Kickboard Looking for New CEO

Kickboard Looking for New CEO

By
Jen Medbery, founder of Kickboard / www.college.columbia.edu

Jen Medbery, founder of Kickboard, said she's stepping out of the chief executive role of her company but plans to continue to lead product development. 

Kickboard, based in New Orleans, began as a tool for measuring student performance and has evolved into an analytics platform that fuses behavior management and leadership coaching. It's used in more than 500 schools in 32 states and has touched the lives of almost 250,000 students, according to the company. 

Medbery originally trained as a computer scientist and taught in New Orleans as part of the Teach for America program. She launched the company in 2009 and has raised $2.8 million in funding (in a seed and 2013 A round) from investors that include New Market Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures and angel investors. 

These days, Kickboard focuses on helping teachers and schools reinforce students' positive social and emotional behaviors. Kickboard tracks students' behavior points, "scholar dollars," and other incentives for positive behavior. Kickboard supports teachers by providing students reports and making it easier for teachers, students and parents to share updates. Adminstrators, too, can see dashboards on activities throughout their districts. 

Although Kickboard offers free trials of its software, the company has also charged for its products--and consequently has grown revenue steadily throughout its seven years.

The company also recently released a free, downloadable survey of 2,500 teachers and administrators, carried out by YouGov, describing school climate and culture. The top finding? "Educators see and address the interplay between student academic success, behavior, and social and emotional needs." To deal with this, 72 percent of teachers surveyed said they use a system of rewards and consequences to address student behaviors; 57 percent say they are engaged in efforts to make sure students feel safe, and the same percentage look for ways to address non-academic barriers to teaching and learning. That said, only about a third of teachers say they tally or record student behavior data. 

Medbery told EdSurge that she plans to continue to stay with Kickboard, even as the company seeks a chief executive to help drive growth. In an email to the company, Medbery wrote: "I will continue to lean in, focusing my energies within the company on thought leadership and enriching our product to ensure that it is always ahead of the curve.” 

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