Saturday Stories: Behind the Cube

Your Weekend Reads in Education

For the past few months, we’ve been taking you behind the scenes of our offices with employee highlights in our “Behind the Cube” series. Our logo is a cube (evolved from a flat square as we transitioned from traditional publisher to learning science company), and we feel that the individuals that have taken you “Behind the Cube” in the past months really embody our mission and vision.

So far, we’ve highlighted academic designers, product managers, marketers, sales representatives, and graphic designers. Many of our team members have a background in education, and for those we’ve interviewed far, that experience as a teacher is a crucial driver in the work they do today. While their roles vary and their daily routines differ, their passion for making learning accessible and meaningful for every child makes each of our team members remarkably similar.

For this issue of Saturday Stories, we wanted to put together a round-up of some of the “Behind the Cube” employee highlights we’ve published thus far. If you’ve enjoyed this series and have questions for any of the people profiled in this post, feel free to leave your question in the comments. Also post if you’d like to request to see a certain job title or department represented in the series next year.

Happy reading! Click on the image of each employee to read their full Behind the Cube story.


#1: Christopher Wells, 6–12 Math and Science

“One of the things I really like about working with MHE is the opportunity to improve education. Whether it is middle school math or high school science, there is always so much to learn. As a scientist, I am fascinated by the variety and depth of topics we offer in our curriculum. I have been very lucky to work with a great team and also to work on some unique projects around the world.” — Christopher Wells

#2: Adam Gray, School Group Designer

“I’m passionate about my work because I’m surrounded by wildly talented coworkers who always put their best efforts into their work, so I’m always just trying to match their intensity.” — Adam Gray

#3: Joe Justus, Senior Media Designer

“I’ve been in educational publishing since 1996 (yes, I’m old) and I have seen it change significantly in ways I never thought possible. Our products are helping kids become the best they can be, and that’s what this is all about, right?! It feels great to be a part of that for so many years.” — Joe Justus

#4: Tim Hodkinson, National Achievement Specialist

“When I think back to my days as an elementary school teacher, I often wonder how some of our programs, like DI, could have been used to close the gap. My colleagues would tell me that I was a “natural” teacher, but I always worked really hard. The kids I worked with were awesome — they showed up despite so many barriers. I felt I owed it to them to give it my all. In my role with McGraw-Hill, I suppose my loyalty to students comes through in my efforts to put the best tools in teachers hands.” — Tim Hodkinson

#5: Anne Haws, Executive Director, Design and Development

“When asked why I am so passionate about the work I do my response is simple. I am passionate about improving student learning, and passionate about being a part of McGraw-Hill’s transition from publishing to learning science.” — Anne Haws

#6: Brenna Gordon, User Experience Researcher

“I always wanted to be a UX Researcher, I just never knew it. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I studied cultural anthropology in college with a strong emphasis on research. I studied mostly how people communicated with each other, especially online, and wanted to use it in a practical way.” — Brenna Gordon

#7: Zoe Gnesda, Marketing Manager

“I taught for ten years and then became an instructional coach and trainer for Sacramento City Unified School District. During my time with the district, I became very interested in curriculum and participated in every instructional materials review and pilot committee that I could. I saw the power that high-quality instructional materials had on my students. And, I noticed that a strong curriculum made me a better, more effective teacher.” — Zoe Gnesda

#8: Mike Shirey, Math Product Manager

“I am a firm believer that consistently providing children with options and control over their own destinies is how we achieve independent thinkers and success. Sometimes the control is seemingly trivial — such as being able to customize an avatar.” — Mike Shirey

#9: Wendy Vincent, Senior Product Manager, PreK-5 Math

“When coworkers ask me how I’m doing, I like to answer, “Inspired!” How could I not be? I get to come to the office each day with a goal of serving students and teachers. I believe that the importance of a quality education in the life of a child is immeasurable and I am honored to play a role in that process.” — Wendy Vincent

Find more Behind the Cube by following our Series (available on Medium’s mobile app only) or past posts here.

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