People On The Move
New Leaders Named at Tools 4 Reading, Newsela, ParentSquare, Age of Learning, DreamBox Learning, GoGuardian, PLTW, City Fund
Executive, Board Roles Announced for Dodson, Franco, Sreetharan, West, Poggio, Smith, Ya, Dimmett, and Marshall – Plus the ALAS 2022-23 Awards Recipients
- By Kristal Kuykendall
THE Journal invites submissions about new hires and promotions among ed tech industry management and K–12 public school administration in the United States.
“People on the Move” publishes every few weeks with news items about “movers and shakers” among K–12 school administrators, nonprofits serving K–12 schools, and ed tech providers serving the K–12 sector in the United States. The archives can be accessed at any time at THEJournal.com/articles/list/people-on-the-move.
A formal news release is not necessary to get an item published in People on the Move — though they are welcome, too; email news releases to [email protected].
Anyone may submit news items about new leadership and management changes at K–12 ed tech companies and at nonprofits in the K–12 ed tech space by completing the form at bit.ly/EdTechPeopleNews.
To submit information about new hires and promotions among K–12 public schools administration, complete the form at bit.ly/K12AdminNews.
Literacy Expert Judi Dodson Joins Tools 4 Reading
Judi Dodson, an acclaimed author and literacy expert with more than 20 years as an educator and trainer of teachers, has joined Tools 4 Reading as Trainer Relations and Learning Consultant.
Dodson authored 50 Nifty Activities for 5 Components and 3 Tiers of Reading Instruction, which helps teachers implement the Science of Reading and make critical instructional decisions. She also is the author of 50 Nifty Speaking and Listening Activities to Promote Oral Language and Comprehension as well as Venture Town series, both of which will be available soon from Tools 4 Reading, according to a news release.
“Judi’s belief is that literacy is a social justice, equity and inclusivity issue, which adds passion to her work with teachers and students and makes her the perfect fit for Tools 4 Reading as we grow,” said Tools 4 Reading President Mary Dahlgren.
Dodson serves as an advisor to education organizations on issues such as school transformation, teacher knowledge, and literacy achievement. She has served as a board member for the International Dyslexia Association in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Branch and for Horizons at Colorado Academy, a summer program in Denver for children from high-risk schools.
She also is president of Peruvian Hearts, a nonprofit working to provide education and leadership skills young women in Peru.
Learn more at Tools4Reading.com.
Camila Franco Takes Lead on Product Strategy at Newsela
Newsela has named Camila Franco as its new Senior Vice President of Product, where she will oversee the vision, strategy, and marketplace success of Newsela's ed tech solutions, according to a news release.
Franco most recently served in a SaaS product management role at Postclick, an automated digital advertising product., and she previously led product management and e-commerce teams at StubHub, GoodMoney, and Walmart.
Franco will “work closely with executive leadership across the business to drive optimal product strategy that will meet the needs of teachers and students,” Newsela said.
Learn more at Newsela.com.
Sashangar Sreetharan is ParentSquare’s New Chief Financial Officer
Home-school unified communications provider ParentSquare has hired Sashangar “Sash” Sreetharan as its Chief Financial Officer, where he will lead the company’s accounting and finance functions, the company said in a news release.
With extensive experience in business operations and finance, Sreetharan began his career as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and then as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. Most recently, he was vice president of Serent Capital’s portfolio operations group, where he worked closely with the ParentSquare team, the company said.
Sreetharan holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University where he graduated summa cum laude.
Learn more at ParentSquare.com.
Ed Tech Veteran Ty West New Chief Revenue Officer at Age of Learning
Age of Learning, creator of the ABCmouse Early Learning Academy, has named industry veteran Ty West to a newly created role of Chief Revenue Officer, Schools Division, according to a news release.
West will lead the expansion of the Schools Division, focusing on Age of Learning’s K–12 solutions, including adaptive mastery learning programs My Math Academy and My Reading Academy.
