People on the Move
Executive Appointments Announced at SESI, GoGuardian, Newsela, Matriculate, CAE, Cypher Learning, Territorium, EverDriven, The Nora Project
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Executive leadership appointments recently announced in the K–12 ed tech sector include Dawn Thomas at Specialized Education Services; Michael Jonas at GoGuardian; Jason Ediger at Newsela; Craig Robinson at Matriculate; Michael Woods at Council for Aid to Education; Jennifer Geisler and Matt Kane at Cypher Learning; Jonell Sanchez, Keith Look, Rebecca Busacca, Julie Murphy, Joe Green, and Eric Stoller at Territorium; Todd Provino at EverDriven; and Jen Newton at The Nora Project.
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]
Specialized Education Services Taps Dawn Thomas as New President
Specialized Education Services Inc., a provider of education services for K–12 students who require additional supports, has named Dawn Thomas as its new president.
“Dawn Thomas brings an impressive set of managerial leadership skills to SESI, and her mission-driven approach makes her particularly well-suited to lead the organization into its next successful chapter,” said Jeffrey Cohen, CEO of FullBloom, SESI’s parent company. “Data and anecdotal evidence show that kids today are really struggling, and that the struggle is amplified for students with special needs. We are thrilled to welcome Dawn aboard as the leader of a passionate SESI team focused on providing the critical educational and behavioral supports these students depend upon.”
Thomas joins SESI from DaVita, the national leader in kidney care, where she served as a divisional vice president and regional operations director, overseeing $250 million in revenue, 75 clinics, and more than 1,000 employees. Previously, Thomas served in management and operational leadership roles at various organizations, including McMaster-Carr, the University of Chicago Medical Center, and AT&T, SESI said in a news release.
Thomas holds a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on management, organizations and operations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering from Stanford University.
Learn more at SESIschools.com.
Michael Jonas Promoted to Co-President and Chief Operating Officer at GoGuardian
Ed tech company GoGuardian recently announced that Chief Financial Officer Michael Jonas has been appointed Co-President and Chief Operating Officer. Since joining GoGuardian in 2019, Jonas has “guided the company through exceptional growth,” the company said in a news release.
During his tenure as CFO, GoGuardian’s portfolio of ed tech solutions has grown, and it now includes Pear Deck, Edulastic, and TutorMe. “GoGuardian has tripled its employee base since Jonas first joined the company and now serves more than 25 million students and 686,000 educators across America,” the company said.
In his new role, Jonas is tasked with leading GoGuardian’s revenue and strategic initiatives, driving operational excellence, and ensuring the company continues to serve customers and students at the highest level.
“Schools are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges right now, including a growing student mental health crisis and the urgent need for learning recovery,” said Jonas. “I’m honored to work alongside many mission-driven colleagues at GoGuardian who firmly believe we can deliver technologies that help meet these complex challenges. I’m also energized to help lead our company into the future, where our learning solutions can benefit many more learners on an unprecedented scale.”
Prior to joining GoGuardian, Jonas was CFO at ThriftBooks, and previously held senior financial and operational roles at Microsoft.
Learn more at GoGuardian.com.
Jason Ediger Named Chief Marketing Officer at Newsela
Newsela has named Jason Ediger as its Chief Marketing Officer. Ediger most recently served as Newela’s interim CMO and senior vice president of Solution Marketing & Brand Experience, according to a news release.
An ed tech veteran, Ediger joined Newsela last year, coming from Discovery Education where he was CMO; he previously helped lead Apple Education’s marketing strategy for 15 years. Ediger also spent nine years in the classroom teaching eighth grade, where he was named “Teacher of the Year” and developed the first education technology plan for his school district, Newsela said.
“Over the last 10 years I have watched Newsela completely transform instructional materials in the classroom,” Ediger said. “I’m excited to now be part of that transformation and continue to tell the story of how we’re creating products that save teachers time, meet their needs, and create engaging learning experiences for all students.”
Learn more at Newsela.com.
Equity Advocate Craig Robinson Joins Nonprofit Working to Close College Access Gap
Matriculate, a national nonprofit whose mission is to help students from low-income communities to attend colleges where they will thrive, has announced the appointment of Craig Robinson as its president.
A passionate advocate for equity and access at the intersection of K–12 and higher education, Robinson most recently served as president of the national nonprofit College Possible, Matriculate said in a news release.
Robinson has more than two decades of leadership experience in education and nonprofit management. In addition to leading College Possible, he has also served as the chief program officer at College Advising Corps and vice president of programs at A Better Chance. For nearly a decade, he was the national director of KIPP Through College (now KIPP Forward), which has helped 20,000 high school graduates navigate the academic, social, and financial challenges of applying to and attending college.
"What makes Matriculate's model unique is that it is designed to unlock the power of near-peer advising, which is too often unavailable for students in historically underserved communities," said Robinson.
Founded in 2014, Matriculate matches high-achieving high school students in low-income communities with trained undergraduate student advisors at the country's top colleges and universities to provide personalized coaching throughout the application and enrollment process. The nonprofit has served 11,000 students so far, according to its website.
