Teaching kids proper health

Cummins Station-based HealthTeacher enjoys most successful year 
of its brief history

There are strong years for companies — and then there are breakthrough years.

In 2011, HealthTeacher enjoyed 
the latter.

Founded in 2008 and with its HealthTeacher.com providing a health curriculum for K-12 teachers and health educators alike, the Nashville-based company achieved various milestones on multiple fronts.

Company CEO Scott McQuigg offered a significant list of major achievements for HealthTeacher, almost going so far as to say that 2011 — “a big year for us” — brought more changes and successes to the company than did the previous three years combined.

“The biggest highlight [of 2011] is our network of communities deploying the resources of HealthTeacher now reaches 6 million students,” said McQuigg, a former business journalist.

On the student number theme, HealthTeacher (which offers clients sponsored-model and direct-purchase options) now has a network of 10,466 schools, 850 school districts and 34,500 teachers as registered users. It is working with nine of the 15 largest U.S. school districts.

HealthTeacher benefits from its versatility. The company’s website notes “K-12 teachers will find the lessons useful, regardless of whether they have professional preparation as health educators. Health educators involved in homeschooling, community based health and mental health centers will also find it helpful.”

With versatility comes usage. McQuigg declined to provide specific revenue numbers. However, he said revenue for calendar year 2011 was 50 percent higher than in 2010. In addition, he said revenue has grown from quarter to quarter since the company’s founding.

During the past 15 months or so, HealthTeacher aggressively addressed education, technology, product development, marketing and sales, said McQuigg (seen at center in photo and flanked by company Vice President of Product John Herbold and Debra Hopkins, regional vice president for community and learning solutions).

“We rolled out a new interactive product for school and students in 2011,” he said. “It’s a web app that teaches kids how to use deep breathing to reduce stress [particularly related to test-taking]. It’s getting rave reviews.”

The app fits nicely with HealthTeacher’s mission of improving the health of children — “not only for today,” McQuigg said, “but for their lifelong health.”
Also, the company added 22 employees during the past year, with 10 of those working in Nashville.

Of those hires, John Herbold, vice president of product, started in June 2011 after previously having served at Apple as a senior product manager.

Another major change for HealthTeacher involved a summer 2011 move from a 2,000-square-foot space in Maryland Farms in suburban Brentwood to a nearly 7,000-square-foot office in Cummins Station in downtown Nashville.

“We needed more space and we felt like being more centrally located in the city would be an attraction to the type talent we want to recruit,” McQuigg said.
With great momentum, McQuigg said 2012 should be stellar for HealthTeacher. “This summer, we will launch a whole new series of games and apps for the classroom and outside the classroom,” he said. “It goes back to the investment in product development and technology.”

Looking back, McQuigg is pleased with all the progress HealthTeacher has made. But work remains.

“We’re hitting on all cylinders, but we are tackling the biggest health issue in our country: the health of future generations,” he said. “Given the investments we’ve made and the team we’ve added, we’re moving into having a full spectrum of products for adults and kids.”