May 6, 2024

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week: How Teachers Shape Cengage Group


In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, we are celebrating the significant contributions teachers make in shaping our business, helping us deliver quality learning experiences for millions of students around the world. At Cengage Group, all our employees share in a mission to impact the lives of learners. To accomplish this, much of our workforce is tasked with having an acute understanding of the education landscape, specifically, the needs of today’s students, educators and administrators. Teachers at every level of education help shape that understanding, and many former teachers have even made the career change and now support learners as part of our Cengage workforce. These individuals bring their firsthand experience in the classroom, as well as their interactions with students and the broader ecosystem into their current roles at Cengage Group. This invaluable insight helps us develop customer-centric products and solutions.

“At Cengage Group, the belief in the power and joy of learning is central to the work we do each day. Educators play a central role in shaping the learning experience for students that they remember long after their time in the classroom concludes. As an edtech leader, we recognize the critical importance of integrating the perspective and experiences of teachers into the products and solutions we deliver to learners and educators across the globe." – Michael Hansen, CEO Cengage Group

In recognition of this important perspective, we are featuring employees who started their careers as teachers and explored how their previous teaching careers influence their day-to-day work at Cengage Group.


Katie Mills – Empowering Faculty and Supporting Students

Katie has worked at Cengage Group for just about two years. Upon entering the professional world, she found herself in a job that left her feeling uninspired. She pondered over ways that she could have the largest impact on others, challenge herself to grow and find a sense of fulfillment and purpose at the end of each day. Katie shared that, “teaching popped right into my head! I look back on my years of experience in the classroom, working side by side with my students and peers, with so much gratitude and appreciation. It taught me more than any other role I have ever had.”

Katie explained the decision to work at Cengage Group, “felt like a natural next step to expand my horizons and make an impact in new ways. In my new role as an Account Executive in Higher Education, I work alongside college professors and faculty to help support them support our students, ensuring they are equipped with the best curriculum resources and tools to enhance their learning environments. I find joy in helping educators, as I remember my need for help as a former educator myself. I spent hours researching new curriculum resources in an effort to fit my learning objectives, while keeping in mind my specific student needs. This can be a full-time job in itself! My goal is to support my faculty members by taking some of this off their plate. I love partnering with my professors to find the best solutions.”



Hunter Sutton – The Educator Advantage

Hunter joined Cengage Group in 2019. While he was pursuing his degree, he looked at teaching as a means to an end; he wanted to be a coach or athletic director and teaching was the first step in reaching that goal. However, Hunter explained that things began to change when he started working with young learners on foundational reading and math skills. He explained, “I was excited to be in the classroom every day and I couldn’t believe that one day someone would pay me do to what I love. Growing up in a very suburban, rural environment then attending a solely urban-focused college further opened my eyes to the impact that teachers could have on the lives of students. I did multiple papers and studies on the impact of male elementary teachers in the urban core and thought I would never do anything else in my life.”

Hunter shared that leaving his teaching job was an incredibly hard, however he wanted a career where he felt more appreciated and appropriately compensated. “I prided myself on being a good teacher and provided my students with things they needed to get through the weekend (coats, extra food, etc.) but things started to get tight as newly married man who wanted to start planning for a family. Although, I knew I wanted to stay in education, so I made the move to Cengage Group. I admired the local leadership and knew they were the people I wanted to work with; it has been, by far, the best thing I could have ever done.”

“My previous role as an educator gives me a competitive advantage in my job now as an Account Executive; I am able to have unique conversations that other salespeople might not be able to. Initially, it felt overwhelming going up against lifelong salespeople with business degrees that have been selling since they were born! Once I made the decision to embrace my strengths and leverage my classroom experience to set myself a part, it made a significant impact. The organization, work ethic and drive that is needed to be a teacher keeps me motivated every day and makes me get out of bed on days that I might not otherwise want to!”



Fred Lara – Making an Impact on a Larger Scale

Fred joined the Cengage Group team six years ago. Before joining our team, he worked as a teacher. Fred shared that he was inspired to become a teacher because his parents did not attend college, he was a first-generation college graduate who was enthralled with learning. He recalled, “in graduate school I took a position as a teacher’s assistant for organic chemistry and absolutely loved it. Seeing light bulb moments from students and my ability to convey complex information into digestible material drove my passion. I had both great teachers and difficult ones and felt that I could make an impact at large scale, change lives, connect with college students and inspire change. I had numerous positions in industry before becoming a college professor, but ultimately, I felt that it was a calling for me.”

After working as a college professor for fourteen years, Fred was looking to create change on a larger scale. “By working in the publishing space, I felt and feel tremendous value in impacting resources educational institutions and the entities utilize. I felt that making this move would expand my reach to a larger group of educators and leaners.”

In his current role as a Customer Success Manager, Fred incorporates a great deal from his former training as an educator. He said, “I am able to connect with the leadership, faculty and students from the institutions we serve from a unique perspective. I understand the common issues facing educators from considering a new adoption, to implementation and finally to retention. This unique, and learning- centric focus allows for deep level conversations and builds strong bonds with a periodical focused partnership.”



Learn More:

Check out more Cengage Group employee stories and learn how their jobs that make a difference.