Hack Reactor Names New Dean of San Francisco Campus

Published on

Founder and executive of leading independent gaming and edtech companies takes helm at Hack Reactor’s flagship school

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. August 6, 2015 – The Hack Reactor collective of in-person and online programming schools focused on student career outcomes – which graduates over 1,000 Software Engineers annually – announced today the appointment of Caroline Esmurdoc as the Dean of Hack Reactor’s onsite location in San Francisco. Esmurdoc brings over two decades of experience managing and growing businesses in executive roles at gaming and education technology companies.

Prior to accepting the role of Dean of Hack Reactor, Esmurdoc was the president of Animation Mentor, an online animation school that offers students mentors from Pixar Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Industrial Light and Magic and other animation industry leaders. Prior to leading Animation Mentor, she served as the company’s chief operating officer and vice president of product development. Esmurdoc’s executive career also includes roles as COO at global creative community Artella, COO at game development studio Double Fine Productions and CEO and founder at gaming company Circus Freak Studios.

Esmurdoc has a long history of growing small, independent-minded ventures into prominent industry players. She joined Animation Mentor when it had a single program and grew the school into the industry’s first online filmmaking program. This progress included the development of seven new classes and a distributed film pipeline. At Double Fine Productions, she established excellence in studio management and pioneered new production processes to successfully launch multiple critically acclaimed games and scale operations fourfold. At Circus Freak Studios, she managed all business development and publishing deals, produced multiple critically acclaimed games and established strong entertainment industry relations with licensing partners.

“Caroline’s unique combination of top-tier operational experience, tremendous qualifications and world class pedagogical instincts make her a tremendous asset to Hack Reactor’s leadership team,” said Hack Reactor CEO Anthony Phillips. “I have the utmost confidence that under her stewardship, Hack Reactor will continue to lead the industry in our commitment to student outcomes and the highest educational experience. Esmurdoc will be a huge asset in furthering our missions of data-driven education and empowering people. Leaders with Caroline’s level of ownership, judgment and intuition are extraordinarily rare. She will take the school to new heights and allow the executive team to invest in critical initiatives at the core of the company’s future. With Animation Mentor and Double Fine Productions, she proved that she can successfully lead companies into uncharted waters, all while growing the number of lives we touch.”

Esmurdoc plans to continue to strengthen the Hack Reactor brand, ensure the quality and relevance of the curriculum and cement the school’s position as California’s leading producer of high-caliber software engineers. She has long shared Hack Reactor’s philosophy of combining empathetic communication with a student outcomes-focused, results-driven culture.

“Hack Reactor is one of those rare companies that has truly revolutionized outcomes-based education and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen as their Dean,” said Esmurdoc. “I believe strongly in Hack Reactor’s values, emphasis on successful student outcomes and clear mission to transform education through rapid iteration instruction. I come to this role with the expectation that I will continue Hack Reactor’s legacy of excellence and also charter new directions for the school.”

Esmurdoc received her bachelor’s degree at Bucknell University, a master’s degree at University of California, San Francisco and studied Neurobiology as a PhD candidate at University of California, Berkeley before entering the electronic entertainment industry.

Hack Reactor’s interim Dean, Phillip Alexander, will transition into his new role as Chief Research Officer, driving further innovations in curriculum, organizational systems and teacher training. 

About Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor’s mission is two-fold: to empower people and to transform education through rapid-iteration teaching. Hack Reactor designs and conducts advanced immersion education programs that train students 11 hours per day, 6 days a week, over 12 weeks. Our curriculum cultivates mastery of computer science fundamentals and the JavaScript programming language. The Hack Reactor network of technology schools educates more software engineers every year than Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology, combined. Hack Reactor maintains a 99% employment rate and a median graduate salary of $110,000. Alumni work in a variety of mid- to senior-level engineering roles at industry leaders like Google, Adobe, LinkedIn, Uber and Amazon, as well as at several growing technology companies. For more information, visit:

Media Inquiries

Rachel Rocero
Hack Reactor
(415) 961-2412