For the last 15 years, West served as vice president at Imagine Learning, where he oversaw market strategies, built high-performing sales teams, and collaborated with education leaders at every level, Age of Learning noted.
“West will focus on district implementations of Age of Learning’s patented Personalized Mastery Learning System, including the newly released My Math Academy and My Reading Academy programs, which are the result of more than eight years of research and development, and extensive in-classroom testing with multiple efficacy studies involving thousands of students,” the announcement said.
Learn more at AgeofLearning.com.
DreamBox Learning Taps Andrew Poggio as Vice President, Data & Analytics
Andrew Poggio has joined DreamBox Learning as its new Vice President, Data & Analytics.
Poggio most recently served in a similar role at Lexia Learning; he holds a master’s degree from Boston College and has completed doctoral coursework from the University of Iowa.
Poggio is a “values and purpose-driven data and analytics leader” with nearly 20 years of progressive leadership experience in ed tech, according to information submitted to THE Journal. “Bridging the gap between data and strategy, Poggio's passion is solving problems and uncovering opportunities through practical applications of research, data science, and advanced analytics leading to transformation for customers, internal teams, and overall business objectives.”
Poggio was responsible for research, data, and analytics functions in previous leadership roles at Lexia Learning, McGraw-Hill, Discovery Education, and Edmentum.
At DreamBox, Poggio will lead efforts to drive innovation in by using state-of-the-art data and analytics capabilities to serve educators and learners.
Learn more at DreamBoxLearning.com.
Dionna Smith Named as GoGuardian’s First Chief Diversity Officer
Ed tech provider GoGuardian has named Dionna Smith as the company's first Chief Diversity Officer, according to a news release.
Smith brings more than 15 years of experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership, inclusive product design, and multicultural marketing, the company said.
GoGuardian — whose instruction, curriculum, and safety products are used by 25 million K–12 students across 6,300 U.S. school districts — said Smith “will create and execute strategies to build inclusive and diverse teams that will in turn guide the creation of inclusive products, and work towards a future where all learners are ready and inspired to solve the world's greatest challenges.”
Among many career honors and accolades, Smith was selected for Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2015 40 Under 40 Awards, and she received the National Diversity Council's Diversity Champion award and the Mogul's 2021 Top DEI Leaders Award. She serves on the advisory boards at nonprofit Power To Fly and at Employee Benefits News.
Most recently, Smith served as Thumbtack's Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, where she was responsible for ensuring equity in opportunities for minority business owners using the Thumbtack platform, and for leading the company’s inclusive culture. Previously, Smith led Diverse Talent Strategies at Delta Airlines and held multicultural branding, talent and DEI roles at LexisNexis, Cisco Systems and Fiserv.
Learn more at GoGuardian.com.
LinkedIn Executive Ya Xu Joins GoGuardian Board of Directors
GoGuardian recently announced the addition of Ya Xu, an industry-leading expert on data science, to its board of directors. Ya is Vice President of Engineering and Head of Data and AI at LinkedIn.
“Ya brings deep expertise in data science to the board of directors, helping GoGuardian better deliver ethical, data-driven educational technologies that benefit students, educators, and society as a whole,” GoGuardian said in a news release.
GoGuardian has several K–12 solutions that use data-driven machine learning, including:
- GoGuardian Admin, which blocks harmful, inappropriate, or distracting content on school-issued devices
- GoGuardian Beacon, a student safety solution that analyzes online activity for signs that students may need mental health resources
- TutorMe, an on-demand online education platform that uses data science to match students with the best online tutors in under 30 seconds
The company said its data-centric research and development will continue to grow as it “pursues its mission to build the ultimate learning platform.”
In her role at LinkedIn, Ya leads a global team of about 1,000 data scientists and engineers focused on “delivering economic opportunity to LinkedIn's members and customers,” GoGuardian said. “Since joining the company in 2013, her leadership has been a driving force in transforming LinkedIn into a data-first company.”
GoGuardian’s new board member is also the co-author of Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments, a book about how best to accelerate online innovation. She was spotlighted in Fortune's 2020 class of 40 Under 40 in Technology and nominated for VentureBeat's 2020 Women in AI Awards.
