Startup Spotlight: SILQ-EDU

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Allison Sheppard Nokes, Co-Founder of SILQ-EDU, has been involved with youth education for over fifteen years.  The SILQ-EDU data dashboard allows principals and program coordinators to pinpoint students who need intervention by bridging disparate school data.

Allison Sheppard Nokes SILQ-EDU

Allison Sheppard Nokes, Co-Founder of SILQ-EDU

Q: Tell me about yourself and SILQ-EDU.

A: I am Allison Sheppard Nokes and I have been a teacher and administrator for fifteen years. SILQ-EDU is a data platform that helps schools merge their student information, and access it in a central location. The problem is that schools use multiple data systems for things such as assessments, behavior, attendance, and grades. Our dashboard system uses this complete information to plainly identify students who are in need of intervention. Principals and school leaders know that they have the expertise and access to services that can help prevent drop-outs. We streamline the process of identifying the kids who are most critically at-risk of dropping out so principals can intervene sooner.

Q: What is the inspiration behind SILQ-EDU?

A: I have a Master’s degree in Ed-Tech Integration. Even as a classroom teacher, other teachers came to me for help with computers and technology. So, I have years of experience with the vast offering of ed-tech products which exist. Most schools use an average of three or more platforms with which to generate student data. One main value that the SILQ-EDU dashboard provides to schools is the aggregation of all of the data because let’s face it, it’s hard to use data that is separated out into so many different systems. Also, my partner, Borhan Samei, is a data scientist finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Memphis.  Borhan is responsible for the technology behind the SILQ-EDU dashboard.

Q: What have you learned in the past year that will benefit SILQ-EDU in the upcoming year?

A: Watching Start Co. pool resources and gather people together has inspired my thoughts regarding working together. I think Memphis is on the verge of a great explosion of growth, but the only way we are going to reap sustaining benefits from this growth is by working together as a community. Start Co. is an entrepreneurial community, but it is also a community-building organization. As a native Memphian, I’m excited to see what all of the Start Co. Accelerator teams will accomplish.

Q:  What has been your favorite memory at Start Co. so far?

A: Start Q was so much fun! It allowed us to socialize and build camaraderie with the other founders. I also appreciated the mentorship with local and non-local entrepreneurs and investors.  Good food, good drinks, and good people is a good combination.

Q: How do you take advantage of your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses?

A: One of my strengths is the ability to communicate with people easily. I love interacting with others. Everyone has a little seed planted inside themselves which can allow them to change the world. I love helping people tap into their passions and watching them figure out how to best contribute to the world.

My weakness is being excited about everything – which can get me distracted from priorities. To combat this, I set reminders on my calendar to block out my schedule. It allows me to set aside time when I have to get things done.

Q: What is your finish line?

A: I’m never finished, whether that is working on SILQ-EDU or finding another way to create a positive change in the world. Every day, I have a handful of pebbles in my hand, and the world is a big pond in front of me. I want to make sure that every pebble I throw in the pond causes a good ripple effect. Whether SILQ-EDU will be the pebble that I work on forever or something else is to be seen. I am never finished.


Allison Sheppard Nokes is Co-Founder of SILQ-EDU, a data-dashboard providing complete insight to educators.

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About Emma MacCurdy

Rhodes College'17 Business Major 2017 Start Co. Associate