Former Pearson, Capella University executive and education technology CEO/Founder brings deep experience of product innovation and new business growth
MINNEAPOLIS – April 18, 2018 – www.reflectionsciences.com — Reflection Sciences Inc. announced today that it has appointed Jeff Shelstad as the company’s chief executive officer, succeeding co-founder Stephanie Carlson, who will move into the chief science officer role for the company. Shelstad was most recently vice president and general manager at Capella University.
Reflection Sciences, based in St. Paul, Minn., provides training and tools for educators to use in assessing children’s executive function (EF), the skills that control attention, thoughts, actions, and emotions and are crucial for classroom success. In his role as CEO, Shelstad will guide the company in pursuing its mission to provide the tools and services needed to enhance children’s cognitive development and learning outcomes.
“As a University of Minnesota startup, Reflection Sciences has made exciting progress over the past two years,” said Russ Straate, associate director of the University of Minnesota’s Venture Center, part of its Office for Technology Commercialization, which helped to launch the company in 2014. “Jeff’s ties and commitment to the University of Minnesota and his track record of success—in both established and entrepreneurial education environments—
“Jeff is an experienced entrepreneur, product innovator, and strategic thinker,” added Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., Reflection Sciences’ co-founder and Distinguished McKnight University Professor of child development in the University’s College of Education and Human Development. “Coming on the heels of our Harvard Graduate School of Education deal and design patent for our assessment technology, we think Jeff is another proof point of our progress to-date and future success.”
Prior to his role at Capella, Shelstad was the co-founder and CEO of Flat World Knowledge, an early pioneer in higher education’s Open Education Resource (OER) movement. There, Shelstad led efforts to redefine the entire business model of the $10+ billion higher education content industry. He and his team raised $30 million in capital through four rounds of fundraising support. Flat World Knowledge became the first at-scale provider of openly licensed, professionally produced content (OER). Flat World grew to over 40 employees, was used by over 4,000 classrooms globally, and generated over $6 million in revenue in 2012. Shelstad’s strategic and product acumen also extended to his days as an executive at both Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill Education.
“Reflection Sciences and its leadership team have long maintained that measuring executive function should be provided for all children globally, as EF skills are the bedrock of academic, career, and lifetime success,” said Shelstad. “I’m excited to join this young company that has so much potential. We are just starting to hit our stride—2018 and beyond look very promising.”
A native Minnesotan, Shelstad holds an undergraduate degree in business marketing from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The board of Reflection Sciences formally approved his appointment as CEO on March 23, 2018.
Reflection Sciences is the culmination of 20 years of groundbreaking research, constant curiosity, and unwavering passion for executive function skills, development, and advocacy. Phil Zelazo, Ph.D. and Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., professors at the University of Minnesota and co-founders of Reflection Sciences, developed an effective way to scientifically and objectively measure executive function in young children. The Minnesota Executive Function Scale is a nationally normed direct behavioral assessment of the neurocognitive skills that are most vital to academic and life success. After seeing the effectiveness of the MEFS app in their own research, Dr. Carlson and Dr. Zelazo created Reflection Sciences in 2014 as a Software-as-
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