People on the Move
Schmedlen, Mullin, Blackman, Clerkley, Vijiasingam, Terry, Crawford, & Hansen Take New Ed Tech Leadership Roles
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Editor’s Note: THE Journal welcomes submissions about new hires and promotions among ed tech industry executives and K–12 public school administrators in the United States. Contributed news items will be published regularly on THEJournal.com; the archives can be accessed at any time at THEJournal.com/articles/list/people-on-the-move.
To submit news about new leadership and management changes at K–12 ed tech companies and at nonprofits in the K–12 ed tech space, complete the form at bit.ly/EdTechPeopleNews. To submit news about new hires and promotions among K–12 public schools administration, complete the form at bit.ly/K12AdminNews. News releases should be emailed to [email protected].
Texthelp Taps Industry Veteran Gus Schmedlen as Chief Revenue Officer
Literacy and assistive technology provider Texthelp has appointed Gus Schmedlen, Ed.D., as its new Chief Revenue Officer, the company said in a news release.
With more than two decades in ed tech, Schmedlen previously served as president and CRO at Merlyn Mind, a venture-backed AI education technology firm; he also was previously vice president and Head of Worldwide Education at global technology leader HP, where he oversaw a period of rapid expansion and led international efforts to improve access to quality education for marginalized students, Texthelp said.
Schmedlen is a member of the Board of Governors of JA Worldwide; the Board of Advisors at the mEducation Alliance; and the Board of Directors of the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts. He also chairs the Leadership Council of the Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education. Schmedlen earned a B.A. in Classics from Colgate University, an MBA from Duke University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Mullin Joins DreamBox Learning as Chief Marketing Officer
DreamBox Learning recently announced that Jennifer Mullin is joining its executive team as Chief Marketing Officer to lead marketing strategy, including brand management, corporate communications, marketing operations, and demand creation, according to a news release.
Mullin’s career as a marketing leader spans over two decades across several competitive, fast-evolving sectors including e-commerce, entertainment, cybersecurity, and education technology; she has held leadership positions at Leapfrog Enterprises, Visa, Evite, and Gap, among others. Most recently, Mullin was Vice President of Marketing for Malwarebytes, a SaaS cybersecurity firm.
In her role as Chief Marketing Officer, Mullin will work with DreamBox executive leadership and its sales, product, and customer success teams to connect more school districts with DreamBox’s mathematics and reading solutions, the company said.
Mullin joins the company at a key moment in education when school districts, administrators, and educators leverage proven, personalized, and engaging blended learning solutions to accelerate student growth toward proficiency. Serving 6 million students and 400,000 educators, DreamBox is the only dual-discipline software solution rated “Strong” by Johns Hopkins’ EvidenceforESSA.org in both mathematics and reading, according to the company’s announcement.
Stride Names Donna Blackman New Chief Financial Officer
Digital learning provider Stride has named Donna Blackman as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1, the company said in a news release.
Blackman, who has served as Stride’s Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer for the past two years, takes the reins from CFO Timothy Medina, who is retiring, Stride said.
With more than two decades of experience in finance and operations, Blackman “brings a wide breadth of expertise in accounting and strategic planning to the CFO role,” the company said.
Prior to 2020, Blackman served as the Senior Vice President of Business Operations at BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, where she oversaw an organization responsible for finance, strategy, research, live events, security, facilities, and operations. Previously, Blackman also held roles as Senior Vice President and Head of Finance, Senior Vice President Financial Planning and Analysis, and Senior Vice President Finance and Controller.
Earlier in her career, Blackman — who is also a Certified Public Accountant — worked for both Marriott International and KPMG in a variety of leadership roles in accounting and finance positions. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University.
ISTE Appoints Cheretta Clerkley to Chief Operations Officer Role
The International Society for Technology in Education has appointed Cheretta Clerkley as Chief Operations Officer of ISTE, the organization said in a news release.
Clerkley most recently served as acting chief of the Division of Education at the American Psychiatric Association, where she led a team of 25 and managed high-impact quality certification programs and go-to-market strategies. Under her leadership, the Division of Education fully integrated into an educational hub that became a leading force for mental health education, ISTE said.
