Newsela Appoints Pep Carrera as New Chief Executive Officer
Former CEO of Nearpod and VitalSource to drive company’s next chapter of growth.
New York, NY - Newsela, the leading K-12 instructional content platform, announced today that Pep Carrera has been named Chief Executive Officer. Carrera, who most recently served as CEO of Nearpod, is an accomplished executive with a wealth of experience in EdTech and a passion for bringing innovation into classroom learning.
Newsela’s mission is to create meaningful classroom learning for all students, with its best-in-class, accessible content and curated activities that power great teaching and drive student engagement. Since its launch in 2013, the company has led the transition away from static instructional materials to become the SaaS platform of choice for educators looking for dynamic ways to bring their curriculum to life.
Founder Matthew Gross — who started Newsela with Dan Cogan-Drew and who has successfully led the company for the past 10 years — will be handing off the position to Carrera. Gross will remain actively involved in the company as Executive Chairman. As CEO, Gross grew Newsela to over 500 employees and 40 million registered teachers and students. Most recently, he oversaw Newsela’s Series D $100 million investment, its first acquisitions, and its support of K-12 education’s transition to distance learning caused by the pandemic.
“When we founded Newsela, we set out to massively improve classroom learning. Since then, we’ve reached millions of teachers and students who turn to Newsela for everything from science and history, to civics and language arts, and more,” said Matthew Gross. “I’m extremely humbled by the impact Newsela has had on the classroom and I’m fired up by the possibilities of what's next. Pep’s strong product-first mentality and unmatched ability to drive sustainable, smart growth made him the clear choice for Newsela’s next era of leadership.”
“As an immigrant to this country, I experienced the transformational impact education can have, especially for those who need it the most. Newsela’s ability to inspire a love of learning is one of the many reasons I’m energized to take the reins of this impact-driven company that has tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Pep Carrera. “Matt has done an incredible job building Newsela into a name known by millions of teachers and tens of millions of students across the country, and my goal is to ensure that teachers can do even more for their students with Newsela.”
Carrera is an accomplished leader in the K-12, higher education, and technology sectors with a proven track record of driving growth at scale, digitizing the textbook market, and building on the success of founder-led companies. As CEO, he tripled Nearpod’s annual recurring revenue and increased its teacher users to 1.2 million per year, making Nearpod a ubiquitous presence in the classroom. He led VitalSource’s shift of much of the higher education textbook market away from the classic physical model to its digital platform and grew the company’s revenue tenfold in six years. He also leveraged his engineering and product management expertise to transition global creative marketing agency RAPP from a professional services company to a SaaS product company. Carrera serves on the board of Follett Higher Education.
“For the last decade Newsela has been a preeminent force in the digitization of K-12 classrooms under Matt’s leadership,” said Woody Marshall, Newsela Board Member and General Partner at TCV. “Pep knows how to take founder-led companies with engaging products to the next level, and the board is excited to support him as he takes on this new role.”
Pep’s role as Chief Executive Officer is effective as of January 23.