Meet Our Staff
President/CEO: Michael Axtman – AZ
Michael Axtman has been a leader in the K-12 online learning industry for more than 15 years. Before Accelerate Education, Michael was the President of Aventa Learning and a Vice President at KC Distance Learning where he managed 9 Statewide Virtual Schools for the iQ Academies. Prior to Aventa Learning, Michael was the Vice President in charge of content development, technology and sales at Apex Learning. Prior to Apex Learning, Michael was the President/CEO of AXC Interactive, a software development firm catering to Fortune 500 companies located in Seattle, Washington. Michael Axtman is responsible for the overall management of Accelerate Education as well as the strategic direction of the company.
VP, Curriculum & Instruction: Leanne Stapleton – PA
Leanne has been working in education for 25+ years, with 17+ years’ experience in the online space. She has classroom experience in both traditional and online schools, professional development experience teaching staff how to implement technology in classrooms, administration experience as the IT Director and Associate Director of 21st Century Cyber Charter School, and curriculum development experience in both traditional and the online educational space, having led curriculum teams at Aventa Learning, KCDL and K12. At Accelerate Education, she currently oversees curriculum development & instruction. She also serves as the Director of the Academy.
Manager, Instruction: Miki Merritt – VA
Miki began her career 20 years ago as a classroom physics teacher. Within the first two years of teaching, she started getting involved with doing professional development workshops on integrated technology into the mathematics and science classrooms, as well as using online gradebooks. Her involvement in instructional technology lead to her pursuit of a Master’s in Curriculum and Technology and immediately got involved with writing and aligning curriculum. She has had 10 years of experience in the field of online education, as well as school administrative experience at a private school. At Accelerate Education, she manages the instructional team and serves as the head of school for the Academy.
Director, Instructional Design: Tamesa Williams – PA
Tamesa was a teacher for ten years, then worked in textbook publishing for ten years building technology products, then finally found her professional love of instructional design. She has done that, in the field of online education, for about ten years now. At Accelerate Education, she leads the instructional design efforts.
VP, Operations & Finance: Bob Solis – IA
Bob has more than 15 years of experience in the K-12 online learning industry. At Accelerate Education, Bob is responsible for all Finance and Operations, including Customer Support and Human Resources. Prior to joining Accelerate Education, Bob led the Operations, Finance and Technology teams at KC Distance Learning. In that role, he managed the company’s statewide virtual schools and private school implementations, operations functions and technology systems. He has also directed the development of new curriculum product lines for Middle School, Online Credit Recovery, and the next generation of High School courses for Keystone National High School. He also has extensive experience with Information Security, having led major initiatives in PCI, HIPPA, and other security standards compliance. In addition to his online learning industry experience, Bob also has 10 years of Information Technology consulting and Program Management experience as a Partner within Computer Sciences Corporation Consulting Practice and at Exxon/Mobil.
VP, Technology: Anthony Stevens – WA
Anthony has over 20 years of experience with web, mobile, and cloud computing software. Since 2001 he has worked in the education space designing, building, and managing mission-critical systems that students and instructors depend on every day. His enthusiasm, love of learning and passion for excellence set the tone in the IT and Engineering teams at Accelerate Education.
LMS Administrator: Hieu Cooney – CA
Hieu Cooney joined Accelerate Education in July of 2013. She comes to us with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a master’s degree in Education, with an emphasis in computer education. She has served for over 15 years in the education field as the LMS administrator for two online colleges, vocational program manager, curriculum developer, and course instructor in both the traditional classroom setting and online environment. Since Hieu joined Accelerate Education, she has taken on our LMS administration and works alongside the support team to improve the administrator, teacher, mentor, and student experience within our learning management system.
Director, Personalized Learning: Mary Scott Senan – WA
Mary Scott has over 20 years of experience in in the education technology industry. She has led content development teams, managed technology projects and worked with users of the product to determine what features and functionality are needed to enhance their learning experience. Prior to joining Accelerate Education, Mary Scott worked at Apex Learning in many roles including Product Owner, Senior Product Manager Director of Product Marketing, and the Director of Production. Mary Scott’s first experience in education digital technology was converting print textbook teacher resources to an online, searchable website for Prentice Hall.
Alignment Coordinator: Kristen Gonet – CT
Kristen has worked in education since 2006, has her master’s degree in history and education, and has over four years of classroom experience. She joined Accelerate Education in 2012, and is applying her education experience as the alignment coordinator.