Executive Management

Nathaniel A. Davis
Executive Chairman

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Nate Davis, Chairman and CEO of K12, is a seasoned leader of transformational telecommunications, media and software development companies, with a record of improving operations, launching innovative new products and strengthening relationships with legislative and regulatory authorities.

Mr. Davis joined the K12 Board of Directors in 2009, was named Chairman of the Board in June 2012, assumed the role of Executive Chairman in January 2013 and was named Chairman and CEO in January 2014. He returned to his Executive Chairman role in February 2016, where he is focused on  the Public Policy arena, public relations, and working closely with our Schools and their Boards in partnership with Chief Executive Officer Stuart J. Udell.

Mr. Davis joined the company from the position of Managing Director of RANND Advisory Group, a consulting group advising venture capital, media, and technology-based firms. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer and President of XM Satellite Radio and was a member of the company's Board of Directors, where he strengthened operations and financial performance and led the company through its merger with Sirius Satellite Radio.

From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Davis was President and Chief Operating Officer, and board member of XO Communications Inc. Mr. Davis has also held senior executive positions at Nextel Communications (EVP, Network and Technical Services), MCI Telecommunications (Chief Financial Officer and various other management positions) and MCI Metro (President and Chief Operating Officer).

Mr. Davis currently serves on the Board of Directors for Unisys and the Board of Trustees for RLJ Lodging Trust.

Mr. Davis received an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Engineering Computer Science at the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Stuart J. Udell
Chief Executive Officer

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Stuart J. Udell joined K12 as the company’s Chief Executive Officer in February 2016. Mr. Udell brings significant strategic and operational experience to K12 in the education industry, amassed over a 27-year career.

Most recently, Mr. Udell served as Executive Chairman and prior as Chief Executive Officer of Catapult Learning, Inc., a privately held provider of instructional services, professional development, and operator of schools.

Prior to joining Catapult Learning, Mr. Udell was the President of Postsecondary Education at The Princeton Review. He was concurrently the Chief Executive Officer of Penn Foster, a global leader in high school and career-focused online learning, which he sold to The Princeton Review. Mr. Udell spent eleven years at Kaplan, most recently as President of Kaplan K12 Learning Services, where he built the K-12 school division. From 1997-2001, Mr. Udell was President of the School Renaissance Institute, the training, publishing, and research subsidiary of Renaissance Learning.

Mr. Udell has served the last thirteen years on the board of directors of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (Clemson University), where he was recently recognized for his contributions as Chairman. Mr. Udell holds a MBA from Columbia University and a BS from Bucknell University.

James Rhyu
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

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James Rhyu, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, joined K12 in June 2013. Mr. Rhyu has more than 20 years of financial management experience in various global industries.

Prior to joining K12, Mr. Rhyu served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of Match.com, a subsidiary of publicly traded IAC/InterActiveCorp. In those roles, he was responsible for overseeing a broad range of functions, including human resources, legal, information technology and operations, certain international operations and product development.

Prior to his roles at Match.com, Mr. Rhyu was a Senior Vice President of Finance at Dow Jones & Company, where he ran the global financial function. Previously, Mr. Rhyu served for three years as the Corporate Controller of Sirius XM Radio Inc. and its predecessor company, XM Satellite Radio, as well as serving in the same role for Graftech International. Mr. Rhyu also spent six years with Ernst & Young LLP in the United States and South America.

Mr. Rhyu holds a BS from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the London Business School.

Howard D. Polsky
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

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Howard D. Polsky, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, joined K12 in 2004. Mr. Polsky has a unique combination of legal and public policy experience.  

Prior to joining K12, Mr. Polsky served as Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications, where he managed a wide range of legal matters including antitrust, telecommunications, employment, commercial contracts and transactions, litigation management, mergers and acquisitions, foreign joint ventures, intellectual property, and corporate governance and compliance.

From 1992-2000, Mr. Polsky was at COMSAT and held both legal and government relations positions. He spent four years on the senior management team as Vice President of Federal Policy and Regulation. In that capacity, he developed critical corporate policy initiatives and advocated extensively before the FCC, Executive Branch, Congress, and within intergovernmental organizations. Regulatory risk assessment and communications with institutional investors on policy matters was also his responsibility.

