About Us

    Miacademy is a learn and play platform for kids. Our fearless leaders, Dr. Johannes and Swenja Ziegler, parents of five, assembled a team of educational experts and developed the "learn with fun" concept of Miacademy.

    Meet Our Founders

    Dr. Johannes & Ms. Swenja Ziegler
    Swenja and Johannes studied at leading universities including Stanford University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. They enjoy creating innovative forms of online learning and testing them out on their five kids. Other than that, Swenja teaches the piano and would appreciate if their oldest came home from MIT more frequently.
    Mr. Stefan Petry & Ms. Elizabeth Tse
    Elizabeth and Stefan are raising a child and a puppy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Elizabeth grew up in a large family that valued education highly. She holds degrees from Yale and Cornell and is an advisor to the company. Stefan grew up in Europe where he worked with special needs children. He has a degree from Stanford University and works in marketing and product management.
    Mr. David Hansen & Ms. Kjersti Bogaard
    Kjersti and David raised two children and are now the proud grandparents of four girls. Kjersti has a teaching degree from Norway, with a specialty in early childhood education. Both in Europe and California, she has taught preschool and kindergarten, managed day care centers, and operated after school programs. David, UC Berkeley MBA and the son of two teachers, has been served education as a dinner topic his whole life.

    The Team

    Dr. Julian Rüth
    Julian is the Chief Technology Officer of Miacademy. He has master's degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Arithmetic Geometry. In high school, he won the German Federal Computer Science Competition and he continues to compete successfully at national and international computer science competitions. He has taught throughout his life, spending five years as the leader of a church youth group and later teaching mathematics to university students.
    Daniel Ziegler
    Daniel, son of the founders, works as a technical advisor for Miacademy. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Computer Science from MIT and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Stanford University. He was homeschooled during middle school, which enabled him to develop his programming skills at an early age. As a high schooler, Daniel represented the United States at the 2012 International Olympiad in Informatics. He is excited about the opportunity to use technology to give a better education to young students.
    Gabriella Volpe
    Gabriella is a homeschooling mother of a child born with a chromosomal disorder, a certified teacher trained at McGill University in Montreal , Canada, and a homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She worked for 16+ years in the inclusive classroom with children of all abilities. She is particularly passionate about speech, language, and literacy development in children. As she helps her own son learn to communicate, she is also acquiring the fundamentals of ASL. Gabriella can be found at www.GabriellaVolpe.com
    Ashley Newman
    Ashley has a degree in interdisciplinary studies emphasizing in special education from Stephen F. Austin State University, located in East Texas. She taught special education classes and groups in both inclusion and self-contained settings for five years, working with students of all ages and ability levels. She then went on to earn a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Regent University, and is now in her fifth year of homeschooling her own two children.

    The founders, pictured above, were educated at top schools in Europe, Asia, and the United States. This fostered their love of learning that they want to share with the next generation of young learners.

    Having tried numerous educational sites for their own children, they couldn't find any that combine safety, fun, educational value and wholesome peer-to-peer interaction. This was when the idea for Clever Dragons (boys) and Always Icecream (girls) was born.

    A large international team worked on the development of Miacademy. Stefan Petry (co-founder, COO) and Tobias Bielenstein (Communications) contributed not only with their professional insights, but also as fathers. David Hansen (co-founder, Marketing) shared his experience as a father and grandfather.

    Today our team includes Susannah Skyer Gupta, who combines the best of both worlds: prior to being a homeschool and classroom educator with a special focus on gifted education, Susannah spent many years in the software industry in the UK and Silicon Valley. She works in product management alongside Bibi Marcos. After attending international schools across many countries, Bibi joined our team while studying psychology. Since then she has gained two graduate degrees and launched educational projects in Europe and Africa. She also worked on the graphics concept and illustrations with the gifted Bastian Langguth, Nora Brandt and Arik Hohmeyer. Rounding off the educational expertise is Gabriella Volpe, a Certified Teacher with 16+ years in the classroom and an experienced consultant for families of children with special needs. As a homeschooling parent of a child with special needs, Gabriella is well established in creating a concerted, inclusive learning environment.

    The software developers team lead by Dr. Julian Rüth includes many award winners of national and international software developers contests. Key contributors to the site are Christian Borkenhagen, Fabian Heimbürger, Johannes Krupp, Paul Jungeblut, Tim Bachmann, Meike Grewing, Robert Hemstedt, Britta Heymann, Jens Wischnewsky, Leonard Kleinhans, Cathrin Elich, Steffen Kötte, Paul Gölz, Marian Kleineberg, Tilmann Bihler, Mirko Speth, Wanja Hentze, Chris Baumann, Arne Boockmeyer, Lukas Fritzsche, Florian Behrens and Daniel Ziegler. They prefer to work from beaches around the world and boast a surprising number of competitive swimmers.

    However, members are probably most familiar with Grace, Kiley, Rebecca, Alyssa, and Maya, the people in charge of our popular educational videos.

    Miacademy is operated by Miaplaza Inc., an internet software development company located in Silicon Valley.