Partnership for 21st Century Skills Gets New Boss
- By Dian Schaffhauser
An organization that focuses on educating students for next-generation skills has hired a new leader. Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has brought on Helen Soulé as its full-time executive director to replace Steven Paine, who is stepping down as president of P21 and becoming an advisor on special projects. Soulé has already held several other leadership positions at P21, including interim executive director and director of state outreach efforts.
Soulé has many years of experience in preschool through undergraduate education leadership at the local, state and national level. A former elementary school teacher and district administrator in Mississippi, she also served as director of that state's Department of Education Office of Technology. At the national level, Soulé was chief of staff to the assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education in the United States Department of Education. She was also executive director of Cable in the Classroom, the cable industry's education foundation.
P21 is the author of a framework laying out the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the current century. The skills at the heart of the framework encompass the four "Cs": creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communications and collaboration. The consortia is a major supporter of the Common Core State Standards.
P21 was founded in 2002 to bring together business, education and policymakers to promote 21st century readiness in K-12 education. Among the founding members were the Department of Education, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft and the National Education Association.
P21's state network has grown to 19, representing more than 20 million K-12 students — 41 percent of the student population.
Over the next year, the organization expects to push research and policy that shows the connection between 21st century learning and student achievement.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.