Brian Kibby

Chief Executive Officer

Brian Kibby

Brian Kibby is the CEO of Knewton. With more than 20 years of leadership and executive experience in the education industry, Brian is a passionate driver of digital transformation in education, with deep experience in personalized learning technology and an unmatched record for generating results.

Prior to joining Knewton, Brian served as the President of McGraw-Hill Education’s Higher Ed Group from 2011 to 2014. During that time, he led the company’s development of market-leading digital tools, platforms and services for the higher education market. Through partnerships and acquisition strategy, he succeeded in making adaptive technology the centerpiece of the company’s higher education business. Brian previously served as Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development for Pearson Education, where he delivered consistent increases in top-line and bottom-line growth. Brian’s global experience includes having served as President and General Manager of McGraw-Hill Education in Australia and New Zealand. Most recently, he served as CEO of MV Transportation. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Western Illinois University.

Jennifer Grunebaum

Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer Grunebaum

Jennifer Grunebaum joined Knewton in 2016 as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. She is a visionary business leader with a diverse set of abilities – a combination of financial, strategic and operational acumen – that she is using to help drive profitable growth for the Knewton Business.

For the past 10 plus years Jennifer has been working with multi-nationals in the Media and Education sector.  Most recently she held a dual role as both CFO, Americas International and Professional as well as Interim Managing Director – Latin America at McGraw Hill Education. Prior to that, Jennifer held various strategy and finance leadership roles at Penguin Random House, Time Warner and ExxonMobil. She began her career in investment banking in New York.

Jennifer holds an B.S.B.A. in finance from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from Duke.

Doug Hughes

Chief Product Officer

Doug Hughes

Doug Hughes is Knewton’s Chief Product Officer. He brings more than 20 years of leadership as a technologist and product innovator in education. In his role, Doug leads Knewton’s product development efforts, overseeing the company’s product engineering, content development, data insights, and data science teams. Doug also leads Knewton’s Global Enterprise team, which partners with publishers and education companies to help them incorporate the power of Knewton's adaptive technology into their offerings.

Prior to Knewton, Doug held progressive leadership positions at McGraw-Hill Education in which he drove the adoption of the company’s adaptive technology and successfully led its sales efforts in the face of industry decline. While at McGraw-Hill, Doug was responsible for the creation of many industry-first technologies, all of which have stood the test of time and are still in use in classrooms around the world.

Before joining McGraw-Hill, Doug worked as an analyst and engineer, beginning his career in the U.S. Army as an M1 Abrams Tanker.

Doug completed an executive education program in financial analysis at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, earned an M.B.A. in technology management from the University of Phoenix, and received a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from the University of West Georgia.

Erion Hasanbelliu

Chief Technology Officer

Erion Hasanbelliu

Erion Hasanbelliu is Knewton’s Chief Technology Officer. In his role, he oversees the research and development of the company’s adaptive learning platform as well as of alta, Knewton’s fully integrated adaptive learning courseware for higher education. Erion manages Knewton’s technology engineering team.

Since joining Knewton, Erion has held a series of progressive leadership roles on the company’s technology team. He began his tenure at Knewton as a software engineer.

Erion is highly experienced in developing mathematical/statistical models and machine learning algorithms to solve problems in various fields. He has advanced knowledge and experience in both prototyping and full product development.

Erion earned his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Florida, where his research focused on machine learning and computer vision. Erion earned an M.S. in systems and software design and a B.S. in computer science from Jacksonville State University.

Heather Shelstad

Vice President, Marketing

Heather Shelstad

Heather Shelstad has a 20-year proven track record in strategic marketing with well-rounded experience in sales, marketing and product development.

As head of Knewton’s marketing team, Heather is responsible for defining and accelerating awareness of the company’s brands around the world. Heather leads initiatives designed to engage customers through multi-channel marketing campaigns and drive customer acquisition and revenue goals. Heather led the brand development, testing and launch of alta — Knewton’s fully-integrated, adaptive learning courseware for higher education — as well as a marketing program that resulted in customer acquisition across more than 250 academic institutions within the U.S.

Prior to joining Knewton, Heather was instrumental in the success of many of the industry’s leading digital brands within higher education, including McGraw-Hill’s Connect and LearnSmart brands and Cengage’s MindTap. At both companies, Heather led research and branding initiatives that informed product and marketing strategy and integrated marketing campaigns that grew awareness, engagement and sales. Heather also led brand, corporate communications and sales programs at former startup CourseSmart LLC (now VitalSource), formerly the world’s largest online store for digital course materials.

Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from Washington State University.

Karson Kovakovich

Vice President, Sales and Services

Karson Kovakovich

Karson Kovakovich is Knewton’s Vice President of Sales and Services. As the leader of Knewton’s sales and services teams, Karson partners with instructors to help them achieve their goals with alta, Knewton’s adaptive learning courseware for U.S. higher education. In addition to driving the adoption of alta, Karson also leads enablement, training and support initiatives designed to help instructors get the most out of their alta experience.

Prior to joining Knewton, Karson led sales, implementation and enterprise teams at McGraw-Hill Education. As Associate Vice President of Institutional Partnerships, he led the company’s enterprise account management team, which was responsible for developing and growing strategic partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities. As the company’s Regional Director of Implementation, Karson’s teams routinely outperformed others at the company and across the industry.

At Pearson, Karson held a series of progressive sales roles and was consistently cited as a top performer. In 2011, Karson won the company’s Pearson Award, given to the sales representative with the highest growth over a three-year period.

Karson’s leadership philosophy is rooted in the practice of mindful leadership, which seeks to achieve growth by cultivating each team member’s ability to focus, see clearly, be creative and embody compassion. He formerly served as president and board member of the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, Sacramento’s oldest and largest mindfulness organization.

Karson taught undergraduate philosophy for five years at Rutgers University, where he studied as a graduate student. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wyoming and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UC Davis.

Mike Chapin

Vice President, General Counsel

Mike Chapin

Mike Chapin joined Knewton in 2013 and brings his near-10 years of legal experience to overseeing Knewton’s legal and regulatory affairs worldwide.

Prior to joining Knewton, Mike was a corporate attorney in the Boston office of Cooley LLP advising technology companies on a broad range of corporate, commercial, intellectual property and regulatory legal issues. Prior to that, he was a process development engineer at several technology companies in Silicon Valley.

Mike holds a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Tanya Livingstone

Director, Human Resources and Recruiting

Tanya Livingstone

Tanya Livingstone is Knewton’s Director of Human Resources and Recruiting. Tanya leads a team that manages all aspects of HR and recruiting at Knewton, including the company’s people operations strategy, change management, employee engagement, recruiting, benefits, compensation, employee relations, employee development, performance management and onboarding.

During her tenure at Knewton, Tanya has led the roll-out of a streamlined performance review process, defined compensation bands for all roles at the company, and helped open international offices by successfully recruiting in global markets like London, Brazil, Japan, Singapore and China. Tanya came to Knewton in 2013 as the company’s Human Resources Manager.

Prior to Knewton, Tanya worked at SnapOne as the company’s only HR Generalist. In this role, Tanya led the company’s recruiting initiatives, employee relations, onboarding, performance reviews and payroll. Before SnapOne, she worked at Unisys as an Analyst.

Tanya holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Bucknell University and an M.A. in social-organizational psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Board of Directors

Rob Stavis
Kevin Comolli

Accel Partners

Managing General Partner

Jose Ferreira




Amish Jani

FirstMark Capital

Managing Director

Brian Kibby


Chief Executive Officer

Andy Rosen

Kaplan Inc

Chairman and CEO

Hiro Tamura


General Partner