Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Tom Alberg


Co-founder and Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group
Tom is a co-founder and Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group and is active on several portfolio company boards. Since its formation in 1995, Madrona has raised over $1.2 billion in six funds and invested in over 100 early-stage technology companies primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Tom currently is a director of on which he has served since before it went public in 1997 and has been its Lead Director and Chair of its Audit Committee. Tom has also served on the boards of numerous other public and private companies.

Tom serves on the technology industry boards TechNet Northwest and the Washington State Technology Alliance. From 2009 to 2013 he was a member of the President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is also on the Investment Committee of the Seattle Foundation. Tom was recently ranked number 12 of the 35 most influential business leaders in the Seattle area over the last 35 years by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Immediately prior to co-founding Madrona Investment Group, Tom served as President of public companies LIN Broadcasting Corporation and Executive Vice President of McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc. Previously, he was chair of the Executive Committee and Partner in the Northwest’s largest law firm, Perkins Coie, where he was principal counsel for The Boeing Company, Alaska Airlines and a number of early technology companies. Before that he was an attorney with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. He is past chair of the Washington State Technology Alliance, the Discovery Institute, and the Pacific Science Center and past president of Intiman Theater in Seattle. He was co-chair of the capital campaign for the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s new building at the University of Washington.

Robert Pianta, Ph.D.


Dean of the Curry School of Education; Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education; Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia; Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning

Robert is the Dean of the Curry School of Education, Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.  He is also founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.  Robert’s research and policy interests focus on the measurement and production of effective teaching in classrooms from preschool to high school.  Robert has authored more than 300 scholarly papers, 50 book chapters, and ten influential books related to teaching and the intersection of education and human development. He has been a principal investigator on grants and projects totaling over $55 million in sponsored support.  Robert’s assessments of teacher-student interaction are widely used in research and in a number of at-scale applications in the U.S. and internationally. 

Robert’s recent work on improvement of teacher-student interactions has implications for teacher preparation and workforce development. He is past Editor of The Journal of School Psychology and incoming associate editor for the new journal AERA Open. Among other research measures and instruments, Robert is the creator of an observational assessment of teacher-student interactions known as the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ or CLASS, with versions for use with infants through twelfth grade students, all of which have been shown to capture features of teacher-student interactions that contribute to learning and development.  CLASS is used by every Head Start program in the country, affecting 50,000 teachers and over half a million students. Robert consults regularly with foundations as well as state and Federal agencies including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.