SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 15, 2013 — The American Academy, which partners with school districts across the nation to recruit, enroll and educate children who cannot or will not attend school, today announced that it has appointed Ray Kelly as its chief executive officer and a member of the company’s board of directors. The appointment of Kelly, a seasoned, results-driven CEO with extensive education technology leadership experience, follows TAA’s record growth in 2012 and marks a major milestone in the development of the company’s groundbreaking NoDropouts program for at-risk youth.
“The American Academy has an incredible mission and faces a unique and challenging opportunity,” Kelly said. “School districts need to get more students to graduation day. TAA is already working with 77 districts, and has an outstanding team of teachers, academic coaches and mentors to support the students. I am excited to be joining a growth-oriented company that has a meaningful mission, a vibrant culture and a winning philosophy.”
Kelly is an accomplished visionary leader, and a leading advocate for the value of technology-enabled education in raising economic and social standards globally. Most recently, Kelly was president and CEO of Utah-based Certiport, the world’s leading provider of technology education and credentialing programs. Under Kelly’s leadership, Certiport revenue and profit more than doubled, garnering the company recognition as one of America’s fastest growing education technology companies. In 2012, Kelly spearheaded the successful sale of the company to Pearson PLC for $140 million.
Prior to joining Certiport, Kelly was a catalyst for positive growth in executive positions with several other technology and education industry companies. As the senior vice president for client services at Prometric, he drove improved customer satisfaction and enhanced service levels while growing revenue, culminating in the sale of the company to Educational Testing Service (ETS). Prior to his service at Prometric, he was the CEO of ExecuTrain Corporation (a global training company), the SVP of sales and marketing for Mentergy Corporation (a publicly traded e-learning provider), the managing executive of Hewlett-Packard’s Retail Industry Organization, and vice president at NCR Corporation.
TAA co-founder and president Gregg Rosann said that’s the kind of experience the company needs at this critical time in its development. “TAA has established itself as a national leader in recruiting, enrolling and educating at-risk youth, and thousands of students have shown significant success in our program,” Rosann said. “Now, we are at the stage where having a seasoned industry veteran leading the company is critical to our growth, and I am very excited to work with Ray to continue our mission to improve the lives of at-risk youth through education.”
“It is rare to find an individual with the education-technology expertise, demonstrated leadership skills and the passion for at-risk students that Ray has,” said TAA co-founder and board member Anthony Meyer. “His record of leadership, team building and growth orientation make him the right leader at the right time for a company with a tremendous opportunity in the coming years.”
Kelly earned a computer science degree from the University of Coventry in England and a master’s degree in business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management. Kelly also has authored and presented numerous papers on leadership and technology in more than 100 countries. An active community leader, Kelly founded and developed The Cancer Challenge, growing it into one of the world’s premier charity events for cancer prevention and treatment. He also serves on several company boards, including TAA and Corporate Alliance, a Utah-based relationship management and software company.
About The American Academy
Established in 2007 and based in Salt Lake City, The American Academy partners with school districts across the nation to locate and educate high school dropouts. Through its groundbreaking NoDropouts™ program, TAA successfully combines online learning with local community support and advocacy to help at-risk youth continue their education and lead productive lives. In addition to its work with at-risk students, the company also manages a private, accredited, online high school focused on providing courses and diploma programs for students of all ages globally. Investors in TAA include New Markets Venture Partners, Austin Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures.
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Note: In September of 2013, The American Academy, along with its NoDropouts program, changed its name to Graduation Alliance.