Gigi Carunungan, co-Founder and Chief Learning Architect

Learning is life in action and mind in construction. If learning is frustrating, then students will not be motivated and resist learning. If the experience is fulfilling, then students will be excited to learn and grow passions towards their future careers.

In the past ten years I have been involved in founding and growing three progressive schools in the Bay Area—Synapse School, Imagination School, and Spark Charter. The successes of these schools inspired the founding of Young Outliers. Through these next generation learning environments, students have been transformed from passive, bored, and apathetic students to enthusiastic learners. They discover multiple ways of learning and experience daily fulfillment and enjoyment in how and what they learn. More importantly, these children have grown to value education because they witness the connections made to their everyday lives and how they have the daily opportunity to contribute in making a better world.  

I designed the Helical Model, a learning framework, inspired by a course for K-12 teachers, which I taught at the Digital Media Academy at Stanford. Influenced by neuroscience and how humans learn, the model provides teachers with a learning design that intuitively and creatively engages students in active learning, deeper understanding, and in cultivating their passions. My experiences as multimedia and education entrepreneur, theater artist, and digital media in learning connect with theories of connecting with learning styles, multiple intelligences, and Constructivist philosophy.


Steve Hsia, co-Founder and CEO

The Silicon Valley offers the world an energetic culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. This inspiring sense of building businesses to change the world is very different from traditional school experiences that breed conformity, fear and powerlessness. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are deemed as outliers because they are out-of-the-box thinkers, risk takers, and value creators.

As a parent, entrepreneur, business leader, and angel investor, Steve is no stranger to the Silicon Valley culture of innovation. For the past three years, Steve spent most of his days being actively involved in his children’s education, which revealed to him certain gaps in what was being taught in the classroom and what skills they would need to succeed.

Research has shown that there is no direct correlation between high test scores and career success. Steve firmly believes in the value of Young Outliers in preparing students for their future careers. He believes that passion, self-discipline, commitment, intellectual curiosity and hard work are what matters most for lifelong success and happiness.

Steve’s position on education stems from his three decades of business experiences and leadership. Prior to Young Outliers, he was a serial entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and CEO of AGENDA, one of the largest digital marketing agencies in Asia with presence throughout Asia-Pacific. AGENDA was an early adopter of innovative Internet technologies with advertising and marketing services to help large global brands market online. AGENDA was acquired by the world’s largest advertising and media conglomerate, WPP Group, in 2008.

Prior to AGENDA, Steve founded and built two enterprise software companies that were acquired by leading enterprise software companies in Silicon Valley. He is a very strong leader and proven business-building operator, with a history of building an unmatched company culture and management team.

Amyel Oliveros, Industrial Design Consultant

At the age of 10, I became an expert in Photoshop. That's because I was one of the co-founders of OurTurf, and specifically, head of the Pixels section, which was a virtual visual arts museum for kids to share their works with peers. Exposure and practice with real-world knowledge and skills made me appreciate how my passions can evolve into a career in design, production, and branding.
Amyel graduated with the highest honors with a Bachelor's in Design, at Pratt Institute, in New York and completed his graduate studies in Industrial Design at Kinstfack University in Stockholm, Sweden. At the age of ten, he designed the quarterly magazine covers of Hyatt Regency Hotels. He developed a greeting cards series at the age of 12.
While in college, Amyel won numerous awards for designs including a chair for Starwood Hotels, which got him an internship for Four Points Hotel. He was a finalist for mass-produced glassware at Nachtmann Crystal. His designs were chosen for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and to represent Brooklyn Designs. He was a designer and coordinated production of functional accessories for Williams-Sonomoa. Amyel recently wrote and illustrated a children's book, titled, "Gabriella Emmanuella Salsa Antonio Villar," now available for download at Amazon.  Amyel is currently creative director at Waterfield Bags in San Francisco.


Hillary Fenton, Teacher, Design Power and Design Life

My mission as an educator is to empower kids to bring their thoughts and ideas out in to the world. When kids engage in design thinking they learn how to dissect complex issues and continually adapt their thoughts and ideas to shifting challenges. The children that will thrive in emerging fields are those that have these skills.
Hilary has been passionate about innovative education since childhood with project based learning and youth activism. While obtaining an MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons The New School for Design she designed instructional technology that empowered youth to learn from peers online. Following graduate school she worked for several years as an Experience Designer in educational technology.
After testing countless products with children she was amazed at their insights and ideas. “At times it felt as if they should’ve been the creative directors pushing the designers towards innovative ideas!” It didn’t take long for Hilary to discover her true passion- celebrating the thoughts and ideas of kids. She is currently Design Lead at Woodside Elementary; building one of the first fully integrated design thinking programs for a public K-8 school.

Beverly Mann, Faculty

The arts and creative expression have been my life-long motivator and passion in teaching, writing, and developing as a whole human being. Tapping into the creative minds and energy of our youth paves the road to my most rewarding journey in life.

A former New Yorker and resident of Palo Alto, Mann brings 30-plus years of teaching experience in areas of dance, writing, language arts, reading, and health from adults to teens and middle school students. Her multi-faceted teaching history involves the blending of the arts and technology. At San Francisco’s Denman Middle School of the Arts, she developed, implemented, and taught a two-year multicultural arts program in areas of writing, dance and theatre. She is also an award-winning freelance published writer/photojournalist both locally, nationally, and internationally.

Keiko Sato-Perry, Faculty

Keiko grew up in a progressive school in Tokyo and started being interested in education through the experiential and cooperative educational environment. She majored in English Literature at Keio University in Tokyo, where she also completed her first MA in educational psychology. Keiko was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for international educators to attend a summer American Studies program at Amherst, MA. She received her second MA in curriculum and teacher education from the Stanford University School of Education. Keiko has been a teacher throughout her adult life and her students’ ages range from Elementary School through High School and beyond. She is a co-teacher at Synapse School, Menlo Park and is also a Parenting by Connection trainer, instructor and consultant at Hand in Hand Parenting in Palo Alto. Keiko’s motto is “Love to Learn; Learn to Love."

