Statement: NewSchools co-founder Kim Smith to lead Bellwether Education Partners

January 20, 2010

January 20, 2010 – San Francisco, CA – NewSchools Venture Fund CEO Ted Mitchell today congratulated co-founder Kim Smith on her forthcoming role as CEO of Bellwether Education Partners, a new nonprofit consulting organization designed to strengthen the leadership and organizational capacity of entrepreneurial education organizations by offering specialized executive search, strategic consulting, leadership development, and thought leadership services. Like NewSchools, the idea for Bellwether grew out of Kim’s astute understanding of education entrepreneurship and her desire to take action in response to identified needs. For the last several years, Kim has been incubating Bellwether within NewSchools, and so it is fitting that Kim will lead that organization beginning in spring 2010. She will continue to make an impact on NewSchools as a board member and trusted advisor.

It has been more than a decade since Kim teamed up with two visionary venture capitalists, John Doerr and Brook Byers, to create NewSchools Venture Fund in 1998, building on her entrepreneurial experience with Teach For America and other ventures. Together, they sought to create a new entity that would itself accelerate the pace of educational innovation by supporting entrepreneurs, building great organizations, improving life chances for kids, and informing the direction of education policy and practice. In that time, the organization has raised more than $150 million and supported dozens of education entrepreneurs in their efforts to create effective new nonprofit and for-profit organizations. In the years since, NewSchools has helped to build a movement that has changed the way education reform is practiced and the way schooling is delivered to hundreds of thousands of previously underserved children across the country.

“The entrepreneurial education movement is at a moment of unprecedented opportunity, in which initial successes are going to greater scale, striving for sustainability, and translating into significant policy changes that promise to have a cascading impact on the lives of millions of students,” said Ted Mitchell. “At an inflection point like this one, leadership matters more than ever. This is just the right move at just the right time, and allows Kim to bring her unmatched leadership abilities to bear on building an organization that responds to the needs and potential of the entrepreneurial education movement.”

In addition to Kim’s arrival as CEO, Bellwether is also building a strong team of talented leaders who bring to the organization deep experience in and commitment to strengthening the capacity of the entrepreneurial education field. Founding team members include Andrew Rotherham, Mary Wells and Monisha Lozier. Rotherham is the co-founder of influential independent think tank Education Sector, as well as one of the most respected national writers and thought leaders on education reform, as author of the popular blog who also writes regularly for U.S. News & World Report and other publications. Rotherham will lead Bellwether’s thought leadership practice. Wells is a dynamic, seasoned consultant who has worked at Bain & Company and helped to create the Texas High School Project; she will lead the firm’s strategic consulting practice. Lozier is a former Korn/Ferry search executive with a strong record of recruiting and placing education leaders into key positions; she will lead the firm’s executive search practice.

NewSchools looks forward to working closely together with Bellwether Education Partners and with Kim to continue improving public education for students in underserved communities across America.