For the prior nine years, Mr. Polsky was a partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding where he represented a variety of U.S. and international communications clients in administrative and judicial proceedings.  He began his legal career at the FCC and Kirkland & Ellis.

Mr. Polsky received his JD. from Indiana University and was an editor of the Indiana Law Review, holds a BA from Lehigh University, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Polsky is admitted to practice in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia (corporate counsel), and the District of Columbia. Mr. Polsky has recently been appointed as a board member for the Lehigh University Advisory Council to the College of Arts and Science.

Allison Cleveland
Executive Vice President of School Management and Services

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Allison Cleveland, Executive Vice President of School Management and Services, joined K12 in October 2002.

During her time at K12, Ms. Cleveland has been instrumental in building the managed public school line of business. Most recently, she served as the Senior Vice President of School Services, overseeing academic and operational services in the managed public schools. Prior to that, Ms. Cleveland was the Regional Vice President of the Southern Region, responsible for schools in the Southeast portion of the United States.

In her early years at K12, Ms. Cleveland worked in support of new school start-up and school operations, where she was responsible for the successful launch of K12; Virtual Academies throughout the country.

Ms. Cleveland began her career at Andersen Consulting, where she focused on clients in the telecommunications industry and government. She holds a BSE in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, cum laude, from Duke University and an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.

Joe Zarella
Executive Vice President of Business Operations

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Joe Zarella, Executive Vice President of Business Operations, has more than 20 years of successful Customer Service, Sales & Marketing Operations, and Information Technology management experience.

As EVP of Business Operations, Mr. Zarella oversees K12's Marketing, Information Technology, Enrollment Operations, Customer Care, and Business Operations organizations.

Prior to joining K12 in 2014, Mr. Zarella served as Chief Service Officer for SiriusXM Satellite Radio and its predecessor company, XM Satellite Radio, since 2006. In this role, he lead the company’s Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Retention Operations, where he successfully grew Revenue, Customers and Profitability to record levels, contributing to make SiriusXM the world’s largest revenue grossing Radio Company.

Before joining XM Satellite Radio, he served at Constellation NewEnergy as Managing Director of Operations, where he was responsible for setting the Corporate operations consolidation strategy. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Revenue Operations for XO Communications for six years, which came after 10+ years at MCI Communications serving as Vice President of Financial Operations and holding several executive operations leadership positions.

Mr. Zarella holds a BS in Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts, and an MBA in International Finance from the University of Dallas.

Lynda Cloud
Executive Vice President, Products

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Lynda Cloud, Executive Vice President, Products, joined K12 in September 2014. As the head of K12's Curriculum and Products organization, she oversees the development and delivery of all program content and customer-facing technologies, and drives the product strategy and results across all areas of the business.

Prior to joining K12, she was with Pearson Publishing for more than 20 years, where she held senior leadership positions in Product Development, Marketing, and Product Management. In her role as Pearson's General Manager (for Science, Humanities and Online Learning Exchange), she drove strategy for the company's print and digital properties in the North American educational market.

Bala Balachander
Senior Vice President, Software Product Development and Chief Technology Officer

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Jayaram "Bala" Balachander joined K12 in August 2014 as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Mr. Balachander is responsible for driving K12's software platforms strategy including the design and development of innovative educational solutions, programs, courses and products as well as the systems/platforms to support product creation and delivery.

Prior to joining K12, Mr. Balachander was Senior Vice President, Product Development Educational Platforms at Blackboard. Prior to that role, he led product development and product management as Senior Vice President, Products Blackboard Engage. He has also held Chief Technology Officer roles at CTB McGraw-Hill, Pearson School Technologies and Big Chalk.

Mr. Balachander has an MS in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science.

Rob Banwarth
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

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Rob Banwarth, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, has more than 20 years of experience leading large development and infrastructure organizations both domestically and internationally. Rob is responsible for K12's Information Technology strategy, deploying solutions that align with the overall company goals and objectives, and managing K12's infrastructure platforms to be highly scalable and available.

Prior to joining K12, Mr. Banwarth served as Chief Information Officer for Smartlink LLC, a nationwide recruiting and site development company focused on delivering solutions for new and existing carrier communications infrastructures. In this role, he successfully designed, delivered and supported the technology strategy that drove profitability. This included the delivery and execution of Smartlink LLC's Information Technology enterprise class applications, infrastructure and support services that drive customer acquisition, revenue, CRM, SFA, HRIS, analytics, billing, and financial reporting functions.

