The Gaggle Story

Jeff Patterson wanted to bring the power of digital communication to schools to engage and motivate students. Understanding that student safety was a primary concern, Jeff created a system that identifies suspicious items and allows control and transparency for teachers and administrators.

Since the inception of Gaggle as a student email provider in 1998, the company has grown significantly adding products that help schools create safe learning environments. When asked why he chose the name “Gaggle,” Jeff replies: “Our goal was to give teachers an easy way to watch over their gaggle of students.” Jeff’s vision of student-centric schools using cutting-edge technology to safely inspire creativity and ingenuity remains the driving force in Gaggle’s ongoing story.

Meet the Leaders at Gaggle

Headshot of Jeff Patterson

Jeff Patterson

Founder & CEO
Jeff Patterson has been starting businesses since he was five. Some were failures while others were marginal survivors, and those prior businesses set the groundwork for the success of Gaggle. Seeking a solution to manage student safety issues, Jeff founded Gaggle as a secure student email provider in 1999. As trends in risky student behavior like self-harm, violence toward others, cyberbullying, and child pornography grew, he expanded Gaggle’s offering to include products that help schools create safe learning environments. Unable to find investors when he first launched the company, Jeff has enjoyed not having a boss for the past two decades and uses this freedom to express his creativity and sense of fun—all while helping save kids. 
Headshot of Heather Durkac

Heather Durkac

Vice President, Operations
With a focus on providing support and guidance for Gaggle educational partners, Heather Durkac oversees an award-winning Customer Service team, the vital Safety Management team, and the superb Implementation, Professional Development, and Account Management teams. Heather brings nearly 20 years of experience in management, customer relations, and training from both the corporate sector and the K-12 environment. Passionate about keeping students safe, she values the partnership with customers to ensure school leaders and staff are equipped with the means to effectively respond to student safety concerns. 
Headshot of Bill McCullough

Bill McCullough

Vice President, Sales
A seasoned sales vice president with over two decades of experience in education and commercial accounts, Bill McCullough is responsible for directing Gaggle’s national sales efforts. Prior to joining Gaggle, Bill was vice president at Odysseyware, a provider of online curriculum and learning solutions. He also spent time as a regional vice president at CompassLearning, which followed a 13-year career in various management roles at IBM. A father of two, Bill is passionate about making a positive impact on children’s lives while keeping them safe and secure every day.
Headshot of Paget Hetherington

Paget Hetherington

Vice President, Marketing
Paget Hetherington has dedicated more than three decades to enhancing education for children, leading sales and marketing efforts for global publishing and EdTech companies. As the vice president of Marketing at Gaggle, Paget's focus is the safety and well-being of students, ensuring that schools are a secure environment for children to learn and thrive. Prior to Gaggle, Paget led marketing efforts with industry sector leaders VitalSource, Mimio, Lexia Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dorling Kindersley, and Vivendi Universal Publishing.
Headshot of Ron Zoibi

Ron Zoibi

Chief Financial Officer
Ron Zoibi brings to Gaggle more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, consulting, human resources, technology, and tax strategies for closely held businesses. Prior to joining Gaggle, Ron served as CFO of ghSMART, the gold standard in management advisory services to private equity and Fortune 500 companies, as well as CFO of Pro Financial Services Inc, the largest specialty disability insurance agency in North America. Along with the responsibility of leading strategy, finance, recruiting, and HR for Gaggle, Ron is an active member of the American Institute of Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, and the National Society of Tax Professionals. Ron holds a CPA, an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management, and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois.