About Us

Our Story

In 2008, as educators in Michigan, we were frustrated with the one-size-fits-all approach to education. It was working for some young people but was frustrating and demotivating for others. Some students learn faster or slower than others. Many learn better by doing rather than just listening and reading. Students were disengaged, dropping out, or not able to graduate on time. The education gap was widening and we wanted to do something about it.

A body of research supported project-based learning, where students researched, solved real-world problems, and explored topics interesting to them. We decided to open a school to combine project-based learning with standards-based grading, blended learning, and online learning.

We began to build our own projects and learning platform to support our school. Students needed a way to find projects to do. They needed a way to organize their work and keep track of their progress. They needed a way to communicate and collaborate with teachers and other students. In short – they needed a system.

That's where HERO came in. In 2011, we started having other schools interested in using our curriculum and learning platform. We have grown along the way and continue to focus on how to best support young people in the pursuit of their learning.


Our Team

Amanda Coughlin


Beverly Henry


Jennifer Tomanek


Joe Bradley

Social Studies & ICT

Jason Williams

Social Studies

Jay Zalawadia

Software Developer

Jeff Sanford

Social Studies

John Martini

Math, Phys. Ed.

Juliette Abbott

Theatre, Visual Arts

Kathryn Haske


Kerin Stover


Lea Arend

ICT, Social Studies

Maggie Gistinger

Social Studies

Megan Thompson


Nancy Hoorn


Randi Watts


Sara Millward


Stacy Long

Social Studies

Tina Donze

Theatre, Music

William Ballard

Health, Phys. Ed.

Tracy Dryer

ELA & Psychology

Stephanie Current

Visual Arts