stephen & don


Stephen Gass

Don Burton

From left: Don Burton, eebee, and Stephen Gass.
Photo: Laurie Gaboardi, Litchfield County Times

Stephen Gass is an innovator in the field of children's media. His experience includes over 20 years in the design, development and distribution of learning products, including computer software, online applications, toys, games, books and video. Trained as a child psychologist, Gass began his career teaching science, language arts, and crafts at the elementary level. He served as Director of Education for the Sesame Street theme park, Sesame Place; a founding editor of Electronic Learning Magazine; and editorial director of the CBS Interactive Learning Unit. As Vice President of Research and Development, Gass launched an educational toy division at Coleco. In his role as Senior Vice President of Product Development for Viacom New Media, he built and managed a team of 30 people whose responsibilities included planning, acquisition, development and production of CD-ROMS and console games for Viacom's entry into the software entertainment market. He also served as a senior creative executive for Viacom's research and development efforts in the home learning market, including its initial explorations for the learning network, Noggin. Recently, Gass held the position of Group President, Online at Sesame Workshop.

Currently, Gass serves as president of every baby company, inc., an organization he founded with Don Burton for the development of early learning products, the first of which is "eebee's adventures." He has also served as the principal of The Gass Company, a children's media strategy and production studio he founded in 1988, serving clients including: All Kinds of Minds, American Museum of Natural History, Cisneros Television Group, Citibank, Discovery Communications, Houghton Mifflin, IBM, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Nickelodeon, Noggin, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sesame Workshop, Simon & Schuster and Tiger Toys. Gass served as co-director of the Markle Forum on Children and Media, a project created to encourage a positive flow of information and ideas between leaders in the fields of media development and production, marketing, retailing, child development, health and education. He is an adjunct faculty member at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he teaches a course on child development and interactive design. In addition, Gass is a member of both the Education Committee at PBS-affiliate, WNET as well as the board of trustees of the Toy Industry Foundation.

Gass received a BA in psychology from New York University, an MA in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and completed work toward a PhD. in educational psychology at City University of New York.

Don Burton has been creating educational innovations for consumer markets for more than a decade. He was head of business development for Disney Educational Publishing, a Walt Disney Company initiative to enter the formal core curriculum markets of preK-3rd grade with integrated multi-media educational products that could be sold both into the school and the home. He developed strategies for the video, print, online and kit product lines and the business unit. He worked extensively with creative producers and “Imagineers” to understand and apply the educational principles and learning differentiation sought by Disney's new brand of offerings. He then founded ParentPartners, a creative Internet start-up focused on learning, growth and development issues. The company signed up almost 100,000 members before it was sold to the Washington Post and Kaplan Education in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Global Education Network (GEN) as CEO and President. GEN, founded by media financier Herbert Allen and Williams College professor Mark Taylor to bring the finest of higher education to the Internet, experimented with innovative formats to create the highest quality online learning.

Prior to Disney, Don graduated from the Harvard Business School, worked in M&A at Goldman, Sachs & Co, and worked for the McKinsey & Company consulting firm. He has frequently been an adjunct professor for Duke University and their Leadership in the Arts program in New York City and has completed coursework in teaching and learning at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Bank Street College and Columbia Teachers College. He has also served on the board of advisors at HGSE and on the COUR committee for Harvard University.

Burton recently founded A-Ha! Learning Partners, play & learning centers for children and their families, based in New York City. A-Ha! creates sensory rich environments, called PlayLabs, for kids 0 to 4 yrs old. Families enjoy the power of play through a wide range of opened-ended materials including clay, paper, water & ice, balls & ramps and foam. As children explore and solve developmentally appropriate challenges, parents gain insights into how play sets the foundations for thinking and learning. A-Ha! Playlabs are guided by developmental experts who partner with both parent and child to enrich the play experience and a parent’s understanding of their baby at play. These PlayLabs are hands-on workshops for all the ideas and skills presented in eebee's adventures.