Board of Advisors

Thomas Varghese

Thomas is a melomaniac, strategic investor, startup accelerator and entrepreneur with a unique combination of business and technical skills. Thomas serves on several private corporate boards including non-profits like BootUp Academy, San Francisco Classical Voice and Ventana School and is very active as a mentor and strategic angel investor, sharing his proven ability to set strategies and business models in rapidly emerging markets and create companies that are thought leaders and visionary. He has successfully grown companies from zero to profitability by recruiting key talents and providing vision and strategic direction. Most recently he was a Vice President at Oracle Corporation driving business, technology and product strategy. 

He is passionately involved in education and has helped launch and build companies like MasteryConnect, Novare Education and iSoccer to help parents and educators with tools to inspire students to become life-long, self-motivated learners. Furthering one’s knowledge and developing the skills needed throughout life, can enhance students’ understanding of the world around them, provide them with more opportunities and improve our quality of learning and living.

Barry Katz
Barry Katz was educated at McGill University in Montréal, the London School of Economics, and holds a doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is Professor of Design at California College of the Arts and Consulting Professor in the Design Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Stanford University. Outside of academia he is a fellow at IDEO, Silicon Valley’s leading design and innovation consultancy, and at the i-School, University of Tokyo. He consults widely to companies, organizations, and governments.
Dr. Katz' training is in cultural theory and the history of technology, and his earlier works included Herbert Marcuse and the Art of Liberation (Verso), Foreign Intelligence: Research and Analysis in the Office of Strategic Services, 1942–1945 (Harvard University Press), and Technology and Culture: A Historical Romance (Stanford). His more recent research explores themes in the history and theory of design, including Change By Design, with Tim Brown (Harper Collins, 2009) and NONOBJECT, with Branko Lukic (MIT Press, 2010); a new book, Ecosystem of Innovation: The History of Silicon Valley Design, is forthcoming from MIT Press. Barry has served as executive editor of the Design Book Review and contributing author to magazines such as I.D., Metropolis, and Dwell, and his writings on the history and philosophy of design have appeared in many academic, professional, and popular journals. He has an extremely short attention span and easily becomes interested in new things.


Tuoc Luong

Tuoc Luong has been in high tech for 30+ years. He has held senior positions in large industry iconic companies like Microsoft and Yahoo. He has experiences growing startup companies to IPO (Aurum Software) as well as turning around company like Ask Jeeves (from $35M to $1.6B Market Cap). Mr. Luong founded two companies and successfully sold them both to Yahoo. 

Tuoc Luong is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Unique Solutions which owns the only body scanning technology to measure an individual while fully clothed. Through its patented body scan technology deployed over a couple of years, Unique has amassed physical body dimensions of well over 1 million users and growing. This is a large category of Big Data that no other company has access to. Where Google, Facebook and Amazon may have user interest, behavior and transaction data, they do not have access to a user's physical body. 

Prior, Tuoc Luong served as the CEO of Shanda Online from 2011-2014. Mr. Luong served as the Global Senior Vice President of Yahoo from 2007 - 2010, where he led the Search Division and was responsible for Yahoo Search products worldwide. He served in senior roles such as CTO in companies such as Zazzle Inc., and IAC Search & Media. He is the author of the book, Internationalization, Developing Software for the Global Market, published in 1995.

Grit Denker
Dr. Grit Denker is a Senior Computer Scientist at SRI International. Her projects include Artifactory, which involves the development of commonsense theories of, among other things, scalar notions, space and time, causality, the structure of events and processes, force, and the properties of materials, with the goal of connect the theories at every point along the way with actual devices, such as a smart fridge or a smart car.
Committed to enhancing educational experiences through the invention of new technologies, Dr. Denker is involved in the bRIGHT project, a new human-machine interaction paradigm. Leveraging state-of-the-art computing power and sensor systems, bRIGHT overcomes the bottleneck between a human and a machine -- "the last meter bandwidth." bRIGHT will increase efficiency and effectiveness for users that are cognitively loaded and heavily tasked. bRIGHT has the potential for reducing critical errors and learning curves associated with complex systems. The bRIGHT relates application context to active (e.g., touch) and passive (e.g., gaze) user input to present users with the right controls or content when and where they need it. bRIGHT uses an existing, novel hybrid display/sensor interactive surface that is instrumented to provide 3-7 Gbits of user-related sensor data per second.
Dr. Denker is also involved in working on Common Authentication protocol Specification Language, DARPA Agent Markup Language, Maude, a high-performance reflective language and system supporting both equational and rewriting logic specification and programming for a wide range of applications. She is also involved in Next generation, ONISTT and Public Key Infrastructure projects.

Royce YC Hong

Royce is a designer by training, entrepreneur by circumstance, and bona fide architecture voyeur by osmosis. Born in Hollywood, he lives, slaves away and creates gadgets and things in Taipei for most of his life. He studied Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design, and Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design.  After stints as a Product Designer at Panasonic in Japan, Designer and Creative Director of PC home Online, the largest Internet retailer in Taiwan, he co-founded AGENDA, one of the largest Pan-Asia digital marketing agencies that was acquired by the WPP Group in 2008. 

Royce is currently Chairman and CEO at IPEVO, a maker of interactive teaching tools that are currently in use in over 35% of K12 schools in America which he co-founded in 2007.  He is also the co-founder and managing principal at XRANGE, a multi-disciplinary architecture and design firm, and Managing Director at Panasonic Taiwan.