Built on a Vision

Brilliant young minds don’t always get all the intellectual nutrition they need from their daily diet of school and extra-curriculars. Our co-founders were driven by the vision that NuMinds could provide a layer of enrichment beyond the school day, where real, inspired learning creates the conditions for lifelong curiosity and self-development:

  • Real – our programs extend beyond basic academic needs into the realm of enrichment, where a learner’s authentic engagement with ideas, processes and products is paramount.

  • Inspired –our programs derive from our own sense of inspiration and are focused on developing a learner’s own passions and interests.

  • Learning –our programs provide new knowledge, insight and wisdom that is valuable to the learner’s and the world’s development and advancement.


Ben Koch, M.ED.
Ben Koch, M.ED.Co-Founder & CEO
Ben Koch is driven to unite people to a greater vision and cause in education and self-development. Through coaching, teaching, and delivering progressive workshops and talks he seeks to expand horizons in education, leadership, and personal development. Driven to make a broader impact, he left the traditional classroom in 2013 and co-founded NuMinds as a vehicle to drive the Edvolution in learning for the 21st century. Ben is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NuMinds and holds a B.A. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University and a Master’s degree in Gifted Education from Southern Methodist University. After several years in the software industry thriving in communications and international project management roles, he entered the classroom and spent a decade working with students from Kindergarten to college, which sparked his passion for changing lives. He is a published author and in his spare time he runs ultramarathons, sweats in hot yoga, and writes poetry – but not all at the same time.
Justin Vawter, M.Ed.
Justin Vawter, M.Ed.Co-Founder & CCO
Justin Vawter lives on the fringe of education, a creative spark working tirelessly to redefine the educational narrative and make the learning experience more impactful and meaningful. He holds a Masters degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction from the University of North Texas which he uses to oversee curriculum development and pedagogical methodology at NuMinds. His previous education also includes PhD-level course work in Gifted & Talented Education and a bachelor of arts in English Literature at UNT. For over a decade, Justin has taught middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults and has numerous awards and grants for outstanding teaching and innovative concepts for the classroom. From ultra marathons to musical composition, he embraces physical and creative challenges. He serves as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of NuMinds Enrichment and is one of the original co-founders.
Carissa Winland, Ph.D.
Carissa Winland, Ph.D.COO
Dr. Carissa Winland is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, education, and continuous growth and improvement. She actively looks for opportunities to help revolutionize the frameworks of education and best business practices, while striving to lead with a growth-mindset driven philosophy. She is passionate about mentoring and encouraging youth and adults to engage with their highest selves. As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NuMinds, she applies her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Southwestern University in a variety of ways including curriculum and program development, meeting the socioemotional needs of students, management practices, and scalability of company operations. Her previous professional experience includes business development, strategic consulting, and working with special needs children. She has received honors and awards for mentoring and prestigious academic accomplishments. Her hobbies range from tennis, photography, and integrating science and authentic expression.
Shaena Whitney
Shaena WhitneyLogistics Support Manager
Shaena ensures that every location hosting a camp, event or professional development has all the supplies they need to be successful. Fun fact: Shaena turns into the Flash during summer months when we have tons of events happening at once!
Jonathan Webster
Jonathan WebsterMarketing Manager
Jonathan puts our digital marketing strategies in motion!
Adam Nees
Adam NeesDirector & Inspirator
Adam is both site director and teacher (inspirator) for many NuMinds events. Adam has done an amazing job spearheading our tabletop RPG programs!
Kaylee Strycker
Kaylee StryckerDirector & Inspirator
Kaylee received her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Animation from UTD and has developed several independent shorts, games, and programs. She has a passion for learning that is infectious in the classroom and out. She is a veteran NuMinds Inspirator and develops our Technology and Robotics programs!