Charlie Coglianese is the Founder and CEO of Schoolrunner, a Denver-based K-12 EdTech start-up. This is a data management tool that helps teachers to be able to track the academics, attendance, behavior, and even the standards mastery of their students. In order to monitor the academic progress of their students, teachers rely on the student data that they collect regularly, for instance, their academic results, class attendance, their participation rate, and even disciplinary issues. Before its creation, teachers entered student data on spreadsheets, in order to compile information, and it is not only strenuous but time-consuming. Teaching and planning lessons mainly took a 'back-seat' as teachers tried to gather information in relation to their students. With the Schoolrunner system, educators are able to track their student data in relation to their school attendance, behavior, grades, standards mastery, and also student family contact information. The system is able to integrate the data that the teacher collects, with the existing Student Information Systems (SIS). It also has a variety of tools that will assist teachers in the analysis and creation of visual aids of the collected data. Teachers are able to plan their lessons effectively, and also address the academic problems that their students face.
Charlie Coglianese holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from the Yale University. Initially, he built software for different hedge-funds in New York, and after ten years, he decided to quit. He states that although the job was well-paying, after ten years of doing the same or similar things for different companies, he felt that he needed some change. He wanted to do something that would inspire him, and create change. His business idea was borne during this period after having a conversation with his friend, Ben Marcovitz, a founding principal of a New Orleans Charter School. Marcovitz had informed him about the challenges that teachers in his school were facing in terms of collection, and management of data, and he decided to try and come up with a solution to address this problem, leading to the creation of Schoolrunner.
Coglianese states that one of his keys to success to Schoolrunner was that he before he developed this software, he spent six months in the New Orleans High School interviewing the school principal, teachers and even the school secretary. The reason for this was to identify the challenges that they faced, and the solutions that they hoped for with the new system. This helped him considerably during the development of this new software because he understood the problems that different staff members faced in terms of data collection, and analysis. The software that he designed integrates with the SIS and therefore ensures that any school staff member can easily record information in relation to a student ( academic, behavior, and attendance). It is also designed in such a way that data is categorized to avoid repetition and easy analysis. It makes the work of both the teaching, and non-teaching staff easier, and also improves the students' overall performance in school that has implemented this program improves.
The software or the program is easy to implement as users only need to set up an account and access it from a browser such as Google Chrome. There are also apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices making it convenient for teachers in terms of access. The program costs $3 per student per month, making it affordable for both the public, private learning institutions in the country. The company's clients have grown from the initial 700 students in the New Orleans Charter school to over 50,000 students in 72 schools in different parts of the country such as Boston, Chicago, Houston, Memphis, and San Francisco.
Coglianese describes himself as a strategic leader. He feels that in the 'tech world' leaders have to be able to ensure that their employees visualize the overall goal and objective of an organization. This will help them to use their skills and knowledge to become more innovative, and therefore ensure that the company grows. He adds that he manages who have skills and capabilities that he does not have such as in marketing and sales, but through his style of leadership, he is able to make them buy into his vision and dream of the company.
Charlie Coglianese states that his biggest regret as the CEO and Founder of Schoolruner was that he did not develop a business plan when he started. He was more focused on creating a solution to a problem, instead of creating a 'blueprint' on how to grow and expand his company past the New Orleans Charter School. He feels that if he had a business plan in 2012, he could have attracted more investors, and data management tool could have been implemented in most schools by now. He adds that his biggest challenge today is that although most school principals and administrators see the value, and convenience of his management tool, they are unwilling to adapt to these new changes. They also feel that it is an added cost, and for teachers who feel they need it should purchase it on their own. He feels that his main competitors are: SAF School Management Software and SchoolTonic. However, he feels that his system is better because it can effectively be used in both a computer- and mobile-based platform.
Coglianese advice to future entrepreneurs is that they should always assign the value to their work. He states that most people associate cheap or free products with low quality. He also states that nobody knows the business better than the entrepreneur, and even though one will receive advise from different people, one should stick to his or her original plan ( in a majority of cases). Also, just because it is a start-up it does not mean that they have to be new and unique in all areas of their business to be successful. If they take this approach their businesses will highly likely fail because of business costs incurred, time wasted, and it will be easy for them to make mistakes ( because this is something that has never been done before).
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Interview: Charlie Coglianese CEO and Founder of School-Runner. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/interview-charlie-coglianese-ceo-and-founder-of-school-runner
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