Adam Geller, Edthena, One to Watch January 2012
by Julia Paulus
Adam Geller was very satisfied in his role on Teach For America’s national strategy team. Still, when he stumbled upon an email blast about a search for applicants for Kauffman Labs’ Education Ventures fellowship, he couldn’t help but think about what he would do if he applied.
With a background as a classroom teacher and experience volunteering with organizations dedicated to connecting teachers for support, Geller took only two weeks to develop his idea. He wanted to change the way coaching was delivered to teachers through technology. “I talked through my idea with different folks and accepted the fellowship so that I could learn how to start a business and more about educational opportunities,” he says.
By the end of the fellowship in June 2011, Geller had determined the name of his business, Edthena; formed an advisory board; and, most important, actualized his idea. “Through Edthena, teachers are able to upload videos of themselves in the classroom, share the videos and get feedback,” says Geller. “Ultimately we are trying to ensure teachers have access to the best coaching possible – anywhere, anytime, with anyone. So if there is a chemistry teacher in rural Missouri, they can connect with a coach in California providing targeted, high-quality feedback.”
Geller has clients including universities and national organizations and a growing following because of Edthena’s focus on empowering teachers. “Our challenge is going to be building a viable, sustainable business in a sector people focus on in a philanthropic way,” says Geller. “There’s an enormous need in education for innovation, and technology will have to play a part. It will take courageous people from the private sector to invest in the same way they do in consumer technology or biotechnology.”
(Photo by Bill Sawalich)