Acquisitions, Investments & New Leadership: Q1 K-12 Market Highlights

By Guest Contributor Lisa Wolfe

2023 began with some uncertain forecasts about continued investment in education and edtech companies. But, looking at the first quarter, the education market appears to be growing and thriving with numerous acquisitions, investments and new individuals in leadership roles. Here are some highlights:

  • MindPlay Education acquired LightSail Education, a K-12 digital literacy platform.
  • Din Heiman is the new CEO of Amplio Learning Technologies.
  • Paper acquired Readlee, a learning tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology to help students improve their reading skills.
  • School Specialty announced the sale of its literacy and math solutions division to Excolere Equity Partners. The new company will be called EPS School Specialty.
  • Savvas Learning Company acquired Whooo’s Reading, a gamified reading platform.
  • BookNook’s new CEO is Brad Baumgartner.
  • School Specialty acquired FlagHouse, Inc., a provider of equipment and programs serving physical education, recreation, special needs therapy and healthcare customers.
  • Jeremy Cowdrey is the new CEO of Discovery Education. Scott Kinney retired after over 18 years and is now a member of the company’s board of directors. In addition, Discovery made the following additions to its senior leadership team: Kari Sherrod,  senior vice president of marketing; Jill Hedrick, chief revenue officer;  Chris Branch, vice president of merger integration; Lance Rougeux, senior vice president of curriculum, instruction and student engagement; and Lindsay Powers, chief people officer.
  • IXL Learning acquired TPT (formerly known as Teachers Pay Teachers).
  • Age of Learning appointed Dr. Art Cavazos as inaugural superintendent-in-residence.
  • FEV Tutor announced the addition of two executives to its senior leadership team. The company named Abhinav Ramani as chief operating officer and Aaron Osmond as chief growth officer.
  • Sam Bonfante is the new president of Hatch Early Learning and Todd Bloom is the new chief Learning officer.
  • Degreed, an upskilling platform, raised more than $50 million in venture funding,
  • 7 Mindsets announced an extension of its executive leadership team with the appointments of Robin Glenn as chief strategy and business development officer and Clark McKown, Ph.D., as chief science officer. The company also acquired BASE Education, a student social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health platform.
  • acquired the tutoring company Enhanced Prep.
  • Stuart Udell joined Prometric as chief executive officer.
  • Imagine Learning acquired Winsor Learning.
  • Ignite! Reading, a virtual reading tutoring provider, raised $10 million in Series A funding.
  • iCEV, a producer of career and technical education provider, acquired Eduthings, a data management platform.
  • Istation named Rich Watson as chief revenue officer.
  • ParentSquare announced the acquisition of Gabbart Communications, a website and content management system business.
  • PowerSchool announced Paul Brook joined the company as chief customer officer.
  • Panorama Education appointed Danny Johnson as chief technology officer.
  • Cambium Learning Group announced John Edelson retired as president and founder of Time4Learning. Cheryl Dodge, previously senior vice president of product, education, and operations will succeed company founder Edelson as president.
  • ASU-GSV 2023 announced its Power of Women Winners. NewSchools Venture Fund & AERDF CEO Stacey Childress, Presence CEO Kate Eberle Walker, Savvas CEO Bethlam Forsa, National Louis University President Nivine Megahed, Zum Co-founder & CEO Ritu Narayan, Articulate CEO Lucy Suros, DreamBox Learning President & CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson, ASU Prep Founder & CEO Julie Young; and Cambium CEO Ashley Andersen Zantop.
  • Candice Faktor joined the board of directors of Dreambox Learning.
  • 95 Percent Group acquired Tools 4 Reading, a company founded nearly 15 years ago by literacy education leader Mary E. Dahlgren, Ed.D. Earlier this year, 95 Percent Group also acquired Hill Reading Achievement Program (HillRAP) from Hill Learning Center.
  • Schola, an online platform that helps families discover, connect and enroll their children in PK-12 schools, closed a $10M Series A round of funding.
  • HMH announced it signed an agreement to acquire NWEA.
  • Newsela named Pep Carrera CEO. He succeeds company founder Matthew Gross. In addition, Jason Ediger is the new chief marketing officer.
  • Chris Ball was named Instructure’s new president and chief operating officer. The company also recently acquired LearnPlatform.
  • Specialized Education Services Inc. named Dawn Thomas president.
  • Michael Jonas was promoted from CFO to co-president and chief operating officer at GoGuardian.
  • Jennifer Geisler and Matt Kane were named to executive leadership positions at Cypher Learning. Geisler as chief marketing officer and Kane as chief revenue officer.
  • Territorium announced six new appointments to its U.S. executive leadership team. They are Chief Growth Officer Jonell Sanchez; Vice President of Education Solutions Keith Look, Ph.D.; Vice President of Business Development Rebecca Busacca; Vice President of Operations Julie Murphy; Vice President of Product Strategy Joe Green, Ph.D.; and Vice President of Marketing and Digital Content Eric Stoller.
  • Todd Provino is the new senior vice president of operations at EverDriven, a provider of alternative student transportation for school districts.
  • Follett School Solutions acquired the library management system Access-It Software Ltd.
  • Mathnasium appointed Kevin Shen chief development officer.
  • SchoolStatus announced the acquisition of Smore, a K12 email newsletter company.

Who knows what the rest of the year will hold? We’ll keep watching and will give you a Q2 update in June!

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.