Before joining Smartlink LLC, Mr. Banwarth served as Vice President of Commercial Operations at GXS, where he was responsible for delivery and support for datacenters, network, infrastructure and support applications globally. Prior to that, he was Vice President of IT Operations for SiriusXM Satellite Radio and its predecessor company, XM Satellite Radio. Mr. Banwarth has held leadership positions with Sprint Nextel, XO Communications and MCI Communications.

Sameer Kasargod
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

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Sameer Kasargod, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, joined K12 in 2014. Mr. Kasargod is responsible for marketing strategy and execution, digital and offline media, creative and messaging, regional marketing, web content, research, and marketing analytics.

Upon joining K12 in 2014, Mr. Kasargod led Customer Acquisition and Analytics efforts where he successfully developed new capabilities and implemented marketing strategies to drive improved business performance.

Mr. Kasargod came to K12 from Apollo Education Group, where he was Vice President, Strategic Analytics. In that role, he spearheaded several key initiatives across the student lifecycle. Prior to that, Mr. Kasargod held leadership roles in marketing, analytics and strategy at Sallie Mae, GE and Capital One.

Mr. Kasargod has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.S. from the University of Missouri, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Mumbai.

Bryan W. Flood
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs

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Bryan W. Flood, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, joined K12 in 2002.  Mr. Flood previously served as a public affairs strategist, consultant, and spokesman for corporations, interest groups, and senatorial, gubernatorial, and presidential campaigns.

As Vice President at the MPGH Agency, a Virginia-based public affairs consulting firm, he advised clients ranging from high tech start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, including several leading education companies. Mr. Flood helped clients like MCI, The Learning Company, and Achievement Technologies win complex public policy and opinion battles by designing and managing advocacy campaigns at the local, state, and national levels. While serving at MPGH in 1999, Mr. Flood helped direct a sweeping review of the military recruitment process for the United States Department of Defense.

Mr. Flood was chief spokesman for Michigan Governor John Engler's successful reelection campaign in 1994, and was national spokesman for United States Senator Lamar Alexander's presidential campaign in 1995-96.

Mr. Flood holds a BA in Public Policy from New College of Florida.

Valerie Maddy
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

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Valerie Maddy, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at K12 Inc., brings more than 20 years of global leadership and innovation in the full range of human resources disciplines. At K12, Ms. Maddy is leading the development and implementation of new systems, processes, policies and programs aimed at maximizing every employee's contribution to student academic success. As part of that effort, she is working with business teams to drive alignment, clarity and competitive advantage across the company and plan, acquire, develop and retain the talent required to achieve organizational goals.

Prior to joining K12, Ms. Maddy was Vice President, Global Human Resources Operations for Ciena Corporation, a global leader in next-generation network infrastructure, where she introduced reliable automation to HR systems, significantly increasing efficiency levels, and led the HR due diligence efforts and integration activities of eight acquisitions. Before rising to this position, Ms. Maddy served in a number of leadership roles at Ciena in the areas of Global Total Rewards and Global Risk Management.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Maddy held leadership roles in Human Resources and Finance at Crown Vantage, a specialty paper manufacturer and distributor. Prior to that, she served in Human Resources and Auditing roles at SAFECO and American General, both providers of financial and insurance services.

Ms. Maddy is a graduate of Humboldt State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She holds a certificate in Global Benefits Management, a designation from Fellow Life Management Institute, and is also a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist and Certified Internal Auditor.

Peter Stewart
Senior Vice President of School Development

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Peter Stewart, Senior Vice President of School Development, works with parents, teachers, community groups, school districts, school boards, departments of education, and policy makers across the United States and internationally to start new high-tech schools that use the K12 academic program.

In the past seven years Mr. Stewart has helped develop large-scale, public e-learning programs in sixteen states that currently serve over 100,000 courses annually.

Prior to joining K12 in 2000, Mr. Stewart was a Head of School, a teacher, a school principal, and a curriculum director with ten years' experience working in urban, rural, and international schools.

Mr. Stewart holds a BA in English from Williams College, and an MA from Columbia University Teachers College.