About Us
Penda is a brain-researched online STEM supplement for grades 4-10, which supports school improvement by automatically gathering weekly formative data for all students and subgroups. We assign weekly homework on the teachers’ behalf based on the district curriculum map – and use avatars and competition to generate authentic student engagement.
For more information, email hello@pendalearning.com or call 800-481-8101
Meet The Team
David Jaffa
Founder
David Jaffa
I graduated from Cambridge University in England with a law degree, but wanted to do something that matters. I founded Penda*, with the company mission of using technology to transform students’ experience of learning so everyone gets the best education. By early 2000s Penda* was used in around 50% of UK secondary schools as well as schools in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Cypress, Germany and Spain. This information is important for you to know because we are NOT a new startup company without a track record. We know how to serve students and educators at all levels while operating at scale. Our efficacy studies are the largest we know of for any educational technology company, including 5 million students over 10 years. The take-away for you is that Penda* is absolutely proven to raise scores in high stakes tests. With Penda*, students really can get ‘it’. I am also an African tribal chief called Nene Bawa III, having funded the building of a Middle School in Ghana, West Africa.
Nina Kuhn
Chief Academic Officer
Nina KuhnI have been working in education for 21 years, 8 years as an administrator.  I lecture extensively on the latest brain research and discuss how students’ learning experiences can be optimized to improve student achievement.  I also authored the book, A.L.P.H.A. – A Brain-Based Learning Model, which outlines what is needed for instructional strategies to work for all students. Immediately before joining Penda, I served as an RTI Coordinator and Achievement Liaison at East Ridge Middle School in Lake County, Florida.  In that position, I was the Penda administrator and implemented brain-researched strategies alongside Penda to improve student achievement.  The results were outstanding; in just one year the school reduced its lower quartile by 38%. I have a proven track record of success with the students that struggle academically and in assisting schools reduce their lower quartile. As an Achievement Liaison and RTL Coordinator, I saw Penda change the lives of hundreds of students and give hope to kids who had never succeeded in school before. In fact, the reason I joined Penda was to help spread Penda and other best practices (that I know work) to many more districts and schools.
Jacob Makuvire
VP Sales
Jacob MakuvireWith 14 years sales experience, I am a decisive, strategic and visionary leader with a passion for education. Before joining Penda, I was Regional Vice President at Teacher Created Materials / Shell Education. I led a sales team that worked on several district adoptions to the Common Core State Standards & Next Generation State Standards. Before that, I was with Cambium Learning / Voyager Learning / ExploreLearning, where I held several leadership roles up to Director of Sales. At ExploreLearning I led teams that secured state deals with Arkansas and Quebec, Canada for our Gizmos product, for over $1.0M combined. While running a Voyager Learning division I led a team that secured over $2.0M from Senate Bill 404, 185 (Nevada, Clark County SD) and Texas Rider 48 (Houston ISD, Dallas ISD) for Voyager Passport & VMath intervention products. I co-founded the Leadership Prep Charter School in Frisco, TX, and have served on the board for the past 2 years. I believe in creating equal opportunities for all students, including providing them with the technology and education resources that they may not have access to. Penda Learning is in a great position to truly redefine what supplemental resources should look like. I believe we will continue to become a leader in this space.
Rich Taylor
Product Development Director
Rich Taylor
I have been involved in developing educational technology since 1996 (for 16 years). My whole career has been focused on making a difference to the education of kids through effective pedagogy delivered electronically. The point is, you will be amazed by what our development team has created to help students learn.

I have been School Governor and have mentored teachers, which matters to you because I understand the challenges of a modern classroom and how little time teachers have to learn new resources. Because of this, we made Penda super-simple and designed our reporting to make teachers’ lives easier not harder! Our servers handle requests from 300,000 students per year in 1,500 schools, with massive data storage requirements and over 5,000 simultaneous users. This is also important to you because our technology is state of the art, our servers will stay live and your student data is secure.
Kevin Custer
Advisor
Kevin Custer
I am a Founding Principal of Arc Capital Development, a private equity firm focused on the education and healthcare markets. I was the primary architect in the launching of six startups. All of these became multi-million dollar companies. Three of them achieved over $20 million in revenue within their first three years, two of which went public under my leadership. The products of these companies have been installed in more than 50 percent of the K-12 schools in the United States with over 10 million online users each week and total over $100 million in annual revenue. I currently serve on the board of three portfolio companies including Kinderstreet, Social Express and C8 Sciences. I also act as board advisor to several client companies. Over the last 10 years, Arc has made over 13 investments, with five exits, and been advisors to more than 40 of the education industry’s fastest growing companies. I have a B.Sc. in marketing from the University of Northern Colorado and am Board President for the Autism Society of Colorado and on the national Board of Directors for the Autism Society of America. I’m also a volunteer ski instructor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO.
Adam L. Hall
Advisor
Eric Nelson Adam is a well-respected ed tech entrepreneur and business leader. Most recently, Adam served as president of SkillsTutor, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. After selling his former company, Impact Education, to HMH in 2010, Adam spent the next two years ensuring SkillsTutor’s successful integration.

Adam received his B.A. in Economics from Columbia University and worked in investment banking at JP Morgan in New York City prior to co-founding Impact Education in 2000. As the rapid advancement of technologies continues to present new opportunities and challenges to educators and learners, Adam considers it his mission and avocation to help stakeholders in navigating the best course to meet their specific needs.

Adam serves on the board of directors for the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) and is heavily involved as a member of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). He volunteer coaches freshman football in his home-town of Fort Myers, FL and serves on the school board of his local Catholic High School.

* Penda is called SAM Learning outside the United States. Penda means ‘to choose’ in Swahili. Brain research has shown that giving students a choice helps them identify with their learning, which engages their emotions and helps authentic learning to take place.