About Ascend

Ascend motivates students to achieve academic and behavioral goals

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is to create a generation of students that are empowered to pursue their goals with curiosity, courage, and commitment.

We do this by engaging students in a purposeful journey toward a successful future through gamified goals that align with their plans for the future, in collaboration with their parents, mentors and educators.


What Our Students, Parents and Educators Say

Ascend inspired me to set goals on things I thought were impossible for me. I raised my GPA 0.6 points- from a 3.4 to a 4.0.


Charlotte, NC

Ascend was easy to use. My son was motivated to do well. I was worried about his grades and his future, and now I know he’s going to college.


Charlotte, NC

I would recommend Ascend to other educators. It is an easy way to have students self monitor, set goals and receive tangible rewards for their work. Parents can easily see the results of students’ work and set their students up for a reward through the system.


Charlotte, NC


Our Team

CEO, Co-founder

Reg Gabriel

Reg Gabriel, CEO, is a lifelong technologist with a full career at IBM, where he specialized in data security. He founded Ascend (formerly SkoolAide) after his experience with finding a way to motivate the young people in his life. He has been working with students and administrators to create Ascend since 2012.

“As an invested mentor seeking ways to ignite students into active engagement, I formed a concept to use technology and behavioral economics to motivate students to set higher goals. After a few semesters where higher outcomes were initially driven and motivated by external factors, students shifted towards more intrinsic motivation to do well. Those observations were shared with educators and technology specialists in my community, and through that collaboration, I created a software platform to aid students and their support community in goal setting and achievement.”

COO, Co-founder

Christine Nicodemus

Christine Nicodemus, COO, served as a product manager for two of Charlotte’s leading tech startups before joining Ascend. She managed a platform used by several Fortune 100 companies, a popular travel and rewards app, and over 50 parking apps used by over 2MM users in major cities like Chicago and London. Christine finished at the top of her business school at Wake Forest while studying mathematical business.

Christine devotes her free time to equity initiatives in her home city of Charlotte. “My husband and I started an annual conference called the Charlotte Justice Conference that brings in national and local experts who speak on the top social justice issues facing our city and actionable steps to positively impact them. We cover topics like affordable housing, educational equity, mass incarceration, and food justice, along with many others.”


Ted Piecora

Ted Piecora, CTO, led a top-performing team as a Director of Engineering at one of the largest technology companies in the Charlotte region before joining Ascend. He is considered a thought leader and driver of organizational culture and is known for full-stack engineering and cloud architecture.

“Beyond the technology and software industry, I’ve had a pretty broad range of experience, from working on construction sites to project management, sales, and teaching in Cambodia. This has equipped me in unique ways to bring a fresh perspective to problem solving and product development.”

Director of School and Student Success

Missi Rossi

Missi Rossi, Director of School and Student Success, has a decade of experience in B2B and B2C integrated marketing-communications and client management. While obtaining her Master’s degree in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota, she focused on student usage of technology to invoke behavior change.

Outside of Ascend, Missi is a certified yoga teacher. “I spend a lot of my free time learning about personal and professional development and I’m excited to be in a role where I can align my academic and personal interests with creating a solution that sparks motivation and purpose in teens.”

Learn more

Are you ready to learn more about how Ascend can help your youth achieve their goals?