It is the compelling vision of the Executive team to be a leader and innovator in virtual and hybrid learning.
By providing an agile approach to high-quality digital learning solutions and fully managed educational services, StrongMind strives to elevate student performance and optimize school operations, so that students, teachers, and administrators are successful, and as partners we can thrive together.
The StrongMind team includes experts in traditional, virtual and blended education, as well as technology, school operations, business development and implementation. With years of collective business and education experience and leadership, StrongMind is well-prepared to deliver impactful and innovative solutions that result in the most engaging and extraordinary learning experience.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
A proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Damian Creamer leads a growing team of 500+ professionals at StrongMind with the same commitment to community, team, and service demonstrated in the Marines, to ensure all students have access to a quality education. After founding Primavera Online High School in 2001, he realized that existing technology was not delivering the content students deserved, so he founded StrongMind to be a digital solutions provider for Primavera. Through collaboration and innovation, Primavera is now the largest high school in Arizona, serving over 26,000 students annually, and one of the most successful online schools in the country. Under his visionary leadership, StrongMind has evolved beyond its award-winning digital curriculum to becoming a trusted partner in virtual and hybrid learning – providing services from student enrollment and recruitment to turn-key operations solutions.
A trailblazer in online education, Creamer continuously pushes the boundaries of curriculum, technology and instruction to empower students with a high-caliber education.
Damian serves on the Seal Future Foundation’s Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring SEALs a successful personal, and professional, transition to civilian life that includes job searches, placement, mentoring and mental health, wellness, and family well-being. He is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), local and International. Founded in 1950 with over 28,000 members, YPO is the premier leadership organization of CEOs around the globe.
In 2012, Damian received the Innovator Award from the Aurora Institute (formerly iNacol), for Outstanding Contribution to K-12 Online Learning and two Certificates of Congressional Recognition for leadership and innovation in online education. He was named a 2017 Finalist for the ‘Visionary’ Leadership Award from EdTech Digest.
- B.A. in Spanish from Brigham Young University
- MBA in International Business from Thunderbird International School
- Owner/President Management Program from Harvard Business School
With over 15 years of experience working in the industry, Mary Gifford brings a high level of expertise and passion for elevating the student experience to StrongMind. As President, she oversees day-to-day functions and serves as the chairman of the board. Prior to joining StrongMind in January 2019, Mary was the Senior Vice President for Academic Policy and External Relations at K12 Inc. Mary also served as the Leadership Development Director at Mackinac Center for Public Policy and worked as the Education Policy Director at the Goldwater Institute for more than a decade.
Mary serves on the board of directors for the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, and EdKey, a nonprofit charter management organization that oversees 17 schools throughout Arizona. Mary served on the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools for 11 years as an appointee of both the governor and the state superintendent of public instruction and the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.
- B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Arizona State University
- M.S. in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Mike Bovich is a hands-on technologist, with over 20 years’ experience. His love affair with coding began at age 5 when his father brought home a Vic 20, and continued to grow over the years as he earned his BS in Computer Science and spent time working for some of the biggest names in technology, including Intel, Amazon, and GoDaddy. Mike has developed products of all sizes, ranging from new launches with hundreds of users to large scale e-commerce applications handling billons of transactions per day. He is passionate about building empowered teams that embrace the idea of continuous learning and improvement. While not officially an educator himself, Mike is married to an elementary school teacher and volunteers often with Junior Achievement of Arizona. He is a proud dance dad and has been known to rock a tutu when the situation calls for it.
- B.S. in Computer Science from Case Western University
- Non-Degree studies from Arizona State University
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
With a passion for education and a strong desire to improve access for all students, Allan Alvarado serves as the Chief Financial Officer for StrongMind. Allan has worked in Educational Finance since 2001 and was the CFO for UMOM New Day Centers before joining StrongMind in 2019. Previously, Allan has worked for Honeywell Aerospace, Valley Christian Schools, and K12 Inc. He has also served on numerous school boards and finance committees. Allan’s extensive experience in for-profit and nonprofit corporate management enables him to effectively collaborate with teams at StrongMind and support the mission of fostering student success.
- B.S. in Finance from Arizona State University
- MBA in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix
Yovhane Metcalfe, Ph.D.
CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER
A former Adult ESL teacher and Gate Millennium Scholarship Fellow, Yovhane Metcalfe oversees the research and development of the award-winning online curriculum and solutions at StrongMind. Prior to joining StrongMind in 2017, Yovhane served as a K-12 Policy Director at the Foundation for Excellence in Education and as a peer reviewer of ESSA state plans with the U.S. Department of Education. Before this, Yovhane rated over 2,000 district and charters schools annually and developed the first school accountability model for online schools as the Arizona Department of Education’s Chief Accountability Officer.
- B.A. in Political Science and Journalism
- M.Ed. in Adult Education
- Ph.D. Evaluation and Research from Virginia Commonwealth University
Seth McKinzie, M.Ed.
V.P. OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Seth began his career in education in 2005 as a middle school English Language Arts teacher. Over the course of the next eight years, he taught social studies and remedial writing and served as a football, baseball, and basketball coach. In 2012, Seth began working with K12 Inc on the Business Development team and launched new online and blended schools in Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and expanded existing programs in several other states. Seth is dedicated to working every day to expand educational opportunities for students across the country through innovative design, meaningful relationships, and genuine conversation.
- BA in Communications from Northeastern State University
- M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University
V.P. OF EDUCATIONAL SCHOOL SERVICES (ESS)
Determined to ensure all students reach their potential, Tamara Becker leads the Educational School Services team at StrongMind, working to support fully managed partners in all aspects of the educational process from operations and compliance to academic excellence. In addition, she is currently the Superintendent of Primavera Online School, the fifth largest online school in the country. She has been in the Education field for 22 years, specializing in Special Ed and Mathematics. Tamara has worked with traditional and online schools and has supported schools that serve students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as a school serving the homeless and at-risk student population.
- B.Ed. in Elementary Education and Teaching from the College of St. Rose
- M.Ed. in Reading and Special Education from Sage Graduate School
V.P. OF MARKETING
Creative and results driven, Todd Rash has nearly 30 years of experience in driving growth, innovation, and revenue. Todd leads the marketing teams with StrongMind and FlipSwitch, specializing in developing strategic initiatives, building high performance teams, and steering marketing and operational excellence. Prior to joining StrongMind, Todd worked as the Vice President of Marketing and Advertising at Anthem Education Group for 10 years. He also served as the Creative Director for various institutions such as KnowledgeNet, The Martz Agency, and MicroAge. He is committed to supporting the mission at StrongMind and helping schools thrive.
- BFA in Advertising & Graphic Design from Ball State University
V.P. OF PEOPLE SOLUTIONS
With over 30 years of experience in human resources and people solutions, Christina is an expert at planning, coordinating, and directing the administrative functions of multiple organizations. In the past, she has worked as Director of Human Resources at Robb & Stucky, EXOS, IRPO, and Primavera Online High School. At each of these organizations, Christina has built strong relationships with staff, supported talent acquisition, conducted analyses of and improved HR functions, and served as a positive link between employees and leadership teams.
- BBA in Business from St. Norbert College
SENIOR V.P. OF PARTNER SOLUTIONS & SERVICES
With more than 12 years of experience in K-12 online and hybrid learning, Lydia is an operational specialist turned educator who is passionate about supporting academic excellence. She relishes any opportunity to engage with school leaders and share best practices for improving academic achievement. Proudly leading Partner Solutions and Services, Lydia and her team are responsible for implementing and supporting online and hybrid solutions for schools and districts across the country. A military spouse for more than 25 wonderful years, Lydia has served on numerous boards and committees as a leader and advocate for military families.
- B.A. in Communication Studies from Regis University
- M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix
- MBA from the University of Phoenix
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
A 5th generation educator who has worked tirelessly to support student and teacher success for over 30 years, Jen is, first and foremost, a learner who loves nothing more than digging into and overcoming complex challenges. Jen has previously served as a tutor, teacher, consultant, curriculum developer, and trainer. Her experience in leadership began as Director of Product Management and Vice President of Curriculum Development. Now, as Executive Director of Product Management, she ideates and problem-solves alongside several StrongMind teams dedicated to creating innovative solutions that foster student, teacher, and school success. On the personal side, Jen proudly holds the titles of wife, mom, and family IT helpdesk support specialist.
- B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education from Ohio University