About Us

Our Team

Unmatched experience in educational enrichment programs internationally.

Rick Sommer

Co-Founder, CEO

Rick Sommer is an education leader and innovator with a mission to create academic programs that engage young people in learning, inspire them, develop their curiosity, and bring them together from all over the world to share their ideas and learn from each other.

After completing his doctorate in mathematics from UC Berkeley, Rick held a research position at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) before coming to Stanford University as a Gábor Szegö Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics, where he carried out research in mathematical logic and taught a wide range of mathematics courses. At the conclusion of Rick's term in the Mathematics Department in 1995, Rick co-founded the Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC), which was his first time experiencing the delight of working with exceptionally talented high school students. This led Rick on a pathway in pre-collegiate education where he continued teaching for SUMaC, and serving as Director until 2020. Simultaneous with his early role with SUMaC, Rick began developing online courses for Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) where he became Deputy Director in 1998. This role included leading the instructional unit for the EPGY online courses, as well as developing and building up EPGY's residential summer programs.

In 2012, EPGY transformed into Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS), providing a home to the Stanford Online High School as well as over a dozen summer and year-around pre-collegiate programs serving over 3000 students on campus annually (pre-pandemic). Under SPCS, Rick had executive responsibilities with both online and on-campus activities, and he played a key role in developing and launching the Summer Humanities Institute, Stanford AI4ALL and the Pre-Collegiate International Institutes, as well as several other premier pre-collegiate programs. Rick served as Executive Director of SPCS from 2015 until November 2020.

Rick is also co-founder and board member of the national non-profit AI4ALL, working toward a future where diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and voices unlock AI’s potential to benefit humanity, and he is treasurer of Gathering 4 Gardner, an organization that stimulates curiosity and the playful exchange of ideas and critical thinking in recreational math, magic, science, literature, and puzzles to preserve the legacy of writer and polymath Martin Gardner.

Jeanette Cook

Co-Founder, COO

Jeanette Cook’s professional career spans over three decades leading teams to improve education for diverse communities of learners.

Jeanette is the former Director of International Programs at Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS), where she led academic enrichment programs for international middle and high school students in partnership with education organizations in over 30 countries. As Director, Jeanette was responsible for the program design and academic staff of the International Institutes, attended by over 600 students each year on the Stanford campus (pre-pandemic), and for the Honors Academies, serving over 400 students annually in select international locations.

Prior to SPCS, Jeanette worked for Redbird Advanced Learning, an education technology start-up and for Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), where she coordinated two multi-year research projects under Patrick Suppes, Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University, focused on measuring the efficacy of online learning.

Prior to EPGY, Jeanette worked for Cadence Design Systems, a leading provider of electronic design automation software, where she led global teams and built partnerships with major semiconductor companies including Intel, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, Philips, and ST Micro as Senior Director of Quality. She also served as Director of Curriculum Development for Cadence’s Education Services group, where she led development of technical training curriculum and online tutorials for their customers.

Jeanette has presented at the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and at the American Education Research Association (AERA). She travels frequently and has presented to schools in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Singapore and the Philippines.

Jeanette received a BS in Information Systems from University of San Francisco and completed the Ross Executive Program at the University of Michigan. Jeanette lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her husband and two dogs where she enjoys playing tennis and spending time in nature.

Our Story

After leaving Stanford in Fall 2020, Rick and Jeanette teamed up with shared passion for providing outstanding educational experiences to talented and motivated students worldwide. They formed Pre-Collegiate Pathways as an independent venture that could serve as a platform for education innovation and high quality academic programs. No longer part of Stanford University, they are designing and offering new programs that build on themes of academic excellence, global awareness and multicultural engagement.