We have spent most of our careers working with and learning from tens of thousands of educators about how to monitor progress and develop a personalized path to success for every child. We founded Intellispark to improve how schools and communities support all students – to help make student success a team sport.
We believe that a more modern approach to student support services needs a more modern technology backbone.
At the PreK-12 level, schools and districts are moving beyond college and career counseling toward a team-based, “whole child” approach to student support services. Many schools and districts are going even further, reaching outside the school to embrace community-based organizations as key partners in student success. New ways of delivering student support services require new tools. That’s why we created Intellispark.
Whether struggling or thriving, every student needs a plan and a team. We are working to make sure that Intellispark lives up to that potential as the hub for insight, intelligence, and interaction connecting every student with the team of caring adults and peers that will help her achieve her full potential.
Meet our leadership team
Steve was previously president and chief product officer at Hobsons where he led global product strategy, corporate development, student data privacy, and R&D. Steve joined Hobsons through the acquisition of Naviance, a leading college and career readiness technology platform used in 12,000 schools in more than 100 countries, where he was co-founder and chief executive.
Earlier in his career, Steve served as vice president of digital product development at Peterson’s, as a founding member of the Internet consulting practice at Thomson Technology Services Group, and as a practitioner faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University and Montgomery College.
Steve earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, cum laude, and an MBA from Cornell University.
Shaun previously served as vice president of research and development at Hobsons, where he led new product initiatives focused on improving student success through technology in K–12 and higher education. He joined Hobsons in 2007 through its acquisition of Naviance, where he served as head of product strategy and technology. Prior to co-founding Naviance, he held a variety of roles in business analysis, finance, technology, marketing, and product management at AT&T and The Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters).
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Cornell University.
Patricia has executive experience in product strategy across both the education technology and consumer product industries. Prior to joining Intellispark, she served as senior vice president and general manager of Naviance by Hobsons, a leading college and career readiness platform, and as vice president of product management at K12, Inc., an online learning and content provider for K-12 online public and private school students. A common thread between these roles was identifying and supporting the behaviors — both of students and of educators — that lead to long-term student success.
Before returning to the field of education, Patricia spent seven years with Unilever in both corporate finance and global brand management, culminating with global innovations on Dove Bar, Dove Body Wash and the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.
Early in her career, Patricia served as a public school administrator and teacher of English and Latin in several Rhode Island public schools. Her eight years in the classroom provided a foundation to develop solutions that would enhance the experience and outcomes for all participants in the learning process.
Patricia holds a Bachelor of Arts in the Classics and English from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Serving in a variety of positions while at Naviance and Hobsons, Mary’s work was always focused on student success. From 2013-2017, she led the development of meaningful partnerships for Hobsons with key education associations such as the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Consortium for School Networking (COSN), and the American Council on Education (ACE) to name a few.
Professionally active, she has held numerous leadership positions in the Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling and served as a past board member of College Possible, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping promising, low-income young people prepare for and earn admission to college. Recently, Mary served as a board member of the Minnesota Alliance with Youth, which spearheads the Grad Nation work in Minnesota, and was a member of the Minnesota ACT Statewide Council.
Mary connects all that she does to helping students be successful. Mixing common sense and organization with sensitivity and humor, she thrives on connecting ideas to people and mission. She believes that more is gained by working together than apart and that learning is the key to achieving.
Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Six years ago, John began his professional career in education technology advocating for student success as a team lead at Naviance by Hobsons, where he mentored team members and established partnerships with schools and districts across the U.S. He joined Fishtree Inc., an early innovator applying artificial intelligence to education, as head of K-12 sales, where he created and executed their go-to-market strategy. Later, as director of partnerships, he helped education technology companies explore how AI could be used to help improve the lives of educators and learners of all ages. Serving as director of strategic alliances at Follett School Solutions after their acquisition of Fishtree, John used his experience gained working with industry partners to explore and build B2B partnership strategies for new products and services.
