How a Year of Disruption Bred Unprecedented Innovation in Education

How do you extrapolate insights on pandemic leadership, the role of women in EdTech, and the dynamics of Zoom in just over 20 minutes? Listen to Kelli Campbell, President of Discovery Education as she imparts on how Discovery Education continues to reinvent products and services during COVID, how gender disparities in education need to be rectified, and what board meetings may look like in the “new normal.”

In her new role as President, Campbell will expand her portfolio and oversee all aspects of Discovery Education’s customer lifecycle management operations, as well as manage the recently acquired Mystery Science business. Most recently, Campbell served as the company’s President of International and University.  In that role she led the development of innovative partnerships with  Ministries of Education in Egypt, Chile, and with channel partners worldwide, and oversaw the development of the Discovery Education’s Impact Network, whose members offer educators online access to Discovery Education’s high-quality graduate-level professional learning content.

“Throughout my career at Discovery Education, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the tremendous impact our digital resources and professional learning can have on teaching and learning” – Kelli Campbell

Previously, Campbell led the creation and launch of the Discovery Education’s Techbook line of business.  In 2015, Campbell served on the committee that developed President Barack Obama’s “Digital Textbook Playbook.”  Prior to joining Discovery Education in 2006, she served as Vice President of Marketing & Product Development at Clearvue & SVE. An early pioneer in using cloud-based digital content for instruction, Campbell directed the creation, launch, and distribution of the award-winning media-on-demand system.

“Throughout my career at Discovery Education, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the tremendous impact our digital resources and professional learning can have on teaching and learning,” said Campbell.  “I’m excited to work alongside Scott, our Board of Directors, and the rest of the Discovery Education team on our shared mission to prepare all learners for tomorrow by creating innovative classrooms connected to today’s world.”

Below is an excerpt from a blog post Kelli wrote on LinkedIn last month:

Right now, an estimated 76% of K-12 educators in the U.S. are women, according to AASA. The issue isn’t that most teachers are women, but rather like far too many industries and sectors, women’s leadership isn’t reflected in leadership positions. Only 24% of school district’s chief officers are women.  While the total percent of women superintendents grew from 6.6% to 13.2% since 1990, 87% of men still hold that role within school districts nationwide. The lack of representation of women, particularly women of color, in these leadership levels impacts all of education.

Diversity at all levels fosters innovation and stronger, more equitable informed decision making that is reflective of today’s students. Women’s leadership in education supports the need for ongoing equity and diverse voices in the content, resources, and access provided to teachers and students in the U.S. and around the world.

While we need to have more women in leadership positions, reaching that goal cannot (and should not!) follow the old narrative of women ‘leaning in’. Research shows that addressing gender differences in leadership isn’t as simple as encouraging women to be more like men. Rather, all genders must identify, practice, and emulate successful leadership styles, which in practice, include many traits commonly associated with women’s working styles. In my experience, what makes a good leader are those very traits I see most often in my women colleagues: perseverance, empathy, open-mindedness, grace under pressure, multitasking, and open communication.

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