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Graduation Alliance appoints Dr. Shawn K. Smith as COO

  • Diana Kanzler
  • January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024

Salt Lake City, UT: Graduation Alliance is pleased to share that Dr. Shawn K. Smith has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer after a five-month search to fill the role. Dr. Smith comes from McGraw Hill where he served as Chief Innovation Officer from November 2020 until his move to Graduation Alliance this month.

A national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy, Dr. Smith spent 15 years working as a teacher and principal in California and Illinois as well as the Chief of Schools for Chicago Public Schools. He also co-founded Modern Teacher and served as its CEO for nine years.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Smith join Graduation Alliance. His varied background as an entrepreneur, operator, and educator will further strengthen our executive team and bolster our organization’s mission of helping students of all ages reach their educational and career goals,” Graduation Alliance CEO Ron Klausner said.

Dr. Smith is also an author, speaker, and rare book collector. He holds one of the largest private collections of John Dewey’s writings. A writer himself, Dr. Smith has also authored four books on education and has appeared on the Discovery and Learning channels as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs. He holds degrees from Carthage College; California State University, San Bernardino; and the University of Southern California.

“Graduation Alliance serves a unique population of learners and has a tremendous impact on the lives of students, their families, and their communities. I am deeply inspired by the mission of this organization and excited for the opportunity ahead,” Dr. Smith said.

About Graduation Alliance: Since 2007, Graduation Alliance has given schools and communities nationwide the resources and support needed to help individuals reach their educational and career goals. Graduation Alliance develops highly effective alternative education and workforce training programs in partnership with school districts, local governments, nonprofits, workforce development boards, and community colleges. For more information about Graduation Alliance, visit