The Knewton Blog

Our monthly newsletter features edtech and product updates, with a healthy dose of fun Knerd news.

Introducing 15 New Knerds

Posted in Knerds on November 19, 2013 by

We have 15 new Knerds to introduce this month. Nine engineers, one adaptive instruction analyst, one finance and operations associate, one client manager, one content curator, one product manager, and one data scientist recently joined the Knewton team.

Without further ado, here’s a quick intro to each of them.

Full stack engineer Remi Carton is originally from Lyon, France, and studied at the Universite de Technologie de Compiegne. His favorite book is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and his hobbies include kitesurfing and baking bread. He thought Deadliest Catch was somewhat entertaining.

Annie Naftel is our newest Adaptive Instruction Analyst. Originally from Western New York, Annie completed her undergrad at Dartmouth College and earned her Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University. Previously, she worked at Benetech, a nonprofit technology company, where she worked to provide digital, accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities.  Before that, Annie taught English Language Arts in two NYC public schools. Annie’s favorite movie is Wayne’s World.

Ian Schenck joins Knewton as a Senior Systems Engineer. He earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State and went to grad school at NYU for Computational Biology. Ian’s favorite website is and his favorite Wikipedia page is this List of Common Misconceptions. You can find Ian snowboarding, free diving, spearfishing, and/or kite boarding in his free time.

Senior Security Engineer Joel Anderson was born in Sarasota, FL but hails more recently from Austin, TX. Before coming to Knewton, he was federating cloud infrastructure management. Joel’s favorite movie is “obviously” The Matrix and his hobbies include bodybuilding and binary exploitation. His favorite Wikipedia page is on return-oriented programming and this is his favorite subreddit.

Michaela Lehr joins Knewton as a Finance and Operations Analyst. She’s originally from North Caldwell, NJ (better known as the location of the Soprano home) and graduated from UPenn. Michaela’s hobbies include drinking kombucha green tea in mass quantities, playing piano, and finding people to yammer with in French. She was voted “loudest” in her high school yearbook but should have been voted “most ebullient.” Also, she thinks Excel is fun.

Sally Searby is the newest Client Manager on Knewton’s Implementations team. Originally from Oxford, England, Sally more recently lived in Cambridge for 15 years. Before coming to Knewton, she was the Director of Publishing at Cambridge University Press. Sally majored in English literature and linguistics at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, and received her MBA from Oxford Brookes University. In her free time, Sally loves singing (she’s sung with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall several times) and travelling (especially by train).

Scott MacGibbon, the newest engineer on the Platform team, comes to Knewton via Amplify and, before that, “a land down under.” He graduated from the University of Sydney. His favorite movie is Brazil, and this is his favorite Wikipedia page.

Software engineer Peter Kelley grew up in Syracuse, NY, attended SUNY Geneseo, and previously worked for SRC, a Syracuse-based defense contractor. His hobbies include iOS development, hacking census data, and watching SU basketball. He also loves water parks. Check out his blog at and then check out his favorite Wikipedia page: a list of the tallest buildings in Upstate New York.

Mathematics content curator Greg Hitt grew up in a farm town outside of Cincinnati and taught Algebra 2, Calculus, and Physics in Brooklyn before coming to Knewton. Greg enjoys playing ukulele and thinking up punny titles for future Air Bud movies. His favorite book is Blood Meridian, and he hasn’t had hiccups since 1994. This is his favorite website.

Senior Software Engineer Derek Odegard previously worked as the lead front end developer at OpenSky, an online retailer. He grew up in San Diego and went to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA. His favorite movie is Dr. Strangelove and this is his favorite Wikipedia page.

New Hampshire native Alex Roussos, a Dartmouth grad, joins Knewton as a software engineer. Before coming to Knewton he worked at a mobile mesh networking startup, and then did web development in the ecommerce space. His hobbies include homebrewing and cooking and his favorite websites are Ben Krasnow and The Mad Fermentationist.

Celia La joins Knewton as a software engineer on the Platform Tools team. Born and raised in San Diego, Celia went to UC Berkeley and lingered in LA before heading to NYC. A “volunteeraholic,” Celia is also co-organizer of the NYC Python Meetup and the Write/Speak/Code conference, which empowers women developments to be visible contributors to the tech community. In a past life, Celia was a jazz musician. You can find her on Twitter @celiala.

Originally from San Diego, Product Manager Mark Georgiev graduated from Stanford University and previously worked at the McGraw-Hill Digital Platform Group. His favorite book is Kafka’s The Trial and his hobbies include standing on his hands. Mark’s favorite website is e-literate and he recommends the Wikipedia page on Wolfgang von Kempelen’s Speaking Machine.

After five years in NYC, Data Scientist Yan Karklin can now officially claim the city as his hometown. His hobbies (exploring the boroughs on bicycle) and reading material (The New Yorker) are fitting for his adopted home. Yan graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and before coming to Knewton was doing neuroscience research at NYU.