Kate Eberle Walker is the CEO of PresenceLearning, the leading provider of online special education therapy services for K-12 schools. Kate has more than 20 years of experience leading, advising, acquiring and investing in education companies. She was CEO of The Princeton Review, a leading provider of test prep, admission and tutoring services, including online on-demand tutoring under the Tutor.com brand. Previously, she managed strategy and investments for Kaplan, Inc., a large and diversified global education company.
Throughout her career, she has actively supported early stage EdTech companies and non-profit education initiatives. With years of executive leadership and experience, she has prioritized female mentorship and leadership within companies and her broader network. Her passion for career development for talented women is what brought her to PresenceLearning, where among its network of nearly 1,000 licensed clinicians, 97% are women and 75% are working parents.
Kate received her MBA from Harvard Business School, and her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband Chris and their two daughters.
PresenceLearning is the leading provider of live online therapy and evaluation services for students with special education needs. We have a large national network of nearly 1,000 speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and school psychologists who deliver services through our award winning, proprietary teletherapy platform. We contract with schools to provide the services required under every student’s IEP, ensuring that the schools are in compliance with IDEA and that their students get access to the services they need to benefit from their public education. Nationwide, schools struggle to hire a sufficient staff of therapists onsite, and they turn to us at PresenceLearning to help them serve all students, including when they are unable to hire all needed specialties on the ground. We were the first to offer teletherapy in schools, and now, ten years later, we have delivered more than 2 million therapy sessions and continue to expand our services to more states and districts.
One great thing about our public education system is that it operates under a clear mandate from IDEA, which serves to “ensure that all students with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education.” But despite that mandate, there is a gap between intention and reality: every student with an IEP must receive their special education related services, yet not every student actually does. This is where PresenceLearning comes in. We help schools provide these services via our teletherapy platform when, despite best efforts, schools are often not able to arrange for all of the appropriate expert clinicians to deliver these services onsite. Our clinicians provide therapy directly to students, ensuring that schools can provide services to every student who needs support.
PresenceLearning uses technology to connect students to the experts they need to be successful in school. Teletherapy gives them access to clinicians with the credentials, experience and specialization required to ensure that students with special needs receive therapy, and that it’s delivered by the right clinical expert. By connecting remotely for therapy services, we can give students access to clinical resources far beyond what they might be able to receive onsite within the geographic limitations of their district.
Communities today expect a lot more from schools than simply an education. We expect our schools to keep our children safe, in all senses of the word. Physically safe and secure on school premises. Prepared to handle dangerous situations. But also, emotionally safe. The mental health and well being of students has become an urgent area of focus in education. Without mental health and social-emotional skills, kids can’t learn and develop, and we increasingly view not only parents, but schools, as having direct responsibility for this. We see this trend in our business at PresenceLearning, where more of our school partners are asking for school psychology services not only to serve their special needs students, but also to monitor and support the mental health of their entire student population.
School-based special education administrators and therapists have really challenging and stressful jobs. They are pulled in a million different directions and often have to handle a high volume of needs without enough time to give each student the individual attention that they would like to. When therapists with school-based experience transition to our telehealth platform, their work is re-energized. They tell us that they have more time to spend directly on therapy and planning when they eliminate the other elements of their jobs, such as commuting, driving from campus to campus, and handling administrative duties. They also find new ways to forge connections with their students in an online environment, and are excited to be innovating in their field.