Honoring a stand-out edtech company that has gone above and beyond in serving the education sector.
COMPANY OF THE YEAR 2019 | Skyward
Solution: K-12 student information system and a finance/human resources suite for schools; Skyward systems help school districts to manage grades, schedules, food service accounts, online assignments, teacher communications, and more.
Founder: Jim King
CEO: Scott Glinski / President: Ray Ackerlund
Past Honors: EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award (2013, 2015; 2019 finalist); Bubbler Award (2017)
Location: Stevens Point, WI USA (headquarters)
Notable numbers: 2,000+ school districts worldwide; serving over 7 million students; in 21 states, 10 countries.
Milestones: Established 1980; new world headquarters opened in 2016.
Controlled growth. That is how the company started, and 40 years later, that is how they have endured. From their first product back in 1981, Skyward has remained committed to “a better experience” for every user; today the company serves more than 2,000 customers reaching 7 million students in 21 states with their administrative software for education.
In an interview with CEO Scott Glinski, who has been with the company for 32 years, upon becoming CEO in January 2019, Glinski said, “I have seen firsthand how the work we do contributes to education and I look forward to finding new ways to bring a better experience to our customers. I am ready to set our sights on the future. This is an exciting time, and the best is yet to come for our Skyward family.”
Ray Ackerlund, formerly the Chief Marketing Officer, succeeded Glinski as Skyward’s President. Cliff King retired at the end of 2018 and transitioned into a part-time role on the Skyward Board of Directors.
With the growth of an empowered workplace culture, Skyward has seen substantial growth, achieving several company milestones, including:
– Expanding job growth by 70%.
– Securing a contract with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), making Skyward the preferred student information system (SIS) provider in the state of Texas.
– Developing Qmlativ, the next evolution of Skyward’s school management software.
– Becoming a top-ten place to work in Wisconsin for millennials.
Over the years, Skyward has been recipient of EdTech Digest’s Cool Tool Award as part of The EdTech Awards, and as they move into their 40-year anniversary as a company, they are now honored with the title of EdTech Digest Company of the Year.
“This is a technology company that has been there for education since back in the early days,” says Victor Rivero, Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest. “They have made serving people a priority, and have done so through sticking to their values of hard work and positive productivity. They have steadfastly listened to their customers and wisely iterated to better serve them. In an age of rapid change, they have made quality of service a constant, and for that we are proud to recognize Skyward in bringing solutions to school districts across the country and around the world.”
Factors considered in arriving at Company of the Year determination include: reach, growth, product clarity, efficacy, results, user feedback, workability, company culture and leadership, innovation, persistence on a given course, agility, quality control, product development and improvements, technological soundness, ease of use, setting a good example, other exemplary qualities, and general potential; in brief, innovation, leadership, and trendsetting in the field of education technology.
“I think another key to success has been our executive team’s willingness to meet face-to-face with as many of our customers as possible and simply listen,” said Glinski. “We wouldn’t be where we are without putting our customers first and understanding their needs. Great software is one thing, but outstanding support is every bit as important—maybe even more,” Glinski said.