We are an interdisciplinary team looking at learning holistically.


The most diverse life occurs at the intersection of ecosystems. We operate at the intersection of many of these systems: we are designers, educators, students, makers, programmers, big thinkers, and skilled implementers. Together, we design human-centered learning solutions for problems and purposes of the present.


Phil Holcombe is a designer and educator deeply curious about the relationship between design and learning. In 2010, he founded PlusUs, an interdisciplinary firm that would work at the intersection of these two fields. He is pleased to have had the opportunity to create human-centered learning solutions with schools, universities, museums, non-profits, and businesses nationally and internationally. Phil is an adjunct professor of design and education at the University of the Arts, and he serves on the Board of Trustees at the Charter High School for Architecture and Design. He holds his degree from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Twitter:  @PlusUs, @Phil_Holcombe


Garreth Heidt has developed innovative instruction methods for middle school through adult learners for almost 25 years. His practice has always been based in the pursuit of answers to two driving questions: “Why are things the way they are?” and “How can we make them better?” His own answers to these questions have lead him to create curricula that employ design- and project-based learning to develop students’ skills in critical viewing, civil discussion, and creative problem finding and solving. Garreth’s work has always lived at the intersection of the liberal arts and technology. He is a graduate of Temple University and holds a BA in English and a M.Ed in Curriculum, Technology, and Instruction.

Twitter: @ed_by_design


Joseph Torre has spent over 25 years facilitating strategy development in educational and Fortune 500 business settings. He has facilitated the development of large corporate business strategies, associate relation strategies, and corporate restructuring strategies. At PlusUs, Joseph develops communications strategy that underpins design projects and guides strategic planning efforts for schools. Joe’s background includes deep knowledge of psychology and human resources. He holds a certificate in conflict resolution from Cornell University, and a certificate in professional human resources management from Villanova University.


Jake Thierjung is a K-12 STEM certified science teacher who holds an M.Ed. in Administration, and another M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Jake brings an array of experiences to his work, having taught a variety of subjects in public, charter, and parochial schools. His working knowledge of educational practice and theory helps to inform the decisions PlusUs makes.


Matthew Callahan is a full-stack web developer with professional experience that includes mobile applications, custom business software, SCORM-based eLearning development, and CMS-driven web applications. He has been working in web development for over a decade and has launched sites for a variety of clients ranging from small nonprofits to large universities and national museums. Matthew holds a degree in Digital Media from Drexel University.


Chris Sterman has been designing engaging ways to teach high school students science for more than twenty years. He has taught physics in rural Zimbabwe, public and independent American schools, and has worked as a Classrooms For the Future Coach. Chris earned a BS in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MS in Science Education from Temple University. As a consultant he has developed STEM curriculum locally and internationally.


Steve Garstka is a certified physics and math teacher who earned his BS in physics from Drexel University and holds a Masters of Science in the Science of Instruction. Additionally, Steve has participated in the Master Teacher program, a teacher leadership program run by LaSalle University. Steve has led professional development opportunities, and has worked on STEM curricula locally and internationally.