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Influenced by Design: Leaders Who Have Shaped Our Vision for Education

Author: Guest | Blog |

It’s widely known that Otus is a company founded by educators and driven to simplify educational technology. We accomplish this by helping teachers assemble a holistic display of student interest, engagement, performance, and growth. We are proud of the platform we’re building, but we’ll be the first to acknowledge that Otus is only as effective as the educators using it every day. 

Our work has been influenced by several people. There are six people in specific who’ve played a significant role in shaping our views and efforts. They each support K-12 school systems who are transitioning from traditional grading to standards-based grading.    

Tom Guskey

Tom’s work is dedicated to helping teachers and school leaders use quality educational research to help all of their students learn well. Above all, he wants students to gain the many valuable benefits of that success. To learn more about Dr. Guskey’s work, visit or follow him on Twitter @tguskey.

Lee Ann Jung, PhD

Lee Ann Jung, PhD, is Founder of Lead Inclusion, Clinical Professor at San Diego State University, and a consultant to schools worldwide. She provides support to schools in many area. In specific, the area of inclusion, standards-based learning, and grading, designing individualized goals and interdisciplinary supports, and measuring progress. She can be reached at and or find her on Twitter @leeannjung.

Lisa Westman

Lisa is an author, speaker, and consultant who provides customizable learning opportunities. She also provides professional development services for K-12 educators nationwide and internationally.

Her presentations typically focus on differentiation, instructional coaching, and standards-based grading. Most importantly, her approach is to “keep it real” focusing on specific strategies that all educators can implement after our time together. You can contact Lisa here and follow her by subscribing to her blog and/or following her on Twitter @lisa_westman.

Rick Wormeli

He is one of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America. Rick brings innovation, energy, validity and high standards to both his presentations and his instructional practice. His experience includes 39 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history, as well as coaching teachers and principals. He can be contacted or You can find his website at or follow him on Twitter @rickwormeli2.

Matt Townsley

Through conferences, professional development, and workshops, Dr. Matt Townsley has consulted with thousands of teachers and administrators across the country. These meetings focus on the topics of assessment and standards-based grading.  In addition, Mr. Townsley was named Iowa’s Central Office Administrator of the year in 2017. In 2014, he was recognized as an ASCD Emerging Leader.

You can find Matt’s blog here or follow him on Twitter.

Douglas Reeves

Douglas Reeves is the founder of Creative Leadership Solutions, a non-profit with the mission to improve educational opportunities for students throughout the world using creative solutions for leadership, policy, teaching, and learning. Dr. Reeves is also the founder of,, and has created a non-profit called, which helps doctoral students finish their dissertations via phone, Skype, or personal conferences.

Educators Like You

Overall, our work has been influenced by the countless conversations we routinely have with educators. Their dedication to improving the lives of students is an inspiration for all of us at Otus. Thank you.

The Surest Path to Success

These people have cemented our belief that for any education initiative to be successful, we must first establish a unified vision based upon the answers to the following three questions.

  • What are we doing?
  • Why are we doing it?
  • What does that look like?

When these pieces are in place, Otus amplifies the ability to successfully implement standards-based learning, grading, and reporting. We encourage you to refer to their work whether your just getting started or are well on your way to challenging the conventional belief about grading practices.

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