Meet our Leadership Team
ERIC LOEFFEL, Chief Executive Officer
"My sixth-grade teacher at Fort Allen Elementary in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was Mr. Stratton. He was my first male teacher (if memory serves me right), but — most importantly — he created my first project-based learning experience. We completed projects individually and in groups, and we regularly made presentations in front of the class. I still remember some of those projects, because it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to start with an idea and end with a finished product, such as a paper or presentation!"
Eric Loeffel was named President and CEO of Compass Learning in 2005. Under his leadership, Compass Learning continues to be recognized as a premier provider of K-12 educational software. The company has won multiple, coveted education awards, including EDDIEs, BESSIEs, and CODiEs, as well as earned a spot on a much sought-after national Top 100 educational products’ list. Additionally, Eric is frequently invited to share his industry vision at national education innovation conferences.
Since relocating Compass Learning from California to Austin, Texas, Eric has been a key player in helping grow the Austin economy. He’s an active leader in the city’s burgeoning SXSWedu Conference, has assisted the Austin Chamber of Commerce on various committees, and helped earn Compass Learning numerous Austin American Statesman Top Work Places’ honors.
Prior to joining Compass Learning, Eric was president and CEO of Isochron Data Corp., a venture capital-backed software company in Austin, Texas. He enjoyed similar success as the president and CEO of OnQ Technology, Inc., a private international semiconductor services company. Prior to that, Eric held various positions at Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, Quicken, and QuickBooks. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from San Diego State University and an MBA from the University of California.
TREY CHAMBERS, Chief Financial Officer
"Throughout elementary and secondary school, I loved math-related classes. However, when I was a junior in high school, my English teacher, Ms. Duncan, instilled in me a love of literature. She had a keen ability to drive interesting discussions related to classic novels by driving fantastic, interactive discussions about what we read. Upon completing that class, I decided to apply to the Liberal Arts school at the University of Texas, where my work enriched my studies in the Business school. I graduated with degrees from both schools, and I would never have taken that path had it not been for Ms. Duncan and her passion for teaching."
Trey Chambers was appointed CFO of Compass Learning in May 2010. He brings more than 16 years of financial management and technology industry experience to Compass Learning, as well as relevant public company experience.
Prior to joining Compass Learning, Trey was vice president of operations and CFO at Reddwerks Corporation, a leading provider of warehouse performance management solutions for some of the world's largest companies. Before that, he served as CFO for the $2.6 billion Transportation and Standard Products segment of Freescale Semiconductor, a multi-billion dollar provider of semiconductors for the transportation, networking, and wireless markets. During his tenure at Freescale, Trey also served as the corporation's chief audit officer. Prior to his time at Freescale, he was controller and later vice president of finance at Metrowerks, a global provider of software development tools. He also was in audit at PriceWaterhouse.
Trey is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Plan II, a liberal arts honors program. He is a CPA.
ARTHUR VANDERVEEN, Vice President, Business Strategy and Development
"I still remember vividly an enrichment project I did in seventh grade when a friend and I were assigned the challenge of redesigning our small town—what were all the services required, and how much did they cost? Over the course of two weeks, we called the directors of the town police department, fire department, utilities, hospital, etc., to gather the information we needed. The project taught me that people learn best when they’re trying to solve real-world problems and that ‘school’ shouldn’t be confined to a building or a book. This belief has shaped my approach to teaching and learning ever since."
Arthur brings extensive experience as a district administrator in New York City, the largest school district in the country. He founded and led the NYC Innovation Zone (iZone), an active community of 165 schools using digital technologies and innovative instructional approaches to personalize learning to the needs of individual students. Under his direction, the iZone launched the largest district-level, online and blended learning program in the country.
Arthur earned his Ph.D. in English from The University of Texas at Austin, his master’s degree in divinity and educational psychology from the Princeton Theological Seminary, and his bachelor’s degree in English from Colorado College.
THOMAS RIZZI, Vice President, Sales
"My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Deion, came into my life at a time when I was more interested in shooting hoops on the playground than learning in the classroom. Though my family placed a strong emphasis on education, I was bored with school and consequently, unmotivated. Mr. Deion set incredibly high expectations for me that had never been set in any prior classroom. He was driven, hard-working, and passionate about teaching, and was the kind of teacher for whom you really wanted to do a good job. I worked hard to make him proud, and in the process, changed my attitude about school."
Thomas Rizzi joined Compass Learning in 2012 as our Vice President of Sales. He is responsible for the overall direction of the company’s global sales operations, including the development and execution of sales strategy for our core products, Odyssey and Renzulli Learning.
Tom has nearly two decades of experience delivering profitable business growth across multiple industries. He’s a customer-focused executive with a strong track record of growing revenues and profits through the creation and implementation of customer-focused strategies and processes, and by building and motivating sales teams.
His passion for education, coupled with his drive to win, make him the ideal leader to ensure both our sales team and our customers experience success with Compass Learning.
Tom received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and completed the Executive Program at Emory University, Goizueta Business School.
TAMMY DEAL, Vice President, Human Resources
"My favorite grade school teacher was Mrs. Suzy Red, my 3rd grade honors reading teacher. Her enthusiasm and excitement for reading was contagious, and she had a spectacular way of making reading fun. I wasn’t exposed to reading for pleasure until I met Mrs. Red. She encouraged us to read outside of class through competition. There was a St. Louis Cardinals bag that I had to win, so I kept my head in a book the entire year and I won the bag! I still recall most of the books I read that year and my favorite, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” by Eleanor Coerr, is still part of my personal library."