Learn more at Matriculate.org.
Michael Woods Takes VP Role at CAE
Council for Aid to Education, a nonprofit developer of assessments that measure students’ essential academic and career skills, has appointed Michael Woods as vice president, business development.
With more than 30 years of education sector experience, including the past 20 with Questar Assessment, Woods will direct and manage all facets of CAE’s business development activities across both K–12 and higher education segments, CAE said in a news release.
Woods most recently served as senior vice president, business development and sales operations at Questar, where he helped lead the company’s accelerated growth and eventual sale to Educational Testing Service. He previously held teaching and management roles at the New York City Department of Education.
Woods holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and mathematics from Lehman College.
Learn more at CAE.org.
Cypher Learning Adds CMO Jennifer Geisler, CRO Matt Kane to Executive Team
Cypher Learning, a provider of intelligent learning platforms for schools, universities, and organizations around the world, has expanded its executive leadership team with the additions of Jennifer Geisler as Chief Marketing Officer and Matt Kane as Chief Revenue Officer, according to a news release.
“Combined with the prior appointment of Chief Financial Officer Hank Courson, these proven leaders will help fuel Cypher Learning’s global growth, customer success and innovation,” the company said.
In her role as CMO, Geisler will lead Cypher Learning’s global marketing strategywith an emphasis on scale, customer value, and clear differentiation from the traditional learning management system, Cypher Learning said. Geisler’s career experience includes two decades of marketing leadership, including two successful initial public offerings, category creation, and accelerated adoption of innovations. She previously held leadership roles at Vectra AI, Forescout, McAfee, Cisco, and others.
As CRO, Kane is tasked with defining Cypher Learning’s global sales strategy, the company said. Kane previously served as CRO at Formative, where he led the company’s efforts to expand partnerships to increase customer satisfaction, resulting in increased revenue. With over two decades of experience, Kane also has held leadership roles at Newsela, Tangoe, Quickcomm, and others.
Learn more at CypherLearning.com.
Territorium Names Six New Senior Executives for U.S. Market
Territorium, an ed tech provider whose blockchain-supported Comprehensive Learner Record and digital wallet is certified by 1EdTech, has announced six new appointments to its U.S. executive leadership team as it renews focus on growing within the United States.
The new leaders include Chief Growth Officer Jonell Sanchez; Vice President of Education Solutions Keith Look, Ph.D.; Vice President of Business Development Rebecca Busacca; Vice President of Operations Julie Murphy; Vice President of Product Strategy Joe Green, Ph.D.; and Vice President of Marketing and Digital Content Eric Stoller.
Territorium’s mission is to “make learning and skills acquisition more accessible and measurable through its AI and blockchain-supported Comprehensive Learner Record and digital wallet.” Territorium’s solutions enable educators and companies to deliver, test, measure, and record learning and skills acquisition; the company has served over 10 million users worldwide.
Learn more at Territorium.com.
Todd Provino is New Senior VP of Operations at EverDriven
EverDriven Technologies, a provider of alternative student transportation for school districts nationwide, has hired Todd Provino as its new senior vice president of operations, the company said in a news release.
Provino has more than 20 years of experience in customer care and operations across various industries, including senior positions with Priceline, Grubhub, and Virgin America, where he supported over 100 businesses across 32 countries, EverDriven said.
“We are seeing unprecedented demand for our student transportation services, with over 100% growth in districts served and over 60% growth in students served in just two years,” said Mitch Bowling, CEO of EverDriven, formerly ALC Schools. “We are thrilled to bring someone on board with Todd’s deep operational experience during this exciting phase in EverDriven’s growth, to help us continue to meet and enhance the needs of the districts and students we serve.”
EverDriven’s alternative student transportation, supplemental to the bus system, runs on the company’s proprietary Technology Suite, which enables transportation services for students with unique needs, including those with disabilities, students experiencing housing insecurity, students in foster care, and students who attend a school that is out of their district or in a hard-to-reach location.
Learn more at EverDriven.com.
Jen Newton Joins The Nora Project as Director of Innovation
Jen Newton, Ph.D., known for her work as a professor and researcher on making education more inclusive, has joined The Nora Project as strategic program advisor and Director of Innovation, according to a news release from the nonprofit.
Newton's first initiative will be developing Anti-Ableist Leading and Learning Standards for TNP, a foundational document that will guide the organization's work and collaboration with partner schools and organizations, TNP’s announcement said. Newton will also head efforts to develop innovative curriculum, professional development, and TNP’s model school concept.
Newton has worked in early childhood inclusion and inclusive teacher preparation for 21 years. She said TNP aims to provide consistent, reliable, much-needed curricula that teaches kids that “there is no such thing as normal and that all ways of being are valuable.”
"There are no curricular or professional development opportunities for teachers to actively learn and teach about ableism, and about disability history, studies and advocacy," Newton said. "TNP provides disability studies content, advocacy lessons, Ability Inclusive Mindset materials, and support for teachers to implement these lessons."
Learn more at TheNoraProject.ngo.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].