Reporting to CEO Ron Packard, and working from the company’s headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, the Chief Academic Officer will assume responsibility for the academic integrity of K12’s virtual schools and online courses. This will be accomplished through the assessment of student results using research, data analytics, and testing to ensure superior student learning outcomes. He or she will collaborate with school directors, their faculty, and senior leadership at K12 corporate headquarters to refine, articulate, and continuously improve K12’s educational model and materials to achieve targeted academic results, and will be the chief spokesperson for the company on all matters dealing with student performance.
With revenues of more than $500 million, K12 Inc. (LRN: NYSE) is the nation's largest provider of proprietary curricula and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school. Using 21st century tools to prepare 21st century students, K12 provides the broadest array of options for students to learn in a flexible and innovative way, at an individualized pace. K12 provides curricula and academic services to public and private schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and directly to families. K12 is accredited through AdvancED, the world's largest education community.
K12 delivers its educational content and learning systems to students primarily through virtual public schools, virtual private schools, and through sales directly to school districts as part of our institutional sales business. The company offers its proprietary curriculum, learning kits, use of a personal computer, online learning platform and varying levels of academic and management services, which can range from targeted programs to complete turnkey solutions.
As of September 30, 2010, K12 served virtual public schools or hybrid schools in 27 states and the District of Columbia. The company expanded into two new states in fiscal year 2011, Massachusetts and Michigan. In addition, the company operates three online private schools (the K12 International Academy, The Keystone School, and the George Washington University Online High School), and also sells access to its online curriculum and learning kits directly to individual consumers.
In April 2010, K12 formed a joint venture with Middlebury College, known as Middlebury Interactive Languages LLC (MIL), to develop online foreign language courses. This new venture will create online language programs for pre-college students and will leverage Middlebury's recognized experience and reputation in foreign language instruction and K12's expertise in online education. In July 2010, the company acquired all of the stock of KC Distance Learning, Inc. (KCDL), a provider of online curriculum and public and private virtual education. The company also acquired certain assets from Cardean Learning Group LLC to form Capital Education LLC, a provider of online services to post-secondary institutions.
On December 1, 2010, K12 acquired American Education Corporation (AEC), a leading provider of research-based core curriculum instructional software for kindergarteners through adult learners. These acquisitions and the formation of MIL and Capital Education increase K12's portfolio of innovative, high quality instructional and curriculum offerings. Finally, in January 2011 the company acquired a 20% minority interest in Web International Education Group, a provider of English language training for learners of all ages throughout China, including university students, government workers, and employees of international companies.
Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Academic Officer will manage the development of formative and summative curricular assessments and the review and evaluation of existing curricula and scope and sequence models at all grade levels and in all subject areas.
The Chief Academic Officer will continuously work on the design and refinement of K12’s curriculum according to achievement data, instructional best practices, state and federal compliance requirements, and research of national trends and successful online curricular design models. S/he will work collaboratively with the EVP of Product Development, the EVP of School Services, and other managers of curriculum development and instruction, and the curriculum and instruction staff, as well as coordinate with various cross-departmental teams, school leaders, and third party research consultants.
Specifically, the CAO will--
• Oversee the development of curriculum based formative, benchmark, and summative assessments to monitor and verify student academic progress and outcomes.
• Apply research and data to this assessment process in order to document student achievement.
• Design and conduct research strategies and predictive studies that validate K12’s instructional model.
• Select external vendors to analyze the performance of K12’s courses and schools.
• Communicate research findings to a variety of constituencies, both internal and external, including state agencies, district partners, channel partners, investors, and the media; assume the role of “chief external spokesperson” in matter of instructional validity.
• Collaborate with the EVP of Product Development and her team in effective curricular development, backward design principles, a scope and sequence of essential skills and concepts that address state and national standards, online instructional strategies, student achievement, and systematic review and analysis.
• Keep abreast of new instructional design models and evaluation tools, and choose from them those that offer the greatest benefit to K12’s courses and programs.
• Establish mechanisms for communication related to curriculum and educational standards to school staff, students, and families.
• Serve as a consultant to school directors and other staff on matters pertaining to curriculum assessment and learning outcomes.
• Develop opportunities for collaboration with educational leaders, industry, state agencies, community based organizations, and appropriate vendors.
• Develop and oversee a comprehensive staff evaluation system that includes training and timelines.
• Attend professional meetings, conferences, institutes etc. to keep current with trends and practices in online curriculum development and instructional methods.
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The Career Opportunity
For a skilled and ambitious assessment specialist and dynamic communicator in K-12 instruction, this position offers the following career benefits—
• The chance to work for an industry leader in a key strategic role, with an equity stake
• The chance to ensure positive student outcomes for all of K12’s virtual schools and online
• The chance to have a seat at the table—to be part of K12’s senior leadership team
• The chance to work with one of the most respected leadership teams in K-12 education
• The chance to live and work in the attractive suburban Washington DC area
The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate currently is in one of the following roles— (1) a senior researcher or academic in the area of formative assessment for an assessment company focused on K-12 instruction; (2) a Chief Academic Officer, Provost, VP of Education, or other senior executive doing research and evaluation of student learning outcomes for a virtual or site-based school or university; or (3) a senior researcher for a federal or state agency focusing on student learning assessment and outcomes.
Specifically, this individual has the following—
• A Ph.D. in Education or related field, with additional coursework specific to curriculum development, instructional practices, online learning assessment, and professional development.
• Knowledge of formative and summative assessment systems, including high stakes external summative assessments.
• Strong experience with online teaching and curriculum development and web-based systems, with strong knowledge of online instructional strategies and 21st century skills.
• Outstanding presentation skills; ability to communicate technical information to both educators and the public.
• Skill at facilitating teams and working well with administers, teachers, students, parents, and third party partners.
• Knowledge of state and national standards and effective alignment practices.
• Ability to identify and evaluate instructional content, resources and products.
• Ability to manage and evaluate online professional development.
• Prior experience working with and managing the varied and ongoing priorities of multiple stakeholders, including third party content providers.
• Knowledge of current literature, trends, and development in the field of curriculum, assessment, data analysis, and student learning.
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a customer focused, fast paced environment.
The CAO will be working long hours to drive the success of the company. This involves a range of personal attributes-- flexibility and adaptability; a great work ethic; strong leadership skills; an ability to analyze and evaluate one’s own (and other’s) performance and to develop plans to improve performance; excellent presentation skills; willingness to take responsibility for both success and failure; a thick skin; self-confidence; a positive attitude about self, company, marketplace; and a strong desire for success.