John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a focus in Economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He graduated from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
As Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership, College of Education, University of Oregon, he founded the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of Oregon in 2000, which he continues to direct. Dr. Conley also founded and served for 12 years as CEO of the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC, now Inflexion). He recently completed an appointment as Senior Fellow for Deeper Learning under the sponsorship of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Currently, he is the founder and president of EdImagine, a consulting group dedicated to helping educational organizations improve their effectiveness and hone their strategic direction.
Before entering higher education in 1989, Dr. Conley spent 20 years in the public school system in a variety of roles including teacher and co-director of two public alternative schools, a site and central-office administrator, and an executive in a state education agency.
Dr. Conley earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley and a MA and PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
This quote, imprinted on a tile, is Deborah Hardy’s inspiration to support every child. Deborah Hardy, EdD is the founder and Educational Consultant of GuidED Consulting, LLC in Mahopac, NY. Previously, Dr. Hardy was a multilingual school counselor in a diverse school district in suburban New York State where she assisted with English as a Second Language program development as an advocate for students new to the country. In her many years of experience, she served as a coordinator and as a director of K12 school counseling services where she oversaw school counselors, school social workers, and school nurses.
Dr. Hardy implemented a comprehensive K12 school counseling program aligned to the New York and American School Counselor Association (ASCA) model framework and geared towards supporting student academic, social emotional, career and college skill development. Dr. Hardy is student centered and while in the school district, she assisted with the response to intervention process and the whole child task force among many other responsibilities.
Additionally, Dr. Hardy implemented new components within the school counseling program such as a student personal learning plan connecting interests and abilities into personal goals – finding what the student is involved in as an activity, connecting it to courses that are related to the interest, and developing ideas to overcome challenges. The plan lets students engage and develop their learning pathway.
Dr. Hardy provides professional development to school districts and state school counseling associations (ASCA, NY, AZ, SC, CT, NC, MS, MT, NJ) on using student support services data to tell student stories, collaborating as a team towards student achievement, writing curriculum and lessons that make sense, emotional intelligence, mindfulness in student support services, understanding the role of student support systems in a learning organization, and developing a comprehensive school counseling program.
Dr. Hardy is a member of the New York State Education Department School Counseling Advisory Team as well as the Social Emotional Development and Learning Task Force and has held several state and local leadership positions in the school counseling profession. Dr. Hardy is the co-author of the NYS Comprehensive School Counseling Model as well as the NYS Model Activities Books. She also authored the Internet Guide for School Counselors and El Camino a La Universidad, a guidebook for the college process in Spanish. She has collaborated with several authors, including on Kids Who Think Outside the Box: Helping Your Child Thrive in a Cookie Cutter World by Stephanie Lerner.
Currently, Dr. Hardy is an adjunct professor at New York University and Long Island University inspiring future school counselors to embrace the whole child approach. Her belief: I provide counseling with a heart!
Matt has worked in several school settings, from private to public to rural and suburban. He began his educational career at Marian Catholic High School before moving to Lake Zurich District 95 and Huntley District 158. Since 2015, he has worked in District 214. Matt holds a master’s degree in School Counseling and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor credential from Saint Xavier University. Matt has also earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently completing his doctorate’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.
Outside of work, Matt has a deep affinity to assist in fighting global poverty. For the past 12 years, he has traveled the globe with Habitat for Humanity Global Village as a Global Village Leader. In this role, Matt has recruited and trained various diverse groups to successfully complete Habitat for Humanity projects in Guatemala, Chile, India, Hungary, Kenya, and the United States.
A book by our founders …
Who Do You Think You Are?
Intellispark founders Shaun Fanning and Stephen Smith are passionate about helping kids make the most of their education decisions. Who Do You Think You Are: Three Critical Conversations for Coaching Teens to College & Career Success is about helping parents have meaningful conversations about the future of school and work with their middle and high school age kids. In it, Shaun and Steve share lessons from working with thousands of educators, families, and kids during the past 20 years.
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