WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- There is a new face in the Georgetown offices of the Saylor Foundation: Amanda Antico-Majkowski, an educator and entrepreneur with deep experience in commercial, government, and social ventures, will lead the open education nonprofit from the Executive Director's chair, taking over from interim director Jennifer Shoop and from founding executive director Alana Harrington. Lou Pugliese, who has provided strategic support to the open education nonprofit during the transition period, has re-committed to his Fellowship role with the foundation.
Antico-Majkowski's appointment, coupled with Pugliese's work on building a future-facing technology strategy for the organization, places the foundation squarely on the leading edge of the open online education movement. In the coming months, she will work with her new staff to define strategy, mine her networks for additional foundation advisors, and take the free education message to industry events and conferences. Antico-Majkowski joins the Saylor Foundation in the midst of massive ferment surrounding MOOCs, hybrid classrooms, alternative credentialing, rising tuition, and affordable credit opportunities for students worldwide -- a situation she regards as ripe for opportunity.
"Open education, in the full richness of its definition, is poised for profound and positive change -- and what the people of Saylor.org have built is unique in our space," said Antico-Majkowski. "I'm excited by the opportunities that lie ahead. Alana and Jen shaped a team of professionals who are some of the best and most dedicated young minds I have seen in the education space. I am thrilled to lead them through this next stage of the organization's life. There's a strong sense of 'coming home', too; I've worked with Lou before and have invested a lot of my professional life in the nonprofit education world. I have long admired [trustee] Michael Saylor's business and philanthropic sense and strongly support his vision for his foundation -- for 'driving the cost of education to zero'. The main question for me was 'where do I sign?'"
The Saylor Foundation's former executive director, Alana Harrington, stepped aside in April and now leads the foundation's Board of Advisors. She took point in the search for her successor. "I knew we had our work cut out for us," said Harrington. "In order to grow, Saylor needs a leader with not only a deeply rooted belief in the power of free access to education but significant experience and success in entrepreneurial environments, exhibiting the initiative and business chops to bring an ambitious Michael Saylor vision to fruition. From the first moment Lou introduced me to her, it was clear – Amanda is that person, and more. Saylor is in good hands!"
Antico-Majkowski brings with her a wealth of experience across sectors, having worked in government, nonprofits, and commercial organizations. In 2009, she collaborated with one of the original supporters of Open Education, Mike Smith, who was working as a Special Counselor to Secretary Arne Duncan at the Department of Education. Together, they were able to craft a strategy on the importance of using open education methodologies to promote learners' shared experiences and knowledge on an international scale, an experience that strengthened her belief in education as a basic human right.
Antico-Majkowski was co-founder and director of the nonprofit TLT Group, which consulted on teaching, learning, and technology in higher education. She teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level, and founded a consultancy, Pratica Partners, for "creating and sustaining entrepreneurial and innovative communities." For her doctorate from George Washington University, she researched how organizations use social capital and social networks to build entrepreneurial and innovative communities.
She plans on connecting all these dots to change the way a person receives a high quality education, a vision shared with Michael Saylor. "With the growth in communication technology and global interaction," said Antico-Majkowski, "we now have the means and the responsibility of making shared experiences transnational and transcultural. It really is no longer possible to live in isolation."
Pugliese will work closely with Antico-Majkowski, focusing especially on technology strategy and enabling the Saylor Foundation to leverage his broad expertise as former President and CEO of Moodlerooms and Founding CEO of Blackboard in connecting private enterprise to the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. Together, they will develop the Saylor "2.0" strategy, which they anticipate will be the envy of the Open Education Movement.
About The Saylor Foundation
The Saylor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. As part of its mission to make quality education freely available to all, the foundation employs experienced faculty to design K-12, university, and career level courses from the wealth of material available on the Web. Today, the free education initiative at Saylor.org provides over 300 standard and college credit-aligned courses to anyone with an Internet connection.
Sean Connor The Saylor Foundation 202.333.4005
The Saylor Foundation
Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES
Sean Connor The Saylor Foundation 202.333.4005
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