HYA invites outstanding leaders to consider the following extraordinary opportunity in the Boston, Massachusetts area:
Chief People Officer, Curriculum Associates
North Billerica, Massachusetts
ABOUT CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES
The Early Years
Like many great ideas with humble beginnings, Curriculum Associates was launched in a garage. In 1969, four passionate educators—including an elementary school principal, a district official for Wellesley Public Schools, and two education publishers—founded an education company that would put students first. Their mission? To create world-class products that made classrooms better places for teachers and students.
Frank Ferguson, who would later take the reins as President, was involved from the start as a founding investor and advisor to G. Willard Woodruff, George Moore, Andrew Macalaster, and Christopher Sims. From day one, Curriculum Associates (CA) was committed to providing classrooms with the most innovative instructional materials, many of which were shaped by the work of preeminent Boston University professor Donald Durrell and his students. Inspired by the new company’s mission, Frank burned the candle at both ends, spending early morning hours with the CA team before heading to his day job as President of the Bose Corporation. In 1979, Frank took over as President of CA and later oversaw the company’s move to its current headquarters in North Billerica. From this office, Curriculum Associates would grow to become one of the leading education technology companies in the country.
While today CA is recognized as a technology leader, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the company didn’t even own a computer until 1984! For the first thirty-odd years, CA developed a reputation for producing exceptional print products for K–12 like Brigance and Quick-Word, eventually expanding into the assessment market with Test Ready Mathematics in 1989. Just as CA eventually outgrew the garage, soon it would take the lessons learned from creating these exceptional print products and create some of the leading digital instruction tools on the market.
Same Mission: New Leadership
After leading CA for nearly three decades and establishing its reputation as a small but respected print publisher, Frank—now in his eighties—turned his focus to the future of the company. Deeply committed to giving back and preserving CA’s founding mission to serve classrooms for the long term, Frank began the search for his successor with these values in mind.
Selected as the new leader was Rob Waldron, bringing experience from both the for-profit and nonprofit education worlds. Having served as CEO of the K–12 tutoring division of Kaplan Education and CEO of Jumpstart, a national nonprofit preparing preschoolers from low-income backgrounds for success, Rob was the right choice for CA. He joined the company as CEO in 2008, committing to preserving its philanthropic, classroom-focused founding values while driving its long-term success.
Bringing CA into the Digital Age: Developing Ready and i-Ready
Under Rob’s leadership, CA expanded its print product offerings and made the exciting move into the technology space, effectively evolving from a small print workbook company to one of the largest players in the industry.
One of the first major undertakings was the development of the Ready Reading and Ready Mathematics print products. The CA team created both products entirely from scratch to align with new, more rigorous Common Core and state standards. In 2011, CA moved into the digital age with the development of an online diagnostic and instruction tool called i-Ready designed to pinpoint student needs and deliver personalized instruction. This blended solution completely changed the way CA was able to support students, and efficacy studies show that using Ready and i-Ready together accelerates student performance and growth.
With the release of this combined print and digital learning tool, CA secured its place as a pioneer in the edtech industry. Built from the ground up to meet the needs of today’s learners and provide data to save educators time, these award-winning programs exemplify the company’s founding mission to improve classrooms.
Growth: Driven by Values
Over the years, CA has maintained its focus on supporting classrooms with stellar service and world-class products, investing heavily in hiring top talent and developing new offerings while maintaining a commitment to giving back. This winning formula of good people, strong service, and a product to believe in drove the company to quintuple in size and revenue from 2013–2017. Key to this remarkable growth was leadership’s adherence to the founders’ original commitment to giving back. When CA did well, they also did good.
In 2016, CA’s commitment to giving took center stage, making headlines and history when the company announced the donation of the majority of shares to charity. After careful vetting of potential buyers for these shares, CA selected local private equity firm Berkshire Partners, whose shared long-term values and support will ensure the company’s continued growth and expand its ability to provide students with tools to support their success. This sale resulted in proceeds of approximately $200 million to charity and was one of the ten largest philanthropic gifts of 2017. The resulting donations were the largest ever received by the Iowa State University Foundation and the Boston Foundation.
At nearly 50 years young, CA maintains the same dedication to giving back, to exceptional products, and to long-term growth that have made it such a successful innovator in the edtech industry. With 800 employees (and counting) and products that serve over 7 million students, we have more reach and resources than ever before, allowing us to enact change the likes of which our founders could only dream of. While our days in a garage are long behind us, CA’s founding mission remains our north star. We maintain the same commitment to service, to excellence, and to improving the lives of teachers and students that we did half a century ago.