MENLO PARK, Calif., (May 22, 2018) — Open Up Resources, the nonprofit provider of free, openly-licensed and top-rated curricula, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jessica Reid Sliwerski as Chief Executive Officer effective May 21, 2018.
Sliwerski, who joined the organization in January, 2017, has led the organization’s work with districts nationally. As Chief Academic Engagement Officer, she managed the largest team at Open Up Resources, which was responsible for supporting districts in their evaluation and selection of the curriculum, and she oversaw the provision of services offered by Open Up Resources to support implementation of the free curricula. Under Sliwerski’s leadership, Open Up Resources curricula have been adopted by more than 100 districts, and Sliwerski has led the organization to unprecedented revenue growth, from $6M in 2017 to projected revenue of $40M in 2018.
Previously, Sliwerski was the co-founder and Chief Academic Officer at the adaptive literacy software company LightSail Education. Her instructionally-focused product vision brought numerous awards to the organization, including the Digital Promise and Edsurge Digital Innovation in Learning Award, two ASU-GSV Return on Education VentureEd awards, and a Readers’ Choice Top 100 recognition from District Administration magazine. Sliwerski also served as the Senior Vice President for Academic Research and Development at Noodle Markets, a pioneer in the K–12 procurement space. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in New York City, later serving as an assistant principal and then as a literacy advisor to principals in the New York City Department of Education. Sliwerski’s work in K–12 education was profiled in The Wall Street Journal and Steven Brill’s book Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools. She is also a mother, a breast cancer survivor, and the author of the children’s book Cancer Hates Kisses (Penguin, 2017).
“As a former teacher and school leader, I have seen firsthand the role that excellent curriculum can play in supporting teachers and improving student outcomes. I have been inspired by how quickly districts across the country have embraced the Open Up Resources curricula, as this is the surest indicator of the need for better materials for our teachers and students,” said Sliwerski. “As we add new curricula and services to our offerings for schools, I see tremendous promise for Open Up Resources, and I am honored to lead the organization as we advance our mission to increase equity in K–12 education.”
Open Up Resources curricula have recently been adopted by some of the largest and most highly-regarded districts in the country, including Wake County Public School Systems (NC), Shelby County Public Schools (TN), Detroit Public Schools (MI), and Riverside USD (CA). Thanks to the tremendous response to the materials, and the frequency with which districts purchase support services to accompany the free curricula, Open Up Resources is on track for revenue growth that will allow the nonprofit to sustain its own operations by 2019, a year ahead of initial expectations.
The first two curricula offered by Open Up Resources have earned the top reviews by EdReports, the independent nonprofit that reviews K–12 curricula for standards alignment and quality. Open Up Resources 6–8 Math earned the highest-ever rating for a math curriculum, with a near-perfect score, and EL Education K–5 Language Arts earned the highest rating for an elementary ELA curriculum. Open Up Resources plans to add five additional curricula in the next eighteen months, in both math and ELA.
Open Up Resources also announced that Scott Ellis, Chairman of the Board of Directors since June, 2017, has officially assumed the role of Executive Chairman on May 1, 2018 after serving in this capacity for the last two months. Ellis, an experienced nonprofit CEO and COO with deep experience in supply chain management, strategy, operations, and strategic finance, has been supporting the finance and operations teams at Open Up Resources. He previously served as the founding CEO of The Learning Accelerator, the nonprofit that incubated Open Up Resources before its formal launch, and thus Ellis has played a role in guiding the organization’s strategy since its inception. Ellis is the founder and CEO of MasteryTrack and previously served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at New Teacher Center.
Sliwerski takes over for Larry Singer, who served as Open Up Resources’ CEO from August, 2015 and oversaw its startup phase. As the nonprofit moves into its next, more execution-focused phase, Singer is retiring to run his family farm in White Salmon, WA, plans that he announced last year.
“After three years at Open Up Resources, I am deeply proud to leave this thriving nonprofit in the capable hands of Jessica Sliwerski, an astoundingly talented leader and a passionate, mission-driven educator, as its new CEO,” Singer said. “Between Jessica’s proven track record at execution and team leadership and the addition of Scott Ellis as Executive Chairman, which provides excellent continuity from our founding days, Open Up Resources is well-positioned as it shifts from its startup phase into a phased that is focused on execution of a proven model.”
With more than $18 million in support from philanthropies including the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Open Up Resources partners with expert content creators to make best-in-class OER curricula available to school districts everywhere.
For more information about Open Up Resources, visit openupresources.org.
ABOUT OPEN UP RESOURCES
Open Up Resources is a nonprofit that develops the highest quality K–12 curricula available and provides them to districts for free, as open educational resources, to promote equity in education. Open Up Resources partners with the country’s foremost math and literacy experts to create superb instructional materials which earn the very top ratings in third party reviews, then equips districts with the support they need to implement with success. Its mission: to provide students with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned materials, while easing adoption by districts.