About Clever Dragons

Clever Dragons is a learn and play platform for young boys. Under the leadership of Dr. Johannes and Swenja Ziegler, parents of five, a team of educational experts including teachers, academics, and homeschooling parents, developed the "learn with fun" concept of Clever Dragons.


Meet Our Founders

Dr. Johannes & Mrs. Swenja Ziegler
Swenja and Johannes studied at leading universities in Europe, the US, and Asia, including Stanford University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. They enjoy teaching their five children and working with an international team to create innovative forms of online and app-based learning. Swenja teaches piano and both Swenja and Johannes are active in the leadership at their local church.
Mr. Stefan Petry & Ms. Elizabeth Tse
Elizabeth and Stefan are raising a son 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.

More Team Members

Dr. Julian Rüth
Julian is the Chief Technology Officer of Clever Dragons. 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 Clever Dragons. 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.
Susannah Skyer Gupta
Susannah Skyer Gupta 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 has a special interest in bringing great online learning to students using iPads and iPhones and enjoys working on our extensive line of iOS apps, including Geo Touch and Bible Challenge Quiz. Susannah is currently based in Chicago, IL, USA and has a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as a number of tech industry awards and certifications.
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.
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.
Heidi Strawser
Heidi is a mom to three and long-time homeschool mom. She has worked in various settings in the homeschool community, including serving as an author and Special Projects Manager for a popular homeschool magazine and running a website devoted to serving homeschoolers from all walks of life. She has also traveled around the nation to work for various vendors at homeschool conventions and works as a freelance editor for various websites and authors. You can find her blogging at Heidi’s Head.
Ashley Strawser
Ashley is a homeschool graduate who is currently working as a receptionist at a local physical therapy practice. In her spare time, she loves to read and write stories, watch movies, and spend time with her friends and family. She has worked with children in various capacities over the years, including spending a year as a nanny. You can occasionally find her blogging at Dear Teen Girl, where she writes with the goal of ministering to the needs of teen girls.
Jodi Whisenhunt
Jodi Whisenhunt is an award-winning freelance writer and editor whose works have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and online publications. A 17-year homeschooling veteran, Jodi is the owner and feature writer of the highly acclaimed Magical Mouse Schoolhouse website (and book by the same title), where she helps kids and their parents think outside the textbook and learn while they play, applying the magic of Walt Disney entertainment to creative homeschool lessons.
Denice Gustafson
Denice and her husband, a retired Air Force veteran, have homeschooled their five children (7 to 27) for 20 years. She has authored works that have been in a published book, magazines and online. She worked as a Senior Ad Sales Rep for a well-known homeschool magazine, taught piano lessons, owned a small business, and held the position of Communications Coordinator for a large organization. She advocates for adoption (two of her children were born in Kazakhstan and Taiwan) and has had many speaking engagements on the topic.
L. Beth McKinney
Beth obtained her B.S. in Education from St. Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, and her Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Governors State University in Illinois. She taught 5th grade, including inclusion and ESL students, for 17 years in a south suburb of Chicago. She has led a variety of educator and parent workshops, authored curriculum guides and related materials, and is published in a book on assessment and measurement. She owns a small business, works as a freelance artist, and as an educational consultant. Currently, Beth lives with her husband in the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
Barbara Cook
Barbara holds degrees from the University of Calgary, Canada and Santa Clara University in California. She has always enjoyed being involved in teaching children and has taught, led and coached various ages of children preschool through high school. She particularly enjoys looking for new ways to teach children that work best with their individual learning styles and integrating traditional and emerging teaching techniques to provide the best education possible for each individual child. She currently enjoys homeschooling her own four 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 Always Icecream (girls), Clever Dragons (boys), and Miacademy (boys and girls) was born.

A large international team worked on the development of Always Icecream, Clever Dragons, and 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 more than thirty contributors with a broad set of expertise. In addition to the team members listed above, Bibi Marcos has played an important role in shaping our sites. 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 , Nora Brandt, Arik Hohmeyer, Bastian Langguth, and Alejandra Robles.

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 Solomiia Demkiv, Christian Borkenhagen, Johannes Krupp, Tim Bachmann, Robert Hemstedt, Britta Heymann, Jens Wischnewsky, Leonard Kleinhans,Tilmann Bihler, Mirko Speth, Arne Boockmeyer, Lukas Fritzsche, Florian Behrens, and Daniel Ziegler.

However, members are probably most familiar with Grace, Kiley, Rebecca, Alyssa, Swenja, and Maya, the people presenting our popular educational videos. Not visible on the screen, but no less important, is the role of Tobias Ziegler, son of the founders, who developed the format and edits our videos.

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