Our Blog: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education

Blog Feed

Posts › NewSchools Ventures

Education Entrepreneurs: Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin

A year ago, a Charter Board Partners “team meeting” meant co-founders Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin gathering around Carrie’s kitchen table. Today, their seven-person team serves over 30% of DC’s charter schools by providing customized support on charter school governance. Their theory of action is simple yet powerful—great boards will lead to great schools.As a movement, we’ve often relied on the “superhero” school leader—someone who can simultaneously provide feedback on a mini-lesson, […] Read more

Education Entrepreneurs: Eric Westendorf and Alix Guerrier

Having played sports for most of my life I’d consider myself a master of the “high-fives” – there wasn’t one I hadn’t tried. That is, until I met LearnZillion co-founders Eric Westendorf and Alix Guerrier who introduced me to their aptly named “aggressive high-five.” My first encounter with the aggressive high-five came this past June when I was lucky enough to snag an invite to LearnZillion’s TeachFest. For this event Eric and […] Read more

NewSchools Presents: Bill Jackson, GreatSchools

In 1998, Kim Smith, a student at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teamed up with famed venture capitalist John Doerr and Brook Byers to build an organization whose mission was to transform education by supporting education entrepreneurs. The trio recognized that entrepreneurs had revolutionized the fields of science, medicine, and technology, and wanted to bring that same innovative spark to the world of education.Their idea became NewSchools Venture Fund, and an entrepreneur […] Read more

NewSchools Presents: Alexandra Bernadotte and Scott Given

When we invited education entrepreneurs to tell their stories in our Story Booth at NewSchools Summit 2011 earlier this year we were completely unprepared for the response we received. We heard from a diverse group of social innovators, fiercely dedicated to improving public education for all children. They spoke the experiences which led them to take on such challenging work, and their thoughts on the future of education reform.This week we’re releasing […] Read more

New Video Series Celebrates Education Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are a special breed; they’re tenacious, imaginative risk-takers willing to work hard to see their ideas become reality. They draw on diverse experiences to generate breakthrough ideas that disrupt the status quo. And they’re bringing the same transformative impact to public education as they have in the fields of medicine, technology and science.That’s why over the next five weeks we’re celebrating education entrepreneurs in a new video series, NewSchools Presents: Education […] Read more

Friday Night Lights (and Pitches)

Last Friday night saw nearly 300 Bay Area entrepreneurs, VCs and philanthropists gather for the final pitch session of The EdTech Entrepreneurs Lab, an education startup incubation program helping cultivate the next generation of education technology entrepreneurs. Since February, a cohort of 25 incredible individuals has been working through the Lab on tech-enabled solutions to the challenges facing American public education—and at this culminating event, their months of hard work were clear.The […] Read more

2011 Entrepreneur of the Year, Organization of the Year, and New Market Maker Awards

While more than 800 supporters of entrepreneurial change in public education gathered at the twelfth annual NewSchools Summit in Burlingame, CA on Wednesday, we announced the recipients of our annual awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Organization of the Year, and New Market Maker Award. The awards are designed to recognize and celebrate the achievements of this important class of social innovators, who are making a difference in the lives of students […] Read more

Rethinking the for-profit model

For many years, for-profit education organizations have faced fairly pervasive skepticism. Why? In part, you can blame the very mixed performance of for-profit school operators. Some, understandably, wonder whether every possible dollar is being directed toward the benefit of students (although it’s important to note that for-profits typically have to raise private funding, which results in more dollars over time being used for education). Yet for all that skepticism, it’s seems there’s […] Read more

Supporting Superman (and Woman)

How does NewSchools support education entrepreneurs?  I get this question more than any other and not just from those outside the education community so I wanted to give some real examples of how NewSchools helps entrepreneurs. Education venture philanthropy came on the scene in 1999 when then Stanford GSB student Kim Smith, legendary venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a few others (including Brook Byers and Dave Whorton) incubated the […] Read more

For Profit, For Good?

When starting a new venture, one of the first questions that education entrepreneurs wrestle with is the legal structure.  There are no hard fast rules to determine legal structure – it depends on your goals, as Jim Fruchterman so nicely lays out in the Stanford Social Review article “For Love or Lucre.”  Once upon a time, starting a for-profit education company might raise suspicions about your motives for doing good—now, that’s less […] Read more