Chairman, Big Picture Learning
Founding Editor, Education Week and Teacher Magazine
During his career, Ron Wolk has kept one foot in journalism and the other in education. He spent the first three years of his career as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor.
Beginning in 1958, Wolk served as Assistant to President Milton S. Eisenhower at Johns Hopkins University (1958-1967). During 1968, worked with Clark Kerr in Berkeley as Assistant Director of the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Milton Eisenhower summoned Wolk to Washington in the fall of 1968 to serve as his assistant on the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence established after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. In 1969, Wolk went to Brown University as Vice President of University Relations, where he was responsible for publications, alumni affairs, fundraising, public information, special events, and campus security.
Wolk left Brown in the fall of 1978 and moved to Washington, DC to become President of Editorial Projects in Education. In 1981, he launched Education Week, American education’s newspaper of record. (In 1966, he had been instrumental in launching The Chronicle of Higher Education.) In 1988, Wolk started Teacher Magazine and served as its editor. In 1996, he established Quality Counts, a special annual report on the condition of standards-based reform in the 50 states.
In 1997, Wolk retired to Rhode Island. Wolk received his bachelors degree from Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and honorary degrees from Brown, Lebanon Valley College, and Westminster College. He remains active in school reform efforts, serving on the Board of Editorial Projects in Education, and Chairman of the Board of the Big Picture Company. Chairman of the Board of What Kids Can Do, a national education organization located in Barrington that promotes and publicizes the accomplishments of young people across the nation. He helped establish the Rhode Island Business Roundtable and served on its executive committee until 2004. Wolk is also an adjunct member of the faculty of the department of education at Brown, and a member of the advisory committee of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown.
Wolk has served on the boards of a number of national education organizations. Among the honors he has received are:
- The 2008 James B. Conant Award from the Education Commission of the States
- The Public Service Award of the American Educational Research Association
- The Crossing the River Jordan Award of the Public Education Network
- The Klingenstein Award for Outstanding Contribution to American Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
- The James Lee Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to American Education, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education
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