The Graide Network Welcomes a Chief Technology Officer

From left to right: Zach Garwood (Developer), Becca Lett (Member Success), Blair Pircon (CEO), Liz Nell (CRO), Ruthie (Liz's new puppy) and Karl Hughes (CTO).

From left to right: Zach Garwood (Developer), Becca Lett (Member Success), Blair Pircon (CEO), Liz Nell (CRO), Ruthie (Liz's new puppy) and Karl Hughes (CTO).

The Graide Network team is thrilled to announce our fourth full-time team member and Chief Technology Officer, Karl Hughes. Bringing Karl on full-time means lots of exciting new updates and functions to our product, and outstanding leadership talent for our engineering team! We captured a short interview with Karl in this blog post.


What is your brief biography? 

“I am from Memphis and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business. My first internship was designing and testing washing machines for GE. It was a huge company and totally wrong for my personality, so I started teaching myself to develop websites on the side. A few years later when I graduated I got a job with an Education Technology startup and I’ve been in the industry ever since.”

What brought you to The Graide Network team? And why are you passionate about K-12 education?

“My mom is a 4th grade teacher, two of my roommates in college became teachers, and a couple of my cousins are as well, so it’s a profession with a deeply personal connection for me. I was working for a college education company last year when I met Blair (co-founder of The Graide Network), and the mission to improve K-12 as well as the product both struck a chord with me. I know teachers are overworked and underappreciated, so I’m looking forward to helping them out with technology.”

Explain your role and give us a summary of what you do in an average day/week.

“I lead our engineering team, so I’m responsible for creating and carrying out our product roadmap based on the needs of our customers. Basically that means I split time between writing technical specifications for new products and features, fixing any pressing bugs, and writing code.”

How would you explain your vision for the platform’s growth and development over the next few months to one of our teachers?

“We’re doing a lot of behind the scenes work right now to make sure we can handle the growing number of teachers and Graiders on the platform. There’s a lot that goes into making a web application that can handle thousands of users reliably, and we know that teachers need technology that just works, so that’s my first focus. Beyond that, we’re in the discovery phase which is really exciting because it means we’re talking to teachers all the time to figure out exactly what it is they really need to improve their classrooms.”

What new features can teachers expect/get excited about this fall?  

“Making grading and Graider feedback a more seamless process is a big focus for our team in the fall. We know that uploading and downloading a bunch of student work gets tedious, so we’re working to give teachers and Graiders fewer hurdles to cross.”

What are your favorite technology tools that you use for work/in life?

“I have a ton, but the first one I’ll mention is Trello. I’ve been obsessed with it for the past couple years. Our engineering team manages projects on it, I use it for my daily to-do list, my reading list, and just about everything else I can organize.”

Follow Karl on Twitter @KarlLHughes to keep up with the latest in technology and startups!