About Andrew Benson
Andrew Benson founded Smarter Schools in 2013 after nearly two decades working on education reform. He was most recently Vice President of KnowledgeWorks and Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters, the Ohio subsidiary for KnowledgeWorks. He spearheaded the Ohio Smart Schools effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness of K-12 education in the state, and he has supported the state over the past 10 years on numerous reform efforts, including the Ohio Race to the Top grant proposal (2010), the Governor's Institute on Creativity and Innovation in Education (2009), the Governor's Transition Committee for Higher Education (2006) and the State Board's High School Task Force (2004-05)
He was previously the founding President of the New Ohio Institute, a statewide think tank studying education, economic development, and community development. Prior to that, he was a journalist in Cleveland, Houston and several other cities.
He holds a Master's in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Master's in Journalism from the Ohio State University, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from Ohio University.
Smarter Schools is a non-profit consulting organization created to help promote efficiency and effectiveness in education. We do that by identifying the potential for greater efficiencies in a state and then advocating for a path that state and local schools can follow to go farther with the resources they have.
In Ohio, we have identified blended learning as a key strategy for schools and districts to equip teachers with technology that extends their reach. In that way, they will be able to reach every student with the instruction they need, allowing students to advance at their own pace as they gain essential skills and competency.
This work builds from the success we found in Ohio with the Ohio Smart Schools initiative supported by KnowledgeWorks and Ohio Education Matters beginning in 2010. During the years of the initiative (2009-2012), the number of Ohio school districts in the top ratings increased by 43.5% while state aid to schools declined 5%, or about $400 million. Over the last two years, the state invested $345 million in innovation funds to spur improvements. We have put together a model that builds on those learnings from Ohio to benefit other states. Contact us to learn more.
Kristi Benson leads graphic design work for Smarter Schools publications and communications materials. She has an extensive background and training in graphic design, beginning with her bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati's DAAP. She was previously Art Director for F+W Publications where she led a team of designers that supported national trade publications like Writer's Digest and Story Magazine and books published by the Cincinnati-based publisher.
More recently, she works for The Living Magazines, publishers of monthly suburban magazines in Greater Cincinnati, and has developed her own product, The Lunch Cards, ready-made riddle cards for parents to put into their children's lunches. That product is available for sale on-line and in Ohio and Kentucky retailers.