Effective February 8, 2016, K12’s CEO will be Stuart J. Udell. Udell is a long-time education industry executive, most recently serving as CEO of Catapult Learning, LLC. He has also worked for a variety of other education firms, including Penn Foster Education Group, Kaplan, and Renaissance Learning. Udell is currently on the board of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, a program of Clemson University focusing on dropout prevention and increasing graduation rates in American high schools. According to a recent K12 Inc. press release, Udell comes to the company with vast operational experience in the education industry and after having almost doubled Catapult Learning’s revenues “by focusing on maintaining high education quality standards and introducing technology-based offerings”. Udell replaces Nate Davis, who will become K12’s Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
We hope Udell will seize the opportunity to make needed changes in K12 Inc.’s priorities. More focus and resources must be given to our classrooms. Also, teacher turnover is too high. It is past time that CAVA’s great and professional teachers are compensated fairly. This is especially important now that there is a teacher shortage. So many of our colleagues are leaving to take jobs in either virtual or brick and mortar schools in other districts or charter schools. Teacher turnover creates instability which is bad for our students.
We communicated the urgent need for improvements to shareholders when a delegation of CAVA organizing committee members went to Washington DC in December. We see the appointment of a new CEO as a step in the right direction. Though we don’t know what specific plans are in store for CAVA as a result of this change, we believe Stuart Udell should take advantage of the opportunity to work with us to make our school better for our students. We are hopeful, but rest assured, no one in the Organizing Committee HQ is holding their breath!