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Customer Success Stories

Learn how districts across the U.S. use SchoolStatus to strengthen school communities, reduce student absenteeism, and empower educators with outcome-driven tools.

Education Experts. And Expert Speakers.

Whether you need a presenter, a quote, or an expert opinion on the educational landscape, our team can help.

Smiling man in a black shirt.
Russ Davis
Founder & CEO

Russ Davis has spent the past three decades engaged in the project of improving the public education system. Coming from a family of educators, Russ was inspired to enter the education field from a young age. At 19, Russ became the then-youngest school district Chief Information Officer in his home state of Mississippi. In his later work in both public and private sectors, he gained a clear view of the challenges and opportunities facing school districts. He left public service in 2010 to build the team and products that would eventually become SchoolStatus. Russ champions trust, innovation and expertise, and has captained a thriving company that embodies its values through the products and services it creates.

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Jason DeRoner
Chief Product Officer

Jason Deroner, formerly the co-founder and CEO of TeachBoost, now leads SchoolStatus’ orchestration of product vision, strategy, and execution as Chief Product Officer. His early days at TeachBoost instilled a crucial understanding of how to align ideas with user requirements. Jason helps solve substantial problems and advocates for solutions that directly benefit students and educators, emphasizing the value of building relationships and fostering serendipitous insights. Beyond work, Jason finds joy in all hobbies: building anything with his young son, creating tech projects like a Raspberry Pi subway/weather tracker, and exploring diverse cooking techniques.

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Dr. Kara Stern
Director, Education and Engagement, SchoolStatus

When she was in 2nd grade, Dr. Kara Stern decided she wanted to be a teacher. Her commitment to education never waivered. With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Stern began her career as a high school English teacher, later becoming a middle school principal, Executive Director of Math for America, and education content strategist for EdTech marketing teams. A writer and contributor to many publications, Dr. Stern is an education thought leader, creating K-12 resources for teachers and principals. She was a Klingenstein Fellow and earned a Ph.D. in Teaching & Learning from NYU. Dr. Stern brings her knowledge and advocacy for consistent, data-driven school communications to SchoolStatus. Outside academia, Dr. Stern indulges her love for reading, devouring two novels weekly, with a particular fondness for heists and spy stories.

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Leslie Ortego
VP Customer Success

Leslie Ortego has been a valuable part of SchoolStatus since its beginning. An expert in customer success, Leslie helps to ensure our customers achieve the best possible value from our solutions. Inspired by her mother’s 25-year career as an educator, Leslie sees education as society’s backbone, necessitating continuous adaptation. In her interactions with her colleagues, customers, or family, Leslie is driven to be the best possible version of herself and be a representative of that moxie for the company. Outside work, her dynamic pursuits include running, cycling, yoga, LEGO building, and cleaning, all accompanied by Taylor Swift’s music.

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Grace Spencer
Product Manager, SchoolStatus

Grace Spencer is a passionate attendance expert who helped build School Innovations & Achievement (SI&A) over 25 years, including the Attention2Attendance (A2A) product. As VP of Product Management for SchoolStatus Attend, Grace leverages her depth of experience and belief in the value of education for all children to inform product development and expansion. Grace has worked in partnership with districts and has seen the crucial link between student achievement and attendance. As a parent, she values the role of education and advocates for increased family involvement and equitable communications for all.

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Headshot of Joy Smithson.
Dr. Joy Smithson
Data Scientist, SchoolStatus

Dr. Joy Smithson is a Data Scientist at SchoolStatus, where she works with districts all over the country to help educators use data to inform decisions and support student success. Dr. Smithson sees her role as a dual mission: understanding educators’ pressing research questions, and translating vast datasets into actionable insights to address those queries. Dr. Smithson leverages her expertise in analyzing, interpreting, summarizing, visualizing, and wrangling data to support educators and create better outcomes for students.

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Media Resources

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