell also leads partner school operations services, including School Financial Services, People Support Services, Compliance & Business Services, Data Integration, State Testing & School Facilities and Supply Chain. Ms. Atwell joined Pearson Online & Blended Learning (formerly Connections Education) in 2008 as Connections Academy's Director of High School. Prior to this, she taught high school Math and led district STEM and magnet initiatives in a Maryland county school district. Ms. Atwell began her career as an Industrial Engineer and Program Manager, and has twenty years' experience in the industry - including work on military and consumer electronics projects at Westinghouse and Northrop Grumman. She holds a Master’s of Education from the University of Maryland University College, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

Pat Laystrom

Executive Vice President – Business Development

Ms. Laystrom leads business development for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), ensuring the successful acquisition and retention of partner school and program customers. Ms. Laystrom oversees several functions, including State Relations, Institutional Partner Programs, and Proposals teams. Ms. Laystrom first joined Pearson Online & Blended Learning (formerly Connections Education) in 2001 as a consultant, and in 2011 began leading the State Relations team, focused on identifying new business opportunities, building key relationships, and working on legislative activities across the country. Ms. Laystrom has over 30 years of experience in education and has held senior management positions with several leading educational companies. Ms. Laystrom served as the Vice President Sales & Business Development for AHA!interactive, a cutting edge online curriculum provider; Director of Sales for Scholastic New Media, where she helped launch the early teacher web portal Scholastic Network; and Vice President of Sales for Educational Resources, a national distributor of educational technology and professional development programs. Ms. Laystrom began her career in the classroom, and has also managed a series of educational learning centers. She holds a B.S. in Education from Indiana University.

Linda Leftrict

Executive Vice President – Marketing and Family Support

Ms. Leftrict leads the Connections Education marketing and student acquisition teams, ensuring that the voice of the customer and their educational needs are reflected in all products, services and customer engagements. She has 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. 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 at Pepsi-Cola Beverage Co and Scott Paper. She holds a Master's of Management, Marketing & Finance from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Christopher Gentile

Senior Vice President – Product Development

Dr. Gentile leads product development for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), focusing on building, integrating, and maintaining K–12 course content and assessments, training content, and POBL platforms and software. Dr. Gentile oversees several product development areas, including Software Engineering & Agile Facilitation, Software Architecture, Curriculum Development & Production and Professional Learning & Instructional Product Development. He has over 25 years experience in educational technology with a specific concentration on the development of innovative online curriculum and training products and content management systems. Prior to joining Pearson Online & Blended Learning (formerly Connections Education) in 2017, Dr. Gentile is the founder and former CEO of FYI Online Learning, an education publishing company that develops and licenses online curriculum to higher education and K–12 markets. He is also the co-founder and former CEO for Virtual Sage online curriculum company and the University of Miami Online High School, and has served in various senior leadership positions at Kaplan Education, iMind Education, the National Academy Foundation and Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Gentile began his career as a public school teacher in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and held several administrative positions within the school district. His academic credentials include a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, M.S. in Behavioral Medicine, B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Miami, and a post-doctoral specialist in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Mickey Revenaugh

Co-Founder – Connections Academy
Director, New School Models – Pearson Global Schools

Ms. Revenaugh is a founding team member and the first employee of Connections Academy, and since 2001 has focused on developing the online learning field to ensure that every student everywhere has access to a high-quality education. Ms. Revenaugh is currently responsible for the successful expansion of International Connections Academy, a global private virtual school, and also serves as Director of New School Models for Pearson Global Schools, leading deployment of virtual learning and other school innovations with Pearson geography partners around the world. A 30-year education technology veteran, Ms. Revenaugh previously helped launch the E-rate program to wire every American school and library to the Internet, and was an education technology/education reform editor at Scholastic. Ms. Revenaugh continues as a longtime Board member with iNACOL, The International Association for K-12 Online Learning. She holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bennington College, and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University.

Peter Robertson

General Manager – Partner Schools

Mr. Robertson leads school operations for all full-time online schools supported by Connections Education, overseeing all aspects of existing school management including staffing, support, school growth, organizational development, and academic outcomes. Prior to joining Connections Education in 2009, Mr. Robertson served as Vice President of Education Services for SchoolOne, where he led the redevelopment of a web-based student information system. Mr. Robertson has also led school improvement product development at Educational Testing Service; served as Chief Information Officer for the Cleveland Municipal School District; and conducted engagement management and consulting at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Robertson began his career as a Social Studies teacher, and has over 30 years of experience in K–12 education. Mr. Robertson has been elected and served on two school boards: Shaker Heights (Ohio) from 2007 to 2011, and Montgomery County (Maryland) from 1983 to 1984. He holds an MBA from Columbia University Business School, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Teachers College Columbia University, and a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University.

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.