People on the Move
New Executive Roles for Cowdrey, Steer, Jonas, Johnson, Bloom, Franks, Brook, Glenn, McKown, Ramani, and Osmond
- 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].
Jeremy Cowdrey is Discovery Education’s New CEO
has a new CEO: Jeremy Cowdrey, who most recently served as CEO of Imagine Learning.
Discovery Education’s outgoing CEO Scott Kinney will retire from full-time duties after 18 years with the company, according to a news release; Kinney will remain a member of Discovery Education’s Board of Directors.
Cowdrey joined Imagine Learning in 2006, and in the years since was promoted from regional partnership director to executive vice president of sales and marketing, then to president and ultimately to the CEO position.
Previously, he held sales and management positions at several software and education companies, and has worked in ed tech for over 23 years, Discovery Education said. “As the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college, Mr. Cowdrey has a deep-seated belief in the value, purpose, mission, and importance an education brings,” the company said.
Learn more at DiscoveryEducation.com.
EDC Names Liesbet Steer as President and CEO
Education Development Center, a global nonprofit advancing solutions at the intersection of education, health, and economic opportunity, has named Liesbet Steer as its next president and CEO.
Steer, who began her new role at EDC on March 1, brings more than 20 years of international development and finance experience, according to a news release.
“As a fellow at The Brookings Institution, she authored a flagship report on education investment, which led to the creation of the Education Commission, chaired by former UK Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown,” EDC said. “As executive director of the Commission since 2015, she has led global work on multiple key education transformations, including learning models, the education workforce, service delivery, financing, and cross-sectoral action.”
Steer now leads the EDC team of 1,400 professionals working on learning, health, and youth and workforce development.
Steer replaces outgoing CEO Dave Offensend, who retired after leading EDC for the past seven years.
Learn more at edc.org.
Michael Jonas Named Co-President and COO at GoGuardian
GoGuardian has promoted Chief Financial Officer Michael Jonas, naming him co-president and chief operating officer, according to a news release.
Since he joined GoGuardian in 2019, Jonas has guided the company through “exceptional growth”: its portfolio of learning solutions has grown as he led the acquisitions of Pear Deck, Edulastic, and TutorMe, and GoGuardian — now valued at over $1 billion — has tripled its employee base and now serves more than 25 million students and 686,000 educators across America.
Prior to 2019, Jonas was CFO at ThriftBooks, and he held senior financial and operational roles during a 14-year stint at Microsoft.
Learn more at GoGuardian.com.
Panorama Education Taps Danny Johnson as Chief Technology Officer
Panorama Education has named Danny Johnson as its new Chief Technology Officer.
The announcement comes as Panorama Education expands its executive leadership team and follows recent appointments of Chief Product Officer Jessica Tiwari and Chief Legal Officer Andrew Ting, according to a news release.
Johnson will lead the engineering team behind the Panorama platform, “setting and executing Panorama's technology strategy, and driving ambitious product development,” the company said.
Johnson’s career and expertise comprise “a well-rounded combination of technical skill, team-building, leadership, and cross-functional collaboration experience”; he most recently served as VP of product and engineering at Ridgeline, a financial services SaaS platform. Previously, his leadership at Workday helped scale the company through IPO and beyond, according to Panorama’s announcement.
Earlier in his career, Johnson held engineering and product management roles at Oracle and PeopleSoft.
Learn more at PanoramaEd.com.
Lainey Franks is Tools for Schools’ New CEO
Tools for Schools Founder and CEO Dan Amos has decided to hand off the leadership reins and focus once again on the company’s flagship solution Book Creator, a tool Amos originally to help his young son with dyslexia, and he has promoted VP of Partnerships Lainey Franks to the chief executive officer position.
Amos will become Tools for Schools' chief product officer, according to a news release. During his tenure as CEO, more than 100 million books have been made in Book Creator, and 2 million teachers have used Book Creator. Under Amos’ leadership, Tools for Schools “has not needed to take on any outside investment and has remained profitable,” the company said.
