About Us


We empower educators to bring innovative practices to their classrooms to motivate, challenge, and inspire the diverse learners and leaders of the future.

We’ve brought together some of the most talented and experienced professionals with extensive backgrounds in the educational and corporate spheres with the goal of improving education in our communities. Our state-of-the-art facility serves as an instructional space as well as a laboratory for exploration and learning.

Over 25,000 teachers and countless students have benefitted from KCI programs.

Our Mission

To advance leadership and transform teaching by providing innovative professional learning that inspires students to be lifelong learners.

FAME Teachers ISSD Project
We Innovate

Discovering new ways to capture the imagination of students and increase their engagement and creativity is critical for a successful educational experience.

MERIT Program group
We Educate

Introducing teachers and students to new technology and cutting-edge curriculum helps prepare students to meet the challenges of an ever-changing global economy.

MERIT Program
We Empower

Professional learning at KCI is not limited to acquiring new skills and technology. It includes building the confidence and gaining the inspiration to transform one’s teaching practices.

Our Team

The KCI has brought together some of the most talented and experienced professionals with extensive backgrounds in the educational and corporate spheres with the goal of improving education in our communities.

  • Aaron Korngiebel

    Aaron Korngiebel

    Division Dean
  • Dan'l Lewin

    Dan'l Lewin

    President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Kristina Whalen

    Kristina Whalen

  • Lee Lambert

    Lee Lambert

    Chancellor and CEO
    Lee Lambert is a visionary leader who has served as a senior-level executive for over 22 years at three community college districts. He is currently leading the Pima district's transformation into Centers of Excellence in applied technology, health care, hospitality, information technology & cybersecurity, public safety, and the arts. He is a dynamic advocate for diversity, equity & inclusion, student success, and community engagement. Lee also believes and invests in employee professional development and growth to better serve students and the community. To name a few of Lee’s many achievements and recognitions, he was the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) awarded him with the Marie Y. Martin CEO of the Year Award, and the National Guard and Reserves of the U.S. named him a Patriotic Employer.  Earlier this year, Lee was named Tucson Man of the Year. He currently serves on several committees and boards to include the Advisory Committee of Presidents for ACCT, the National Association of Workforce Boards' executive committee, and is a former Board member for the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition to his published writings, Lee is an international and nationally recognized speaker on the future of work and learning. Lee holds a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from The Evergreen State College. Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, grew up on three continents, and served in the U.S Army. Lee enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves to explore new places.
  • Erica Barrueto

    Erica Barrueto

  • Christina Espinosa-Pieb

    Christina Espinosa-Pieb

    Interim President
  • Gay Krause

    Gay Krause

    Executive Director
    Room 4003
    650-949-7113 phone
    650-949-7190 fax
    Executive director, Gay Krause, founded the KCI in July 1998. Gay was responsible for developing and implementing the initial vision to serve K-14 educators in professional development activities. She also led the effort to restore the former Space Science Museum into a fully equipped technology facility to serve K-14 educators, Foothill students, and the community. The KCI is available for professional development activities 24/7 both in-house and on-line throughout the state of California. Prior to July 1998, Gay was a principal of both elementary and middle schools in the Mountain View Whisman School District. Gay served as teacher, middle school counselor, assistant principal and principal for 10 years. Gay received her B.S. degree from The Pennsylvania State University in education and special education, her M.S. degree from the University of Virginia in counseling psychology, and a credential in administrative leadership from San Jose State University and San Francisco University.
  • Marisa Spatafore