Prior to working at LinkedIn, she worked as an applied researcher at Microsoft; Ya holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford University.
PLTW Names David Dimmett as President and CEO
The Board of Directors of Project Lead The Way, a national nonprofit working to provide transformative learning experiences in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science for PreK–12 students and teachers, has named David Dimmett, Ed.D., as its next president and CEO, according to a news release.
Dimmett has been serving as interim president and CEO at PLTW; previously, he was the PLTW Chief Impact Officer focused on equity, access, and supporting PLTW’s mission through research, government relations, policy, advancement, and strategic partnerships, the organization said.
Prior to joining PLTW, Dimmett served as the Chief Academic Officer of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Southwest Indiana, where he “was instrumental in leading innovation and unprecedented improvements in student achievement,” PLTW noted.
He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, an MS in Curriculum and Instruction, and a BA in English from Indiana University. He also holds a Master of Business Operational Excellence degree from Ohio State University’s Fisher College.
Learn more at PLTW.org.
City Fund Names Marlon Marshall New CEO as Founder Departs
National K–12 education nonprofit City Fund has named Marlon Marshall to lead the organization as CEO, as founder Neerav Kingsland steps down from the role of managing partner, according to a news release.
“As schools struggle to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic and the associated learning loss, City Fund is doubling down on its strategy of helping cities create a system of quality schools that meet the diverse needs of all students,” the organization told supporters in a Thursday email obtained by The 74. “Marlon is well positioned to lead City Fund in the next stage of its work.”
Marshall has worked as a political strategist for progressive consulting firms and as a special assistant to President Barack Obama, and he served in leadership roles in Obama’s re-election campaign and in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The City Fund email to stakeholders said Marshall is the son of a 35-year public school teacher in St. Louis.
Kingsland, who will serve as a senior advisor for the remainder of 2022 and is slated to join City Fund’s board next year, is reportedly planning career moves outside of the education sector.
Learn more at City-Fund.org.
Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents Unveils 2022-2023 Leadership Awards
The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents recently announced the winners of its 2022-2023 Leadership Awards following a program where the recipients were honored “for their extraordinary education advocacy and leadership,” according to a news release.
The honorees are:
- ALAS 2022 Trailblazer Award – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
- ALAS 2022 Estrella Award – Illinois Senator Karina Villa
- ALAS 2022 Friends of ALAS Award – Anthony Kim, CEO of Education Elements
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Kathy Hurley, Consultant
- Community Partner Award – UnidosUS
- Latino Equity Champion Award – Dr. Betty Rosa, Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York
- Leader of Inspiration Award – Carlos Cobian, Entrepreneur and CEO of Cobian Media
- Legend Award – Panfilo Contreras, Executive Director of AZ-ALAS
- ALAS National Superintendent of the Year Award – Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, CT
- Latino Serving Superintendent of the Year, Past – Dr. Roosevelt Nivens, Superintendent, Lamar CISD, TX
- Latino Serving Superintendent of the Year, Present – Dr. Calvin Watts, Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA
- Latino Assistant Superintendent of the Year – Dr. Ruth Pérez, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Riverside County Office of Education, CA
- Latino Serving Assistant Superintendent of the Year – Dr. Tommy Welch, Head of Culture and Community, the Lovett School, GA
- Latino Central Office Administrator of the Year – Araceli Medina, Director of Multilingual Services, Valley View School District 365U, IL
- Latino Serving Central Office Administrator of the Year – Dan Swartz, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Skokie School District 73.5, IL
- Latino Technology Champion of the Year – Sophia Mendoza, Instructional Technology Initiative Director, LAUSD, CA
- Latino National Principal of the Year – Carmen Vargas, Principal, Uriah Hill Elementary School, Peekskill City School District, NY
- Latino Administrator of the Year – Dr. James Martinez, Education Administrator for Counseling and Social Services, Norwalk Public Schools, CT.
Learn more about ALAS at alasedu.org/.