Secretary Duncan Sets Tone for 'Race to the Top' By Naming Innovative New Leader
Citing a track record of innovative ideas with rapid and effective implementation, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that Joanne Weiss will lead development of the "Race to the Top Fund" to catalyze innovation and restore America's global leadership in public K-12 education.
Weiss has a record of success in investment strategy and management assistance that includes a portfolio of investment ventures at the New Schools Venture Fund, a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm, during the last eight years. She also led the organization's research agenda and oversaw operations.
"Recruiting successful professionals from the entrepreneurial community is one way we will change the culture and our way of doing business at the Department of Education," Secretary Duncan said during a videoconference today with the audience at the annual NewSchools Venture Fund annual Summit in Pasadena, Calif. "We may never have an opportunity like this again to dramatically improve our country's educational system with huge investments in a few strategic areas to make changes that are deep and foundational."
"Joanne will help us push a strong reform agenda that is entrepreneurial in spirit, providing carrots and sticks, to change the way we do business, and fundamentally turn around underperforming schools in ways that last for decades," Duncan said.
Throughout her career, Weiss has helped to pioneer innovative work to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning processes. Prior to joining NewSchools Venture Fund, she was CEO of Claria Corporation, an e-services recruiting firm that helped emerging-growth companies build teams quickly and well. Weiss has spent 20 years in the design, development, and marketing of technology-based products and services for education. She was senior vice president of product development at Pensare, an e-learning company that created business innovation programs for the Fortune 500 market. Prior to Pensare, she was co-founder, interim CEO, and vice president of products and technologies at Academic Systems, a company that helps hundreds of thousands of college students prepare for college-level work in mathematics and English.
Weiss holds a degree in biochemistry from Princeton University.