Our Leadership Team

Chris Hester

Chief Executive Officer

Chris brings more than two decades of experience leading software companies that create social impact through the application of improved workflows and robust analytics.

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Will Ballard

Chief Technology Officer

Will heads up our global team of product managers, engineers, and data scientists to deliver world-class SaaS solutions to students, advisors, faculty, and administrators.

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David Kil

Chief Data Scientist

Dave oversees the development our data science methodology and predictive models, including patented and patent-pending approaches that leverage salient concepts from multiple disciplines.

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Shawn Gaide

General Manager

Shawn works with higher ed leaders to find solutions for their most pressing student success challenges. Today he guides the sales team and market development. In his tenure at Civitas, he’s also led services, strategy, acquisitions, and industry alliances.

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Vanessa Reding

VP, Marketing

Vanessa drives global go-to-market initiatives and campaigns to scale our software’s reach and community of practice. She focuses on strategies to deepen business impact and build market awareness.

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Rebecca Reid

VP, Product

As head of our product team, Rebecca is responsible for planning, creating, and implementing the overall product strategy for our technology. She’s alsoplayed key roles in strengthening partnerships and marketing our products.

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Misha Gautreaux

VP, Operations

Misha leads our business operations and market strategy. One of Civitas Learning’s first employees, Misha has developed reliable analytics frameworks and comprehensive initiatives to support the business.

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Mara Richard

VP, International

Mara’s work leading our international team centers around connecting institutional goals and strategies to predictive analytics and data resources and building structures within institutions to support data-informed decision making.

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National Advisory Board

Linda Baer

Dr. Linda Baer has served over thirty years in numerous executive level positions in higher education including Senior Fellow with Civitas Learning, Senior Program Officer in Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in the Minnesota State College and University System.

Mark Milliron

An award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant, Dr. Milliron has worked with universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, foundations, corporations, associations, and government agencies across the country and around the world.

Vincent Tinto

Dr. Vincent Tinto is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University and the former Chair of the Higher Education Program. His book, Leaving College, published by the University of Chicago Press, lays out a theory and policy perspective on student success that is considered the benchmark by which work on these issues are judged.

Davis Jenkins

Dr. Davis Jenkins is a senior research associate at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He works with colleges and states to find ways to improve educational and employment outcomes for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds of credentials, and to prepare students to succeed in further education and careers.

Lisa Petrides

Dr. Lisa Petrides brings over 20 years of K-12 and higher education experience to the table. She is currently the CEO and founder of ISKME (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education), a global leader in research and practice around open access tools in the education sector.

Gerardo de los Santos

Dr. Gerardo E. de lost Santos is a Senior Fellow for Civitas Learning. Prior to this he served The League for 17 years, presiding for over a decade as President and CEO. The League is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement.

George Siemens

Dr. George Siemens has played a vital leadership and innovator role in higher education for more than 20 years. He is currently the executive director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab (LINK) at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dragan Gasevic

Dr. Dragan Gasevic is a Professor and Chair in Learning Analytics and Informatics in the Moray House School of Education and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is the current president and a co-founder of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and holds several honorary adjunct appointments in Australia, Canada, and USA.

Sally Johnstone

Before joining NCHEMS as its President, Dr. Sally M. Johnstone was vice president at Western Governors University and the founding director of WCET at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Today she also serves as the executive director of the Foundation for Student Success and as a commissioner on the U.S. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Commission.

Lev Gonick

Lev Gonick is an educator, technologists, and smart city architect. Gonick is co-founder and CEO of OneCommunity, the award-winning non-profit organization enabling and celebrating innovation, collaboration, and productivity through next generation broadband networks, big open data solutions, and IoT for public benefit.

William M. “Bill” Holda

Dr. Bill Holda served as the eighth president of Kilgore College from 1996 until his retirement in 2016. Prior to that he served Kilgore College as the Dean of Admissions and Registrar for six years. He served ten years on the Executive Committee of the Texas Association of Community Colleges and was Chairman of that association from 2011-2013.

Edward Leach

Dr. Edward Leach serves as the Executive Director of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership. NISOD supports excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership by distributing professional development materials to faculty, staff, and administrators at its member colleges.