    Marisa Spatafore

    AVP, Communications & External Relations
  • Jen Gibson

    Jen Gibson

    Director of Strategy & Marketing
    805-264-3642 phone
    In 2023, Jen embarked on her new journey with the KCI team as the Director of Strategy & Marketing. Her primary focus is to enhance the organization's narrative and expand its reach throughout California and beyond. With a passion for education and a solid foundation in business and marketing, she looks to contribute the mission of the KCI. Her pre-KCI career saw her as an education consultant, where she not only served the KCI but also worked with various non-profits and edtech firms. Her consultancy roles involved advising on educational strategies, digital badging, business development, adult education, and content marketing strategies. Jen's professional journey started in the public affairs sector, where she worked in marketing for the Orange County Register Newspaper immediately following her college graduation. Her passion for education led her back to academia, where she earned a teaching credential and a master's degree in education. Jen dedicated 17 years to public education, taking on roles such as a teacher, adjunct faculty member at Chapman University, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), and curriculum coordinator. Her career then transitioned into the edtech sphere, where she held executive positions at Lesson Planet and ABC-Clio. Jen's academic credentials include a B.A. in International Politics from Cal Poly Humboldt, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chapman University, an M.S. in Education from Grand Canyon University, and a Business Certificate in Marketing from UCLA.
  • Kas Periera

    Kas Periera

    Teacher in Residence
    Room 4016
    650-949-7319 phone
    Kas is the current Teacher in Residence at the KCI. She is in charge of curriculum development, course management, and instruction. She is also the Director of the KCI’s Makerspace and Makerspace programs. Kas has long been a KCI affiliate, being a 2012 MERIT Fellow, the miniMERIT Program Director for several years, and a guest instructor in many programs. Most recently, she has been an adjunct faculty member for Foothill and a Lead Maker in the KCI’s Makerspace before stepping into her current role. Kas comes to the KCI from a background of sixteen years teaching high school, the last twelve in the East Side Union High School District in San Jose. As a teacher of Film, Media, and English, she has run the Yearbook along with a daily broadcast television show for several years. Kas has also served as the WASC Coordinator, the Professional Development Coordinator, and a Department Chair at her school site. Most recently, she was one of the co-founders and the Director of the Quicksilver Innovation Program (QuIP), a small learning community for freshmen and sophomores that focuses on cross-curricular and project-based learning. Kas has a B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz, an M.A. in Educational Best Practices and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University, as well as an administrative credential, and a single subject teaching credential in English with a supplementary authorization in Graphic Arts.
  • Justin Sewell

    Justin Sewell

    Director of Partnerships & Programs
    Room 4015
    650-949-7010 phone
    Justin Sewell has joined KCI as the Director of Partnerships & Programs. He graduated from Salisbury University with a B.S. degree in Molecular Biology and he received an M.S. degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. After working in a DNA diagnostics laboratory, Justin transitioned to education. He student taught in Vermont and then spent the majority of his teaching career in Baltimore County where he taught Chemistry and Biology and held a department chair position at two high schools. He brought his passion for technology, science, and education to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation where he was responsible for a variety of projects including the development of a middle school computer science course, observing and writing an ethnographic study on 7th grade math edtech products, and working with other nonprofits, companies, districts, and government offices to improve STEM education in the Bay Area.
  • Lisa Tannert

    Lisa Tannert

    Administrative Assistant
    Lisa joined the KCI Team in 2023 as the Administrative Assistant. She oversees day-to-day operations and supports programs, workshops, participants, and the team. She is a published writer with years of administrative, accounting, and teaching experience. Lisa has a BS in Education from SUNY Plattsburgh and has taught in NY, AZ, and CA, most recently in the Cupertino Union School District, where she’s worked as a substitute teacher for many years.
  • Simon Pennington

    Simon Pennington

    Marketing and Communications

Serving K-14 Educators Since 2000

Over 25,000 teachers have taken KCI courses and programs. It has built a reputation on intensive summer institutes for educators, as well as the courses it provides throughout the year. The KCI has consistently focused on building innovative courses and programs and on evaluating and improving its methodologies.

The KCI’s other key focus has been on partnering with education-oriented nonprofits and foundations to serve the educator segment. Based on this experience and success, the KCI is uniquely positioned to address many of the critical issues facing education and workforce development.