Matthew Mugo Fields is a man who wears many hats: he is the co-founder of Rocket Group, and President of GiftedandTalented.com, a subsidiary of Redbird Advanced Learning, in which he is also president. These companies, based in Silicon Valley, are partnered with Stanford University and serve as resources for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Fields is determined to revolutionize the way children learn and racially diversify the STEM fields (an acronym that identifies the academic concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.)
Fields’ passion for youth education stems from his own journey in school. He relocated to America from Barbados when he was in the fifth grade and attended an elementary school in Philadelphia. Fields, who had always been a high performing student, was confronted with a system that did not care about his future. He was placed in vocational track classes.
“They didn’t know what to do with me. I was trapped at the bottom,” he says.
His situation improved in high school. Two of his teachers supported him with extra help and tutoring sessions that facilitated his placement in honor classes. He also was accepted into Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he tutored students across the street from his dorm. It is clear that his lack of a quality education during his earlier years inspired him to launch a platform that helps students to meet their greatest potential.
Redbird Advanced Learning is a global digital program that offers assistance in language arts and math. The product is distributed to elementary, middle, and high schools. Teachers are instructed on how to use the product. Redbird fuses education with entertainment because its goal is to generate excitement for students to learn.
“It [school work] shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should feel like a gift,” Fields adds.
The business man, who also attended Harvard for graduate school advises entrepreneurs to focus on becoming excellent and finding people they can partner with who have the same commitment.
As for marketing, Fields lists research and results as his company’s primary tools.
“We’ve noticed that with the virtual tutor in the course, the students go two grade levels ahead,” he says. The feedback has been positive and only increases his motivation to bring dramatic results in the education system.
Fields is steadily developing ideas for Redbird. He and the co-founder, Hiram Perez, already incorporate video games to their product, and only have more ideas brewing.
“We’ve also been talking to movie producers and directors,” Fields says.
Fields believes his companies can build more opportunities for not only African American students, but for black business professionals as well. This feeds his determination to close the racial gap in the STEM industries.
“In my experience, the most diverse teams create the best human potential,” he remarks.
Families can purchase K-12 courses for at-home use on the GiftedandTalented website. Schools can purchase K-12 courses for in-classroom use on the Redbird Advanced Learning website.