Management Team

Dr. Steven Guttentag, President

Dr. Guttentag is one of the co-founders of Connections Education, and has spent the last 20 years of his career designing and deploying technology solutions to improve K–12 education. Since becoming President in 2014, Dr. Guttentag has navigated Connections Education through an evolving marketplace, 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 Education 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 at Connections Education, beginning as the Chief Education Officer managing all school operations and leading curriculum and instruction.

Prior to founding Connections Education, 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 with 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. Guttentag lives just outside Washington D.C. with his wife and their three boys. 

Monte Kalisch, Chief Technology Officer

Mr. Kalisch oversees all aspects of Connections Education's technology strategy and implementation, leveraging technology to solve educational and business challenges. Mr. Kalisch joined Connections Education in 2002, and manages the company's enterprise-level applications, desktop logistics, and networking/communication infrastructure, among others. He has over 20 years of experience in technology positions spanning many industries. Prior to joining 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, a political portal organization. Mr. Kalisch was also a technical lead for the development of the first web-based crop management system for VantagePoint Network, a John Deere subsidiary. He holds an M.S. in Business Administration from Colorado State University, and a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado. While working on his master's thesis, "Supplementing Traditional Education with Internet Technology," Mr. Kalisch taught graduate and undergraduate courses at both universities.

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

As the Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Hoge provides strategic direction for curriculum, instructional programs and practices, and assessment for Connections-supported schools and products, ensuring quality, innovation, student and teacher engagement, and learning efficacy. Prior to joining 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.

Linda Leftrict, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Student Acquisition

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.

Mickey Revenaugh, Executive Vice President, Connections Education; Director, New School Models, Pearson Global Schools

Ms. Revenaugh is a co-founder and the first employee of Connections Education. Since 2001, Ms. Revenaugh has focused on developing the online learning field to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality education. Ms. Revenaugh divides her time between serving as general manager and Board chair of International Connections Academy, a fast-growing global virtual private school, and leading development of innovative school models around the globe at Pearson. 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, a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University, and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Bennington College.

Pat Laystrom, Executive Vice President, Business Development

Ms. Laystrom oversees Connections Education's business development team, including state/legislative relations, institutional partner programs, board relations and proposal areas. Ms. Laystrom first joined 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 25 years of experience in education and has held senior management positions with several leading educational companies. Prior to Connections, 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.

Annie Marhefka, Senior Vice President, Business Services

Ms. Marhefka oversees Connections Education's HR, Operations, Organizational Effectiveness and Compliance teams, providing business services to corporate staff and Connections-supported schools including Facilities Services, Supply Chain, School Financial Services, State Testing Services, and Purchasing. Ms. Marhefka joined Connections Education in 2005, and has developed and scaled Human Resources function services, including Benefits, Employee Relations, HRIS, Talent Acquisition & Staffing, Payroll, HR & Credential Compliance, Compensation, Training & Leadership Development, Communications, Change Management, Employee Engagement, Organizational Effectiveness, and an HR Employee Help Desk. Prior to joining Connections, Ms. Marhefka worked in Human Resources at Berry Plastics, where she was responsible for recruitment, training, and payroll and benefits support for the Baltimore manufacturing plant. She holds an MBA with a concentration in HR Management from Strayer University, and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington College.

Holly Atwell, Senior Vice President, School Academic Services

Ms. Atwell oversees Connections Education’s Academic Services teams, providing academic services to Connections-supported schools and school districts across the United States in support of their online and blended programs. Services provided include teaching services, training and professional development, tutoring services, speech services, program management and a school staff help desk. She is also responsible for delivery of the academic program for International Connections Academy, a K–12 online private school. Ms. Atwell joined Connections Education in 2008 as Connections Academy's Director of High School. Prior to Connections, 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.

Peter Robertson, Senior Vice President, School Operations

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.

Sandi Berger, Vice President, Finance

Ms. Berger oversees all aspects of Connections Education’s corporate financial functions, including daily operations of the finance and accounting department, preparation and management of all financial reports, and preparation of annual budgets and quarterly forecasts. Prior to joining Connections Education in 2015, Ms. Berger served as a Vice President Controller at Prometric, a technology-enabled testing and assessment services organization, as well as Constellation Energy and the Huron Consulting Group. Ms. Berger started her career in public accounting. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Baltimore and holds the CPA and CGMA certifications.

Susan Saidi, Vice President, School Legal Affairs

Ms. Saidi leads the Connections Education internal legal function, as well as serves on the Pearson Legal Department senior leadership team. Ms. Saidi joined Connections Education in 2011 after a successful private practice career. She supports the curriculum and marketing functions with respect to trademark and copyright protection and compliance, and the State Relations team with respect to statewide virtual partner program school opportunities. Ms. Saidi also oversees the company's partner school regulatory compliance initiatives and provides legal guidance and support to Connections Education-supported partner schools. Ms. Saidi began her legal career in 1990 as a law clerk for a trial judge on the United States Territory of Guam, and has spent over twenty years counseling business clients in both business and litigation strategy in Guam, Washington and Maryland. Her academic credentials include a J.D. from Catholic University Columbus School of Law, LLMs in Intellectual Property and Tax from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.A. in History from the University of Scranton.

Ariel Sokol, Executive Director, Business Development & Strategy & General Manager of Institutional Business, Connections Education

Mr. Sokol serves both as an executive director of strategy and business development and as the General Manager of Institutional Business for Connections Education. In this role he oversees corporate strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions activity. Mr. Sokol also leads the overall strategic, business and operational planning of Connections Education and manages the profit and loss for the institutional line of business. Mr. Sokol joined Connections Education in 2012 as a director of business development. Prior to Connections, Mr. Sokol served as an equity research analyst covering education and media securities for Wall Street brokerage firms including UBS, Wedbush Morgan, and Natexis Bleichroeder. He holds an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Economics from Columbia University Business School, and a B.A. in History from Amherst College.

Ted Ochs, Senior Advisor, Executive

Mr. Ochs serves as the Senior Advisor on the executive team, focusing on key customer relationships and supporting the strategic initiatives of Connections Education. Prior to moving into this role in 2016, Mr. Ochs served eleven years as the CFO and five years as the COO for the company. Before joining Connections, Mr. Ochs served as Executive Vice President at Jordan Kitt’s Music, as CEO and CFO of The VNA of Maryland, and as Regional Finance Director for Manor Care, Inc./In Home Health, Inc. He has also held financial management and executive positions in the healthcare and retail industries. Mr. Ochs began his career as an industrial engineer with Black & Decker and Corning, where he held both project management and production supervisory roles. Mr. Ochs has served as an officer on the board of the Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore, a provider of services to individuals with communication difficulties, for almost 15 years. He holds an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh 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.