As Vice President of Education for Microsoft Corp.’s Worldwide Public Sector organization, I work with education institutions and partners globally to embrace technology to optimize learning environments and student achievement. In my role, I oversee the worldwide execution of Microsoft’s vision for education and its partnership and technology outreach efforts via the Worldwide Partners in Learning, Shape the Future, and Public and Private Alliances programs.
Previously, as general manager of education in the United States, I had responsibility for supporting K-12 and higher education institutions across the U.S. and leading Microsoft’s efforts to support and increase the role technology plays to enhance learning. I developed education partnerships and innovative programs to better support education customers nationally. I helped launch the U.S. Partners in Learning program in 2003, which was recognized in 2009 with the Public-Private Partnership Award from the U.S. National Governors Association. I was also the catalyst for Microsoft’s involvement in the creation of the School of the Future — Microsoft’s participation with School District of philadelphia to build an innovative high school in the city of Philadelphia, which has served as a blueprint for Microsoft’s worldwide Innovative Schools program.
I joined Microsoft in 1992, helping to architect Microsoft’s marketing outreach plan in the early 1990s. During my initial years with Microsoft, I had the opportunity to influence marketing and one-to-many programs including the product launches for Windows NT and Windows 95.
I am also involved with a variety of outreach projects; I have served on the board of directors for Stevens Institute of Technology WebCampus and Western Governors University, and currently serve on the board of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the National Community Education Association.
I believe that innovation in education is a worldwide challenge. With a record 210 million people out-of-work worldwide and employers reporting too few workers to hire with the right skills, governments, educational institutions and educators must focus more on education that prepares young people for the jobs market with the right skills rather than emphasizes the number of years they spend in school. At the same time, technological advances are changing job profiles and skills, while offering possibilities for accelerated learning. Additionally, the stunning rise of the middle-income countries, led by China, India, and Brazil, has intensified the desire of many nations to increase their competitiveness by building more highly skilled workforces. Great education is the cornerstone of success for our children and our economy.
However, the current debate about how to develop students’ skills, employability and help
them reach their potential in a context of digital revolution, changing learning schemes, economic crisis, and tough global competitiveness remains unclear. Conversations about education reforms, 2020 STEM priority of Obama’s administration, teachers’ salary and recognition, standardized tests, worldwide literacy improvements are top of mind, but we need to have an inclusive perspective about how to transform education at best. And technology integration is crucial in that matter. With education undergoing massive changes in practice, as well as an infusion of new technology tools such as tablets, this is an exciting time to reshape the future of learning.