Former North Carolina Governor and U.S Deputy Secretary of Education Join Jefferson Education Accelerator Board

WASHINGTON, DC, March 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Jefferson Education Accelerator, today, announced that former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education William Hansen and former North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue will join its board of directors. Launched last month, in partnership with the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education Foundation, the Accelerator was established to identify and scale promising education solutions by providing access to expertise, investment capital, and the opportunity to conduct efficacy studies with leading researchers and practitioners.

Hansen, who served as Deputy Secretary of Education from 2001-2003, is President and Chief Executive Officer of USA Funds, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing student success in college and career. As a founding partner in the Accelerator, USA Funds has committed $3 million to support its work. Hansen's extensive education background includes more than 30 years of experience across both K-12 and postsecondary education—as a policymaker, entrepreneur, and investor.

"Education technology holds the potential to transform the entire student lifecycle, from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education, to improve student outcomes," said Hansen. "The Accelerator will bridge the gap between practitioners and the private sector to harness that potential and discover solutions that work."

During Governor Perdue's tenure as the first female governor of North Carolina, the state's graduation rates topped 80% for the first time. As one of the nation's first "Ed Tech Governors," Perdue established a statewide broadband network for K-12 and postsecondary schools, and invested millions to bring innovative technology to classrooms across the state. Her work as Governor built upon her 25 years of service in the public sector, serving as Lieutenant Governor and seven terms in the North Carolina Senate and House.

"We are at a pivotal moment for schools and universities – great educators are drawing upon emerging technologies every day to connect with students and improve outcomes," said Governor Perdue. "I look forward to working with the Jefferson Education Accelerator to bring rigor and transparency to the process of ed tech evaluation, and ensure that the voice of educators is reflected in ed tech tools and solutions."

"I am honored that Governor Perdue and Bill Hansen will join our Board," said Bart Epstein, founding CEO. "They bring unparalleled expertise and a commitment to student success that is aligned with our mission of supporting innovation in K-12 and postsecondary sectors."

Governor Perdue and Hansen will assume positions on the Board of Directors immediately. In addition to the new board members, the Jefferson Education Accelerator welcomes Chief Academic Officer Todd Bloom. Bloom, who holds a Ph.D. in education administration from University of Wisconsin-Madison, previously served as Chief Academic Officer for Hobsons, which works with over 10,000 universities and schools globally. A former teacher, Bloom has advised district leaders and has spoken nationally on what it takes to ensure that students succeed beginning in elementary school, through college and beyond. In addition to leading the design of district and college pilots and implementation models, he will focus on the build-out of the Accelerator's national network of leading districts, schools, and colleges that seek to test and evaluate new models.

Launched in February, the Jefferson Accelerator will announce the first company to participate in the Accelerator at the beginning of April.

About Jefferson Education Accelerator

Combining the unabashedly innovative spirit of education technology with the academic rigor and excellence of one of the nation's top-ranked education programs, the Jefferson Education Accelerator identifies and evaluates the most promising education solutions in the U.S. and puts them on track to achieving scale and making impact. Established in partnership with the Curry School of Education Foundation, the Jefferson Education Accelerator finds the most promising education companies nationwide and helps them evaluate effectiveness in partnership with great educators and leading researchers.

About USA Funds

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a PurposeSM, building a more purposeful path for America's students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education.

CONTACT: Robert P. Murray (317) 806-1283 Jenna Talbot, (202) 479-7173Source:USAFunds