Meet Our Leaders

Getting kids to love reading can be a Herculean effort. Our talented and dedicated staff stand ready to labor. We grow from a core year-round leadership team to an army of part-time/seasonal staff comprised of talented teachers, teaching artists, performers, college students and recent graduates, all of whom share our philosophy and commitment to kids.

Founder & CEO

Crystal Bobb-Semple

Crystal Bobb-Semple​ is the Founder and CEO of Plato Learning. Since 2010 the company has worked to transform classic stories into play-based explorations of History, conflict, and morality using a unique platform that helps kids develop social courage. She is working to enlarge the company’s footprint throughout New York City with the ultimate vision of extending its model across the nation. In her spare time “Persephone” is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education.

Director of HR & Organizational Development

Ellen Goolsby

Ellen, aka Helen, is our director of Human Resources and Organizational Development. She is the go-to for staffing Plato Learning. Likewise she leads organizational development efforts by growing our after-school programs, writing grant proposals and organizing team building activities across the company’s various teams and programs. With two decades of diverse professional experience in the higher education, not-for-profit and corporate sectors, she is experienced in the evaluation, design, management and leadership of educational programs in higher education, elementary schools, secondary schools and other community-based settings. She may not have launched a thousand ships, but she seems to have a thousand good ideas to build a community with a shared love of and engagement with literature.

Program Director, Double-Daring Camp for Girls

Jean Hall

Jean is a Brooklyn-based teacher from Silver Spring, Maryland. She was raised in a unique environment where she was encouraged to believe that she was unstoppable and that the world had no limits. In 2007, after graduating from the University of Virginia, Jean moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion. After several years in the fashion industry, Jean resigned from her position as an editor to pursue a career in education. In 2016, she became the Director of the Double- Daring Camp for Girls. Double- Daring is a platform Jean has developed under the mentorship of Crystal Bobb- Semple to inspire girls to believe in their limitlessness and follow their dreams. She hopes that Double-Daring will offer young girls the opportunity to escape the confines of traditional education and explore the vast variety of paths that the world has to offer. Jean is inspired by the imaginative spirit of children and endeavors to inspire them to follow their dreams.

Operations Director, Afterschool and Summer Camps

Timothy Ling

Tim found Camp Half-Blood many moons ago in the year 2012. After years of having his wits and strength tested by relentless monster ambushes, he arrived on the border of camp bloodied, bruised, and breathless. Upon crossing the threshold into camp he was immediately claimed by his Goddess mother, Athena. Tim is now 23 and has dedicated his summers to training younger demigods what it means to be a hero. He strives to impart unto the next generation of heroes, all the skills required for venturing out into the unknown. Teaching them to grapple with destiny and carve out their own personal legends. When the seasons demanded he leave Camp Half-Blood and rejoin the mortal world, Tim studied Business Administration and Economics at Hartwick college. He has trained in several martial arts, and finds serenity in Buddhist meditation practice as well as vinyasa yoga. While he is a devout Son of Athena, he often spends time hanging out with demigods from different parents. This summer he will be your guide, your friend, and your mentor.

Program Director, Afterschool & Summer Camps

Alex Tissiere

Alex’s own Quest to Plato Learning started in his hometown of Richmond, VA, where he first discovered the magic of storytelling through theatre. His thespian adventures led him to New York, where he graduated from NYU and embarked on an acting career in NYC. A former Counselor at Camp Half-Blood and a son of Hephaestus, Alex likes to get his hands dirty, in everything from crafting and building to getting outdoors for some hiking and rock-climbing. And just as Hephaestus helped teach the arts the mankind, Alex developed at NYU a dual passion to bring his skills and experience in theatre and the arts to students and children of all ages. From arts outreach programs at NYC public schools, to non-profit work with kids in Madagascar, to now helping create the magic at Plato Learning through the Adventures in Mythology after-school program and summers at Camp Half-Blood, Alex is committed to providing kids with the same experiences that started him on his Quest in the first place. He also happens to be committed to finding the best cheeseburger in all of New York (and the world), but that’s more of a side quest…