The former executive director of Teach for America in Kansas City saw a need and filled it, earning her a 2014 “innovator of the year” award.
Alicia Herald, who completed a year-long fellowship with Pipeline Inc., an entrepreneurial networking and educational group, this week earned the organization’s top honor.
Herald hatched the idea that became myEDmatch LLC when she was in an Olin Business School Executive MBA class. In a paper written for a course taught by a professor, Anjan Thakor, Herald conceived an online platform to address high teacher turnover rates.
The technology tool works like an online dating site to match schools and teachers. Its biggest client to date, signed last year, was a Dallas public school district.
Herald, a former fourth-grade teacher, didn’t intend to leave her Teach for America job. But early encouragement about the myEDmatch idea turned her full time to developing the business, which has raised nearly $2.9 million in funding.
She received early angel investments in Kansas City and subsequent funding in St. Louis, where myEDmatch now is based.
Herald said Friday that the company is growing quickly. It has immediate openings for sales and account managers. And it’s on the verge of announcing a strategic partnership with another education-related organization.
The technology is used by more than 450 partner schools or districts nationally, and more than 23,000 teachers are registered on the site.
Her innovation prize? “A beautiful bowl,” she said. “A great way to remember the experience.”