An Interesting Beginning to 2022: K-12 Market Highlights

By Guest Contributor Lisa Wolfe

The education market seems to have quieted down a little bit in the beginning of 2022, but there are still lots of mergers and acquisitions, funding rounds closed and big personnel changes to report, including two of the industry’s biggest companies entertaining (or not?) takeover bids. Here are the highlights:

  • Pearson rejected two takeover approaches from investment firm Apollo. The company also saw some significant personnel changes in Q1. Bob Whelan retired as the president of assessment and qualifications after a 40-year career with the company. Art Valentine, Pearson’s former managing director of clinical assessment, succeeded Whelan. The company also appointed Marykay Wells as chief information officer.
  • Discovery Education is being acquired by an affiliate of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., which will become the majority shareholder upon completion of the deal, with Francisco Partners retaining a minority equity stake. 
  • Ranjit Sidhu has stepped down as executive director and chief executive officer of ASCD. Sandy Husk has been named as interim executive director and chief executive officer.
  • SchoolStatus, a provider of K-12 school communications solutions, acquired TeachBoost, a privately held, education software company that builds tools to support educator observations, evaluations, and coaching. 
  • Linewize, a K-12 digital safety company acquired Cipafilter, a K-12 web filter and firewall company.
  • Carnegie Learning added Quinn O’Brien as chief marketing officer.
  • GoGuardian appointed former Amazon executive Sharad Gupta as chief product officer. The company also promoted Kate Beihl to chief marketing officer, and Harris Goodman joined as general manager of content.
  • EdTech startup Classover, a live online learning platform that offers after-school and homeschool programs, raised more than $1.5 million in seed funding. 
  • Tutored by Teachers, a K-12 tutoring service, raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by GSV Ventures.
  • Savvas Learning Co. acquired Rubicon publishing, a Canadian-based math program.
  • A day after K–12 curriculum provider Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co. announced it was being acquired by private investment firm Veritas Capital in a deal valued at $2.8 billion, one of HMH’s shareholders objected to the sale in a letter to the board of directors, saying it “will not be tendering its shares into Veritas’ offer.”
  • Project Lead The Way (PLTW) elected Stephanie C. Hill to its board of directors.
  • Frog Street, a provider of early childhood education solutions, named Lee Ramsayer, formerly executive vice president of global sales at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as CEO. Ramsayer will succeed Ron Chase, who is retiring and will remain actively involved with the business as a member of the board of directors.
  • Edmentum appointed Kevin Briody as the organization’s first chief marketing officer.
  • Empowerly, a company that provides personalized college and career guidance to students and their families, raised $10 million in a financing round led by Goodwater Capital.
  • Learning Ally appointed Molly Ness as vice president of academic content.
  • Jose Dotres is the new superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth largest district.
  • PowerSchool acquired Kinvolved, a provider of K-12 communications, attendance, and engagement solutions.
  • Don Johnston Inc. and the product portfolio of  Snap&Read, Co:Writer, Word Bank, Quizbot, and uPAR are now part of the Texthelp family. Don Johnston Inc.’s curriculum division is forming a new company, named Building Wings (which will include the products Readtopia and First Author).
  • Wayfinder, a provider of social emotional and life readiness curriculum, closed a $6.6M Series A funding round led by Long Night Ventures.
  • Teachstone added four national policy and research experts to its senior leadership team. Joining the company are Sarah Caverly, vice president of research and evaluation; Suzann Morris, senior director of public policy and government relations; Veronica Fernandez, senior director of social impact; and Grace Funk, senior director of strategic initiatives.
  • Literati, the subscription book box and online book club company, purchased Follett Book Fairs. The fairs will be rebranded Literati Book Fairs.

More to come in June as we continue to track the entry of new companies, mergers and acquisitions, and personnel moves in our very vibrant K-12 education community.

Lisa Wolfe is the president of L. Wolfe Communications

Founded in April 2000, L. Wolfe Communications offers its clients a network of senior, experienced public relations executives with a variety of complementary experience and expertise in public relations and communications for the education and library markets.