Susan Patrick Named President & CEO NACOL [North American Council for Online Learning]

July 27, 2005

Susan Patrick, Director of Educational Technology at US Department of Education, Selected as President & CEO of North American Council for Online Learning

Washington, DC (July 26, 2005) – The North American Council for Online Learning(NACOL), an international organization focused on enhancing and promoting high quality K-12 online learning, announced today that Susan D. Patrick has been unanimously selected President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective September 6, 2005.

“I am energized by this opportunity and am looking forward to working with NACOL and the education community on expanding the benefits of online learning to students throughout the country and the world. Not since the creation of printing press have we seen such a dynamic shift in the reinvention and expansion of educational opportunities,” said Ms. Patrick. “Online learning is not a trend – it is a fundamental shift in the way student are learning and a new reality. Today’s students want more options when it comes to education and our global economy is demanding students are equipped with rigorous coursework and real world skills. In the past few years, there has been a tremendous growth in K-12 online courses; we need to consider this as we begin to rethink education in the 21st century – and, I believe the best is yet to come.”

According to a 2005 report by U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one-third (36 percent) of public school districts and 9 percent of public schools had students enrolled in distance education courses which contributed to the more than 328,000 course enrollments nationwide. The number of students taking classes online is predicted to grow to over 500,000 according to Eduventures, a leading information services company for the education marketplace.

“We are looking forward to working with Susan. Not only does she have a wealth of expertise working in education technology but she has a passion for creating successful projects through collaboration and exploration,” said Steve Baxendale, chair, NACOL Board of Directors and director of PRELStar at Pacific Resources for Education and Learning in Honolulu. “Her vision and commitment to online learning combined with her experience at the U.S. Department of Education will enable NACOL to achieve its overall goals and objectives and create additional momentum in the online learning community.”

Founded in 2003, NACOL’s mission is to increase educational opportunities and enhance learning by providing collegial expertise and leadership in K-12 online teaching and learning. As the new President and CEO, Ms. Patrick will be responsible overall management of all NACOL programs, including the organization’s Virtual School Symposium and Online Learning Clearinghouse. She will also be responsible for implementing NACOL’s strategic plan including developing projects based on member priorities and collaborating with other education organizations.

In 2004, Ms. Patrick was appointed Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and reports to the Secretary of Education. As Director, she published the National Education Technology Plan, Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today’s Students Are Revolutionizing Expectations; managed the federal government’s educational technology policies, and; hosted two Secretary’s No Child Left Behind Technology Leadership Summits: Empowering Accountability and Assessment Through Technology and Increasing Options through E-Learning. Ms. Patrick also served as Co-chair of the federal government’s Advanced Technologies Working Group for Education and Training. She served as a member of the Secretary’s Rural Education Task Force. Patrick served as Deputy Director from 2002-2004. From 1999-2002, Patrick served Governor Jane Dee Hull of Arizona as Strategic Communications Manager and legislative liaison for technology policy, managing media and strategic communications for the Government Information Technology Agency. She received the 2001 Governor’s Spirit of Excellence Recognition Award for the Telecommunications Open Partnerships for Arizona (TOPAZ) initiative. In the late 1990s, Patrick was Site Director for Old Dominion University’s TELETECHNET program and managed a distance learning campus.

Patrick holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College.

The North American Council for Online Learning is an international K-12 non-profit organization representing the interests of administrators, practitioners, and students involved in online learning in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NACOL is dedicated to fostering a learning landscape that promotes student success and lifelong learning by facilitating collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online learning. The founding members of NACOL are public and private school organizations, teachers, school support staff, and professional staff all with an interest in promoting online learning.