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Thank Your Favorite Association Exec

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I like most association people -- the folks that run the acronyms. I appreciate the ones that don't just pander to their members but deliver value while leading them to a better place.

Take Doug Levin of the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) for example, he has been the leading champion for broadband access (it's becoming a big edequality issue), is an advocate for open education resources, and just launched a State Education Policy Center -- a great resource for his members. Doug is advancing the sector while serving his members. He anticipates issues and opportunities and calls them to our attention. He is humble, thoughtful, and all about impact.

Susan Patrick, International Association for K-12 Online Learning is another great example. Patrick anticipated the rise of blended learning and is the leading advocate for competency-based learning.

Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officers, played a pivotal role in the development and adoption of Common Core State Standards. "Gene Wilhoit is an educational hero," said David Coleman.

Sector leadership is a big complicated job. It requires understanding and corralling lots of different views, building and maintaining a Rolodex of connections, and developing and executing multi-faceted change strategy. These folks travel constantly and don't make as much as they could in the private sector. Their commitment to advancing the field and improving outcomes for kids is inspiring.

Good association leaders recruit great board members -- people equally committed to long term impact. The folks I serve with on the iNACOL board are a joy to be around, they are bright, committed, knowledgeable, and all about impact.

I appreciate chamber of commerce executives that are champions for their community. I appreciate the state school administrator execs that push for equity and excellence.

Thank your favorite association exec this week.

Disclosure: Tom Vander Ark is CEO of Open Education Solutions and a partner at Learn Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in educational technology.