Ed-Tech Industry Group Names Bridget Foster as New Leader

Associate Editor

The leadership of the education technology practice of the Software & Information Industry Association is changing for the second time in six months.

Bridget Foster, a long-time member of the organization and an education industry veteran, was named senior vice president and managing director of the Education Technology Industry Network of the SIIA on Tuesday. She has been asked to implement a strategic vision for the association, based on research undertaken by her predecessor, Chris Lohse, who was at the helm from August 2016 until now.

Bridget Foster
Bridget Foster takes the helm at the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA.

“Chris came in as a change agent,” said Ken Wasch, president of SIIA, in a phone interview. Lohse was asked to “see if we can change direction to make ETIN more relevant to where the industry’s going than where the industry’s been,” explained Wasch, who oversees all the sections of SIIA.

Now, the 175-member organization will implement a plan based more on the impact of ed-tech, as evidenced by the renaming and refocusing of its annual summer conference to the Education Impact Symposium (previously the Education Information Summit.)

“Up until recently, we’ve continued to talk about the promise of technology in education, and all the good things it could do,” Foster said in a phone interview from her California home. “We’re well past the promise and hope, and well into implementation.”

As educational technology allows for the collection of useful data about students, the association will help its member companies translate what that means for education, she said.

Besides its two major conferences each year, the ed-tech industry network is also hosting a two-day policy seminar this year in Washington, D.C. and running an ed-tech awards program. The network also produces research and provides webinars for members.

Foster, who started her career as a high school science and math teacher, has worked in the industry for nearly two decades. Her involvement with ed-tech began when she worked for the California Department of Education, creating a review process for ed-tech. She built a consulting practice, and conducted studies, like one she did recently on California’s English/language arts adoption with industry colleague Mitch Weisburgh.

The ed-tech industry network underwent two major changes last year, after long-time leader Karen Billings retired, and the organization absorbed another industry group, called the Education Industry Association, which had struggled to keep membership after a downturn in federal funding for tutoring. Most of the 80 members of that organization who had been brought into the ed-tech organization did not renew their memberships in ETIN, said Wasch. Many of them ran tutoring businesses.

(Michele Givens, CEO of Editorial Projects in Education which owns Education Week and EdWeek Market Brief, joined the board of ETIN this year.)

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