Prior to APA, Clerkley directed the Endocrine Society's Hormone Health Network, where she built a team of credentialed employees and generated over $1.5 million in recurring corporate sponsorships. In this role, she revitalized the corporate funding program and redesigned their flagship Menopause Map. Her award-winning marketing strategies resulted in the Endocrine Society's Hormone Health Network receiving top honors from the prestigious Web Health Awards.
Clerkley earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University and completed her Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She is also a Forum’s Forty Under 40 Honoree.
Instructure Names Shiren Vijiasingam as Chief Product Officer
Instructure, the maker of Canvas, has named Shiren Vijiasingam as the company's new chief product officer, according to a news release. Vijiasingam will play a pivotal role in building the Instructure Learning Platform and driving growth through product adoption, the company said.
Vijiasingam replaces Mitch Benson, who has been named Instructure’s Chief Strategy Officer, where he will oversee global strategy for both higher ed and K–12.
Vijiasingam brings over two decades of product experience and more than 10 years in education technology, Instructure said. He previously was Chief Product Officer at both Newsela, where he led the launch of three product lines driving double-digit revenue growth, and General Assembly, where he and his team “built a digital product experience that improved user engagement, drove exponential revenue growth, and increased renewals, which contributed to the company's sale to staffing firm Adecco in 2018,” according to the news release.
Safari Montage Names Shannon Terry and Kate Crawford to VP Roles
Safari Montage has added two “superstar ed tech leaders” to its executive team: Shannon Terry is the company’s new Vice President of National Strategic Accounts; and Kate Crawford is the new Vice President of Strategic Accounts, according to a news release.
As Vice President of National Strategic Accounts for Safari Montage, Terry “will work closely with school districts to provide strategic vision and direction on implementing and effectively leveraging Safari Montage solutions in their digital ecosystems,” the company said. Terry most recently was Division Director of Program Integration Strategy at the Texas Education Agency. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Dallas Independent School District. She also previously served as Professional Learning Director at Arlington ISD and as Director of Bilingual Education/ESL Programs at Garland ISD.
Terry earned her master’s in bilingual, multilingual and multicultural education at Southern Methodist University; her Mid-Management Administrator Certification in Educational Leadership at Texas Christian University; and her Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership degree from Lamar University.
Crawford will join Safari Montage next month as Vice President of Strategic Accounts. For the past three decades, she served as Director of Digital Learning and Media Services at Fayette County (Georgia) Public Schools. In her new role, Crawford will work closely with Chicago Public Schools as the district continues capitalizing on the Safari Montage Learning Object Repository as the “interoperable foundation for their Skyline Digital Curriculum initiative,” along with other key K–12 school districts, Safari Montage said.
Crawford earned her master’s in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from University of West Georgia and Ed.S. Specialist certifications in Instructional Technology from Valdosta State University and in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University.
Building Hope Names William D. Hansen as President and CEO
Building Hope, a non-profit provider for charter school facilities, financing, and services, said its Board of Directors has unanimously chosen William D. Hansen to succeed S. Joseph Bruno as Building Hope’s new President and CEO.
Hansen, who most recently served as President and CEO of the Strada Education Network, will begin his new role on Oct. 3, 2022. Bruno has said he plans to retire next year, according to a news release.
Hansen brings extensive experience in the corporate, government, investment, social impact, philanthropy, and policy sectors, Building Hope said. “While serving as President and CEO of the Strada Education Network, he created the $2 billion national social impact fund and organization that is dedicated to helping learners build more purposeful pathways to and from postsecondary education and into rewarding careers,” the news release said. Hansen initially served as President and CEO of USA Funds, then the nation's largest guarantor of student loans, “which he successfully managed and transitioned from its legacy business, and in doing so, created the platform to launch Strada,” Building Hope said.
Hansen has served in two key roles to which he was appointed by the U.S. President: He was Deputy Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush, and previously was ED’s Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, he has served in other key leadership positions at the Departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce.
A member of nonprofit Boards of Directors at The Jackie Robinson Foundation and Youth For Tomorrow (founded by Joe Gibbs), Hansen also serves on the board of Green Street Impact Partners and several other education-related corporate boards. Hansen has served on four state education commissions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Building Hope said.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from George Mason University and attended Idaho State University.