Tammy Deal was appointed vice president of HR for Compass Learning in August 2013. In this role, she leads the charge in recruiting, team member retention, and corporate culture initiatives.
Most recently, Tammy served as senior director of employee experience at Dachis Group. Prior to Dachis Group she held similar positions at LatinWorks, Achilles Group, and Stock Building Supply, as well as serving as vice president of human resources at Velocity Credit Union. Tammy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications in Human Relations from Texas Christian University.
DR. DAVID B. PALUMBO, Vice President, Professional Services
"Mrs. Margret Emelson, from Uniontown Area Senior High School in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, is by far my most memorable teacher. She taught a variety of classes at UHS, but it was her mentoring outside of the confines of class that challenged me to think with the right side of my brain, and that continues to impact me today. She is one of those exceptional teachers who will always remind me of the power of education to shape creativity, innovation, and success."
David Palumbo joined Compass Learning in the fall of 2013 as vice president of professional services, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, research scholar, academic administrator, entrepreneur, consultant, and corporate executive.
Prior to this role, David worked at National Heritage Academies, a no-cost, public charter school provider, where he was Chief Academic Officer and prior to that, Chief Information Officer. He has also served as CEO of electronic book distributor WOWIO, and president of testing systems publisher CTB/McGraw Hill. Additionally, David spent nearly a decade as a tenured faculty member in the Instructional Technology program at The University of Houston – Clear Lake. During his tenure he was named an American Council on Education Fellow.
Here at Compass Learning, David heads our efforts to deliver professional development and implementation services that empower K-12 educators to leverage Compass Learning content and technology to make a positive and lasting impact on student growth and success.
David earned both his Ed.D. in Educational Psychology/Instructional Technology and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from West Virginia University. He earned a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Michigan.
LYNELLE MORGENTHALER, Vice President, Content Development
"For the most part, I sailed through school getting good grades without ever challenging myself. But in sophomore Honors English class, Mrs. Gowlett lit me on fire through an individual year-long author study, which culminated in a paper and multi-media presentation. I focused on J.R.R. Tolkien and made an 8mm allegorical movie with a borrowed camera and my friends as actors. I still have the film (silent with separate sound track!). That was the first time I put my whole self into an assignment. Mrs. Gowlett taught me the value of igniting passion in students!"
CHIPP WALTERS, Vice President, Engineering
"The very first project in Armand Cooke's design studio class was a two-week assignment for everyone to design a machine that could shell a hard-boiled egg. We all took to it with great gusto! We created tumblers, which tossed the eggs around in belt-driven dryer-like contraptions. And there were guillotine versions, which collapsed and hammered the egg with dull blades until the shell hopefully began to peel off. And there were mouse traps and flip floppers. All of them were appointed with the latest in design and color theory, and were ready to go on the day of the product design critique. Armand brought in a big bowl of hard-boiled eggs. One by one we each placed an egg into our fantastic inventions. One by one each failed miserably. Our approach was clearly not the right one. Damn. Next Armand brought in another bowl of hard-boiled eggs. And to everyone's surprise, each contraption cleverly and successfully peeled the egg. Wow! It turns out very fresh eggs when hard-boiled are most difficult to peel. Whereas, with older eggs, the opposite is true – the shell virtually falls right off. Not lost on us was the simple fact it wasn't the design of the machine, but rather the preparation of the egg. Armand's teachings were quite brilliant that way."
Chipp Walters was appointed Vice President of Engineering of Compass Learning in January 2014. He brings more than 20 years of interface design and software development to Compass Learning, as well as relevant experience in the education sector.
Prior to joining Compass Learning, Chipp was the Senior Vice President and General Manager in charge of Agilix’s IdeaWorks Division. IdeaWorks provides design, interface and software development services to ensure a smooth, clean user experience for customers on the Agilix platform. Additionally, Chipp has helped design and create numerous Learning Management Systems (LMSes) and Personalized Learning Systems (PLS) including the acclaimed EAA Buzz PLS in Detroit.
Chipp’s resume also includes executive-level co-founder roles at ThePort, Human Code (a multi-national company developing custom interactive experiences for e-learning and other industries) and Design Edge (an award-winning product design firm). He is the recipient of numerous industry awards in both interactive media and product design, including being named one of International Design Magazine’s Top 40 Innovators.
Chipp has a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University. He graduated with top honors with a Masters in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University.
EILEEN SHIHADEH, Vice President, Marketing
"After completing algebra in middle school, I disliked and was fearful of math. My high school math teacher, Ms. Case, turned my misgiving around to the point that I truly began to enjoy it—so much so that I got a bachelor’s degree in math and continued my math studies in graduate school. Ms. Case was patient, always willing to help, and committed to her students. Her influence over my education and career path is proof positive of the difference one teacher can make."
Eileen Shihadeh joined the Compass Learning executive team as Vice President of Marketing in March 2014. Eileen leverages experience as both an educator and K-12 content developer, entrepreneurial insight, a strong background in technology, and more than a decade of proven marketing leadership. Before bringing her talents to Compass Learning, Eileen served as Vice President of Marketing for BARBRI, a market leader in legal education. Prior to BARBRI, she was Vice President of Global Marketing for eInstruction, an education technology company providing interactive teaching and learning solutions for K-12 educators and students. In addition, Eileen spent seven years in marketing leadership roles at Texas Instruments’ Education Division, and prior to that, at Harcourt. Eileen received her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and continued her education with graduate studies in mathematics at Texas State University and in business at Texas Women’s University. Eileen brings her rich background in K-12 education and her passion for supporting educators to bear in guiding her staff to grow the Compass Learning brand and enhance its position as a market leader.