Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and CEO of Getting Smart, a learning advocacy firm. Tom advocates for innovations that customize and motivate learning and extend access.
Tom is also a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in edtech startups. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience including serving as a senior executive for a national public retail chain.
A prolific writer and speaker, Tom has published thousands of articles, has written and contributed to six published books and co-authored more than 12 white papers. He writes a daily Education Week blog, Vander Ark on Innovation, and makes regular contributions to GettingSmart.com and Huffington Post.
Tom is board chair of Charter Board Partners, Treasurer for the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and is a director of AdvancePath, Bloomboard, Imagination Foundation, and Strive for College. Tom is a national advisory board member for Communities In Schools, National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), and New Classrooms.
Tom received the Distinguished Achievement Medal and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He received his M.B.A. in finance from the University of Denver. He continues his education online.
Tom will lead an interactive discussion on the future of learning including examples of 20 schools using challenge based learning, blended strategies, and producing 21st Century Skills.