Chicago Educational Publishing Company Team
Rita Ferrandino — CEO/Publisher
Rita Ferrandino offers more than 20 years of experience building strong revenue in the higher education and K-12 markets. She has led the sales, acquisition, alliance and marketing efforts for traditional print, technology, and online products for some of the industry’s largest publishers.
Rita leads the team at Chicago Educational Publishing Company, which is the exclusive publisher and distributor of Science Companion.
Career highlights include selling over $100 million of products to the higher education and K-12 markets, leading the acquisition effort for more than 50 titles, and forming revenue-producing alliances with over a dozen of the industry’s largest publishers and distributors. Rita has been responsible for double-digit sales growth for at least four years at two different major publishers.
Most recently, Rita was a Senior Partner at KnowledgeQuest Education Group where she worked with clients including WebCT, Carnegie Learning, Education Publishing Services, and W.H. Freeman Publishers. Earlier, she was responsible for all aspects of marketing and sales at Technotects, a technology consulting firm that provided e-business solutions to the publishing industry. Before her technology consulting experience, she held roles at Thompson Publishing and Addison Wesley Longman Publishing, a Pearson Education company.
Rita also works to shape government policies and decision making at the federal, state and local level. As the Executive Director of the Elementary Science Coalition, Rita is building federal support for elementary science education. In 2007, she was elected by unanimous consent as Chairman of the Sarasota Democratic Party. She was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and was highlighted as a chosen delegate in a video profile in The New York Times. The Tampa media named Rita Ferrandino as one of “8 in 2008 to Watch,” and she was honored as the cover story in February 2009, West Coast Woman Newspaper.
Rita has an MBA and a BS in business management from Pennsylvania State University.
Colleen’s career started in early computer-based education (WICAT Systems elementary math writer, Microsoft user education team leader, and Animal Planet multimedia developer) before moving to classroom-based elementary education. She has worked with Science Companion since its inception, and loves to see children at work in collaborative science exploration. She received her Bachelors degree in history from Brigham Young University and a Teacher Certification for elementary education from Pacific Oaks College.
Belinda’s focus areas include curriculum development, technical writing, evaluation, and youth development. She began her career in the classroom and then expanded her knowledge of science education as an educational researcher at Harvard’s Project Zero. During her time at Harvard, she explored the complex causal models underlying specific science concepts and misconceptions. She has worked with Science Companion since 2001, as a lead author of several modules, and currently manages the tactical operations of the company. Given her deep understanding of the curriculum, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with customers to meet their needs as they implement Science Companion in their classrooms.
In addition to this work, Belinda has also developed science and history/social science curriculum for California’s Education and the Environment Initiative. She has been a key consultant in the development of a variety of prevention briefs and technical papers for the California Governor’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program. She authored a website on preventing underage binge drinking and has developed online curriculum on a variety of prevention topics.
Belinda received Bachelor’s degrees in biology and education from Penn State University and her Masters degree in education from Harvard University.
Anthony DiSpezio — Digital Product Consultant
Anthony is a web and new media developer with over 10 years of experience designing educational courses and digital learning tools. He has led design teams for global organizations including the National Geographic Society and the American Chemical Society. For the past 2 years, Anthony served as Digital Publishing Director for Cape Cod Life Publications, assisting their team in developing a digital magazine for smart phones and tablet devices.
Anthony received Bachelors degrees in Interactive Design and Sound Engineering from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Leigh has served in management and consulting capacities for over fifteen years for over 70 nonprofit and corporate clients in visioning, strategic planning, consortium building, public relations, marketing, and development.
As an educator, Leigh has served as an artist in residence and taught conflict resolution in public schools and universities around the US, worked with the Annenberg Center for Arts in Education in one of the nation’s first lateral learning training programs with preschool and elementary school teachers, and served as the program director of the University of California Santa Barbara’s MultiCultural Center. She has developed and taught online learning courses in Moodle and Blackboard for an international community of adult learners and is a moderator of two international forums.
She is also a performer and author. Leigh has performed internationally, recorded a vocal/harp compact disc that was on the top-forty folk charts, and created a multi-media stress management system utilized by the University of Northern Illinois as a required text for incoming freshmen.
Leigh has a Bachelor of Philosophy in performance and literature from Penn State University, studied writing by invitation with Nobel Laureate poet Derek Walcott, and has a Ph.D. in Cultural Mythology and Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, with research emphasis on creativity and imagination. She is the Founder and CEO of The Imaginal Insititute, an educational “creativity tank” offering conferences, publishing, and online learning.
Becky Rudolph-Karabatos, MLS. — Assistant Director of Marketing
Becky is an information professional with expertise managing both print and digital media. She has experience in identifying resource needs, implementing and improving processes, and reducing the negative impact of change on an organization. Becky delights in bringing order to chaos and making sense of nonsense. She has a BA from Penn State and an MLS from Simmons College in Boston, MA.
Dianna Ray — Database Director
Pam Wall — Senior Accountant