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The Spire Team
Our leadership team has over 30 years of education experience. We know what it takes to train and hire great talent. And we love doing just that.
Michael is the Chief Executive Officer of Spire. Prior to joining Spire, he spent over a decade expanding education in global markets. While working at Laureate Education, he helped build its Brazil business from no presence to seven universities with more than 125,000 students. He also served on the Latin American management team and as the primary company contact during Laureate’s going-private transaction led by private equity firm KKR.
Subsequently, Michael worked with several education providers to execute growth strategies in Africa, Mexico and the U.S. During this time, he joined the launch team for Maarifa, a pan-African higher education business founded by a private equity fund and based in Nairobi.
Michael also brings experience growing technology startups with venture capital firm Vector Capital in San Francisco, and he began his career in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs in New York. His first work experience in Africa was in Congo (Kinshasa), where he advised on expanding the domestic credit market.
Michael received a B.A. in Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University, conducted graduate work at the University of Buenos Aires as a Rotary Scholar, and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.
When he’s not hanging out with friends and family, Michael enjoys mountain biking, running and football (aka soccer).
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Jenn Cotter has worked in education for over 13 years, in the US, East Africa and across the world. Jenn currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Spire, the cofounder of the Nairobi Edtech Meetup, and a facilitator/organizer for Startup Weekend Education Nairobi.
Previously, Jenn served as the Global Director of Outcomes for international technology education company, General Assembly, and as a Vice President for the boutique education consultancy, Collaborative Communications, based in Washington, DC.
Jenn has a master’s degree in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a former fellow and coordinator of the Education Policy Fellowship Program hosted by the Institute for Educational Leadership.
Director of Learning