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Education Nonprofit MIND Research Institute Appoints New COO

Irvine, CA, Aug 28, 2013 The education nonprofit MIND Research Institute has named cofounder Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., its Chief Operating Officer, and announced an increased focus on public-private partnerships that support math education.

Peterson is a neuroscientist who, due to dyslexia, did not learn to read until fifth grade and also struggled with math. While pursuing his doctorate at UC Berkeley, he began working on a series of computer games called ST Math® that teach math concepts without words, relying instead on innate spatial-temporal (ST) reasoning. In 1999, the first study at a socioeconomically disadvantaged school in Watts, California, proved that the program made a significant difference in children’s math performance on standardized tests. Peterson spent the years since refining and expanding the ST Math program, which today is used by more than half a million elementary and secondary students in 30 states.

“Matthew has demonstrated his management skills, business acumen and leadership ability in his many years with the company,” said Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Ted Smith. “This is a natural step which will enable him to contribute to the leadership more broadly.”

MIND Research has also adopted a more concise mission statement: “To ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems.”

To this end, the sales forces and fundraising teams have been combined into a single department charged with mobilizing both the education and philanthropic communities around transforming math education. Vice President of Sales Theresa Poprac was named Chief Partnership Officer to lead this new Partnerships Department with an increased focus on public-private partnerships that combine charitable donations and school investments to transform math education using ST Math’s unique visual approach.

"Market forces alone are not enough to achieve the high levels of math proficiency and creative problem solving that we are after," said Peterson. “To fully realize our bold mission, we must tap into social-benefit forces and partner with corporations, foundations, community leaders and educators to advance math education across the country – and improve students’ lives in the process.”

Ingrid Ellerbe, who served as Vice President of Marketing, is now Vice President of Engagement, overseeing a department tasked with outreach, advocacy and communication to education and philanthropic constituents.

MIND Research also appointed Jim Lund as Vice President of Education Services, the department that provides training and support to educators nationwide as they implement ST Math. Jim has more than 25 years of experience managing educational technology at companies including Apple, Pearson and GuideK12.

“I’m excited about the opportunities this leadership team has to change math education across the country,” said Peterson, who as COO now oversees Engineering, Education Services, Education Research and Product Management in addition to the new Partnership and Engagement departments.

Unlike traditional methods, MIND’s ST Math instructional software offers a visual, non-language-based approach to teaching math. When combined with teacher training and integrated into classroom instruction in a blended learning environment, the program helps students deeply understand math concepts, develop perseverance and build problem-solving skills. Years of research show that schools using ST Math experience double or triple the growth rates in math proficiency on standardized tests. The program is currently used in major metropolitan areas including Baltimore; Chicago; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Orange County, Calif.; Orlando; Philadelphia; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.

Major supporters of MIND’s growth and expansion over the years include the Cisco Foundation, Samueli Foundation, Emulex Corporation, Paul and Margo Folino, The Horowitz Group, Microsemi, Jim and Sheila Peterson and PricewaterhouseCoopers.


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