John McLaughlin


John has been an education entrepreneur for over four decades. The first school he created, Benton Hall in Nashville, has served students since 1977. As a tenured professor at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota (1988–1998), John researched the rise of education as an invest-able industry. In 1992, he created and published The Education Industry Report, which shaped the early years of the industry. John wrote the first Galileo Education business plan in 1999 with a vision that customized learning was possible. Prior to his career, John attended Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, The University of Chicago, and, in mid-80s, the University of Minnesota where he received BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees respectively.

John has advised dozens of investment clients from Warburg Pincus to the late Ted Forstmann as well as scores of operating companies from Aspen Education to Crisis Prevention Institute. He has served on corporate boards from Behavioral Innovations to National Heritage Academies and fostered some 30 acquisitions in the education and behavioral health space. He is frequently sought out for his thoughts on the intersection of capital markets and education, has authored three related books, dozens of articles, and continues an active writing agenda.


Mark Claypool


Mark has been a leader in education for more than two decades and specializes in building student-centered education models. During the course of his career, Mark has built more than 170 schools and programs in 20 states. He is a frequent speaker at education industry events and for years served as a sponsor and judge for the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. Mark has been named one of Nashville’s most admired CEOs and E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Social Responsibility in 2016. He also has written two books with co-founder John McLaughlin.

Mark began his career working as a child abuse investigator and foster child advocate for the state of Tennessee. In keeping with that, Galileo Prep will support the education of foster children as its charitable mission.


Clara Houin

Chief Financial Officer

Clara brings a diverse background in finance with over a decade of progressive experience ranging from sell-side equity research to mergers and acquisitions, to corporate financial planning and analysis. As CFO, Clara leads accounting, financial planning and reporting, capital formation, acquisitions, tax, treasury, and risk management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

In her free time, Clara mentors young women in partnership with Rock The Street, Wall Street/Girls Rock Wall Street to promote diversity and inclusion in finance and is an active member of the Junior League of Nashville and several other women-led organizations in the Nashville area.


Dr. Wendy Oliver

Chief Education Officer

Wendy thrives on implementing innovative learning models and experiences for students. With more than 20 years of experience in digital education, Wendy has developed and pioneered a district- and state-wide online learning program in Tennessee and previously served as Chief Learning Architect for Arizona State University’s digital charter school. She has written digital teaching standards, developed software that allows teachers to self-assess their knowledge of digital instruction, and has authored the book series Not Your Mama’s Classroom. No matter which hat she’s wearing, Wendy loves to learn and is committed to her goal to empower all learners.


Josh Short

Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel

Josh is an attorney with expertise in compliance, regulatory proceedings, and trend and data analysis. He joins Galileo Education as Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel after serving public-facing, private organizations as general counsel and head of human resources for 10 years. Josh specializes in recruiting and working with high-value talent, who serve students in the education and human services fields.