Leadership Team

Tom ap Simon

Managing Director – Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12

Mr. ap Simon serves as Managing Director of Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), handling the organization’s strategic vision, management, and day-to-day execution to deliver the best possible support and services for schools, programs and families.

Mr. ap Simon first joined Pearson, the world’s learning company, in 2004. He has successfully led many different aspects of the organization’s various businesses and has held several leadership roles, including Interim President of the Growth Markets (Pearson’s emerging markets businesses). Prior to becoming Managing Director, Mr. ap Simon was Sr. Vice President North America from July 2017 to February 2018. From 2014 to July 2017 Mr. ap Simon served as Sr. Vice President Finance, Growth Markets, where he focused on building the business’s talent, culture, and financial discipline to drive improved performance. Mr. ap Simon reshaped and simplified the Growth Markets business, leading to a much sharper strategic focus within the Growth division and delivery of business goals. Mr. ap Simon also spent five years overseeing Pearson mergers and acquisitions in the U.S., giving him a strong understanding of U.S. education landscape trends. Mr. ap Simon holds a MA in Economic and Politics from the University of Edinburgh. In his spare time he juggles being a dad to three young kids and is an avid Arsenal and New England Patriots fan.

Holly Atwell

Senior Vice President – School Services

Ms. Atwell leads school services for Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), ensuring all customers are supported in delivering high quality academics that improve learner outcomes. Ms. Atwell oversees Student Academic Services, providing services to students including teaching, tutoring, speech, and special education management. Ms. Atwell also leads several teams providing services to schools, including training, program management, facilities management, state reporting, school counseling and state testing consultative services, and supports school leader management, human resources and compliance services. 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.

Amar Kumar

Senior Vice President – Product & Portfolio Management

Mr. Kumar leads product and portfolio management at Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education), responsible for developing and implementing product and service road maps with a focus on efficacy, customer satisfaction and enhanced user experience. Prior to joining Pearson Online & Blended Learning K–12 (formerly Connections Education) in 2017, Mr. Kumar served as the Sr. Vice President of Efficacy & Research at Pearson, the world’s learning company. His team was charged with defining, measuring, and improving learner outcomes across Pearson's global portfolio of products and services; and supported Pearson’s Affordable Learning Fund, helping to expand access to quality education in the world's developing communities. Prior to Pearson, Mr. Kumar held management positions with McKinsey & Company and Eli Lilly. Mr. Kumar began his education career as a Principal at Thomas Memorial English School in Bangalore, India. He serves as the non Executive Director for education start up companies Experifun and Sudiksha Knowledge Solutions, and as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for two UP Academy Charter Schools. He holds an MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue 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.