Main Office

Al Cotter


Joan’s husband, Al Cotter, has many roles with Activities for Learning, Inc., primarily financial. He is also a sounding board for Joan’s lesson plans and a mentor to employees in business practices.

Al has a BSME degree (mechanical engineering) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked for 3M Company for 35 years in various technical and management positions. Al and Joan purchased a farm in Hutchinson MN, which they operated for 32 years. Upon retiring from 3M, Al joined the Corn Growers Association, where he led various state and national programs. His focus was using agriculture products as a resource for renewable energy.

Al enjoys this next stage of retirement working to assure that Activities for Learning, Inc. has a strong business structure so children can understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics.

Kathleen Cotter Lawler

Vice President and General Manager

Kathleen Cotter Lawler is the daughter of Dr. Joan A. Cotter, author and creator of the RightStart™ Mathematics program. She was one of the first children to grow up under the Activities for Learning principles. Kathleen has a degree in Home Economics from the University of Minnesota and has two Masters Degrees from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Kathleen is the mother of four children ages 20 to 25. Three of the Lawler children have graduated from North Dakota State University and the youngest is attending college at the University of Minnesota.

Kathleen is currently responsible for program development support, marketing, sales, and general management. She travels all across the US and Canada, sharing the RightStart mission of helping children understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics. She is currently leading an online class with a group of middle-school students. In her spare time, Kathleen designs and sews quilts and is re-learning how to unicycle.

You may contact Kathleen Cotter Lawler via email at,  by calling 866-354-9003 or writing to her at 321 Hill Street, Hazelton ND 58544.


Office Manager

Maren has a Bachelors Degree in design and art from North Dakota State University. She is responsible for marketing, convention support, along with other general office functions. She travels to conventions within the US and Canada to help children benefit from using RightStart Math and is co-teaching the online class for middle-school students.

She has 25 years of accounting and customer service experience. Maren is married with three children ranging from elementary to adult. Maren uses RightStart Math with her youngest daughter, who has excelled in math for this very reason. She enjoys painting, reading, camping, home improvements, and landscaping. You can contact her at


Data Processing and Customer Service

Eileen is the data processor and the voice behind the phone. She is a native of Washington state. She is married and has five children. She loves camping and outdoor activities, including both vegetable and flower garden creations. She loves painting and building things with her husband. Eileen spent many years providing child care in her own childcare facility. You can reach her at



Kelsie has a degrees in medical transcription and management. She grew up in Michigan and moved to the area a few years ago with her husband, and their dogs, Cali and Kugel. When she is not busy designing, she enjoys home improvement projects and creative craft projects. She loves Christmas and has ten decorated trees in her house to celebrate the season!


Convention Coordinator

Constance is the person that gets the RightStart people to and from your favorite conventions! She schedules the booths, flights, hotels, and all the details in between. Constance is an engineer by education but currently is focusing her after-hours attention on the unicycling communities around her town, state, and country and on salsa dancing! For a quick glimpse of Constance’s skills, click here (she’s on the tall red one). She can be reached at


Warehouse and Assembly

Sharon supervises the warehouse, keeping the shipments processed, maintaining the inventory, and running interference where needed. She spends her free time making candles, playing computer games and reading. Sharon and her husband live in a neighboring town. Her daughter is attending college in Michigan. She can be reached at



Tammy manages the printing of our books and other related material. She lives in a nearby town with her husband of 42 years and has two grown children and five grandchildren. Tammy keeps herself busy following her grandchildren’s activities, including BMX racing, basketball, soccer, and music. Tammy also enjoys gardening and bike riding.


Shipping and Assembly

Judy grew up in Hazelton, ND and graduated from Hazelton High School. She married a local farmer 40 years ago and has three children, four beautiful granddaughters, and, finally, a grandson. Judy is our shipping specialist and works diligently on assembly of our many math materials. She enjoys sewing, reading, and gardening.


Warehouse and Printing

Laurie is one of our valuable team members in both the printing and shipping departments. She also will assist with the assembly work when she is needed. She is married and has three children. She lives on the family farm, located near a neighboring town. In her spare time she enjoys baking, sewing, and reading.



Bernice is a grandmother of nine and is expecting her first great grandchild very soon. Bernice is a native of the area, enjoys time with her family, keeping up the grandkids, and reading when she gets a quiet minute. Bernice is the master of our assembly team and tries to keep Judy and Laurie in line.





What our Customers Are Saying

Thank you so much for your Right Start Math Curriculum. I have been using it for 3 years with my son and my daughter is beginning her second year. I love the strategies you use for teaching math and the lessons are fun to teach.
Jennifer Traugott