Education technology lost a “beacon of inspiration” this week with the passing of Barbara Dreyer, CEO and founder of Baltimore-based Connections Education. “That millions of children and adults are now learning because of technology-driven, online solutions is owed largely to the path-breaking work Barbara started nearly 20 years ago,” shared Jeanne Allen this morning on the Center for Education Reform, where she serves as executive director. President Obama recognized her work in a personal letter thanking Dreyer for her “dedication to unlocking the promise of young people.”
Others are highlighting the pivotal role Dreyer played in Maryland. “Barbara is the archetypal representative of education innovation in Maryland,” shared Frank Bonsal, director of entrepreneurship at Towson University, where Dreyer served 12 years on the Board of Visitors. “She was tenacious, thick-skinned, and resolute in her service to the end user (students).” Bonsal further commented on her authenticity as a person: “A Towson University and Loyola University Maryland alum, an accounting and finance expert who grew into a great edtech leader, a horse lover who remounted after every fall, she was authentic to the core.”
Founded by Dreyer in 2002, Connections Education provides online and blended education to K-12 public students across the US. Dreyer continued to serve as CEO after Connections was acquired by Pearson in 2011. She received many awards for her pioneering efforts in virtual learning, including the Center for Education Reform’s award for service, the Florida Virtual School’s “Opening Doors to the World” award for worldwide education innovation, and the US Distance Learning Association’s “Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning.” Dreyer also served on multiple corporate and non-profit boards.