"Now the 'startup' phase is complete, we have to think ahead to the next 10 years — how do we grow the team and the organization to have an ever-increasing impact on education?" Amos explained. "So I am delighted to promote Lainey Franks … and step aside to focus on doing what I love every day: making Book Creator the very best it can be.”
Franks, who earned a computer science degree from Harvard University and a post-graduate certificate of education in the United Kingdom, taught math, computing, and digital learning for over a decade early in her career. She has held business leadership roles in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and South America, including senior positions at Lonely Planet and ed tech nonprofit Breteau Foundation, Tools for Schools said.
Franks, a native of Atlanta, joined Tools for Schools in 2020 as vice president of partnerships, and she has been “instrumental in leading the sales and teacher success teams through a period of rapid growth,” the company said, growing the customer base of U.S. schools and districts from 450 to 1,100.
Learn more at BookCreator.com.
Kami Names Todd Bloom as Chief Learning Officer
Classroom personalization and accessibility app Kami has added a new chief learning officer to its executive leadership team and named Todd Bloom to the role.
Bloom founded Western Governors University’s ed tech accelerator program in Salt Lake City, where he and his team aided in the growth of 18 ed tech startups, according to a news release from Kami. He also helped lead Everbloom Learning, his family business that provided professional learning to early childhood educators.
In his new role at Kami, Bloom will guide the “vision and evolution of the organization … and assess where Kami can continue growing as an instructional and learning support system,” the company said.
Learn more at KamiApp.com.
Paul Brook Joins PowerSchool as Chief Customer Officer
PowerSchool has announced that Paul Brook has joined the company as chief customer officer, where he will “lead PowerSchool’s Professional Services and Customer Support teams, further aligning the organization’s strategy with the company’s business plan and overall strategic vision,” according to a news release.
Brook’s career includes over two decades of experience developing and managing customer success, services, support, and renewal organizations for SaaS and on-premises software companies. He previously served as Global Head of Customer Success & Services at HashiCorp; as Chief Customer Officer at Spigit; and as Vice President at Oracle.
Learn more at PowerSchool.com.
7 Mindsets Adds Robin Glenn and Clark McKown to Executive Leadership Team
Fast-growing learning and well-being ed tech provider 7 Mindsets has expanded its executive leadership team with the appointments of Robin Glenn as chief strategy and business development officer and Clark McKown, Ph.D., as chief science officer, according to a news release.
Both appointees founded ed tech companies that were recently acquired by 7 Mindsets.
Glenn, founder of student mental health solution BASE Education, will oversee curriculum development and strategic initiatives in her new 7 Mindsets role, the company said. Glenn’s 25-year career has included serving as a “school-based therapy specialist; parent, educator, and law enforcement trainer; private practice therapist for adolescents and their families; treatment coordinator for intensive in/outpatient teen programs; and research specialist in clinical trials for adolescents with addictions,” 7 Mindsets said.
McKown founded xSEL Labs, which creates “scalable systems to assess and address the social and emotional needs of children,” 7 Mindsets said. As chief science officer, he will lead efforts to provide “meaningful and actionable assessments” alongside 7 Mindsets solutions, the company said. McKown’s professional background includes serving as “principal investigator on several federal and foundation grants whose purpose was to design, develop, validate, and scale social and emotional assessment systems.”
Both BASE Education and xSEL Labs were acquired by 7 Mindsets in January 2023.
Learn more at 7mindsets.com.
Abhinav Ramani, Aaron Osmond Join FEV Tutor Executive Team
FEV Tutor has added two executives to its senior leadership team: Abhinav Ramani as chief operating officer and Aaron Osmond as chief growth officer.
Prior to joining FEV Tutor, Ramani oversaw regional operations for the health care provider DaVita Kidney Care, where his team grew net revenue by over $1 million, according to a news release from FEV Tutor. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
With three decades of experience in K–12 education and technology, Osmond most recently served as global lead at Amazon Web Services Training and Certification Team; previously, Osmond held executive positions at Pearson Assessments and Certiport, a Pearson VUE business. He has also led education programs at Microsoft and Novell. Osmond holds an MBA from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business.
Learn more at FEVTutor.com.