Acelero Learning Co-Founder & COO Henry Wilde to Become Next CEO

Co-Founder & CEO Aaron Lieberman to become Executive Chair of the Board; CAO Doug Whiteman to add the role of President

Acelero Learning announced today that Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Henry Wilde will become the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In the last two years, while Mr. Wilde served as COO, he led the organization through three successful federal reviews; generated year-over-year child outcome increases, including some of the largest gains ever recorded in a Head Start program; and launched the company’s new Shine Implement outsourced Head Start leadership division. Shine Implement has rapidly expanded and will serve over 1,700 young children in Early Head Start and Head Start programs in three different states this coming year. As CEO, he will report directly to the Board of Directors and will hold primary responsibility for strategic development, overall organizational execution, and all programmatic functions.

Current CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Lieberman will transition to the role of Acelero Learning’s Executive Chair of the Board as he relocates to his native Arizona with his wife and two young sons. Doug Whiteman will continue as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) while assuming greater responsibility for the organization’s external relations and day-to-day operations as President.

“Henry Wilde fully exemplifies our ideal leader for the company: passionate, compassionate, whip-smart, and, above all, intensely motivated by our mission to do good in the world,” said Mr. Lieberman. “He has not just risen to every challenge -- he has soared over them, and I know he will continue to do so.”

Aaron Lieberman and Henry Wilde co-founded Acelero Learning in 2001 with a vision to develop and manage the highest-quality Head Start programs nationwide. Since Acelero Learning’s inception, Mr. Wilde has served as Executive Director of two Acelero Learning delegate locations, as a member of the Board, and as COO. Previously, he was the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Children and Families for the State of Wisconsin, where he oversaw the Head Start State Collaboration Office, the child care subsidy program, child care licensing, and the creation of Youngstar, the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). Mr. Wilde is a graduate of Harvard University, and began his career working as Special Assistant to Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund. He also earned an MBA focused on social enterprise from the Harvard Business School and is an Ascend Fellow and a Pahara Fellow at the Aspen Institute. As COO, Mr. Wilde has overseen all programmatic initiatives and direct Head Start services, as well as the Shine Implement and Shine Assist programs.

Since he joined Acelero Learning as CAO in January 2014, Doug Whiteman has been in charge of all support services including finance, legal, human resources, and compliance functions, as well as for reporting and governance issues. Previously, he served as chair of the Acelero Learning - Monmouth/Middlesex Board of Directors for seven years. In his new role as President and CAO, Mr. Whiteman will add direct oversight of partner recruitment. Prior to joining Acelero Learning, Mr. Whiteman had a 30-year career at Penguin Group Inc., including serving as VP of Sales and then as President of Penguin/Putnam Young Readers.  His work at Penguin culminated in serving as EVP of Operations for the entire company.

“I have known Doug for over 15 years, but the last 18 months of working side by side as he assumed the reigns of Chief Administrative Officer for the company have completely convinced me that he is the perfect person for the President role,” said Mr. Lieberman. “Doug has recruited an amazing senior team for our support services staff, has built a fantastic operating partnership with Henry, and has had a major impact on areas of our business that are outside of his considerable scope with his smarts, good judgment, and vast experience. I have also been so impressed by Doug’s willingness to put the company, and the children we serve, first in every decision he has made.”

As he prepares for this cross-country move, Mr. Lieberman will transition from his current role as CEO of Acelero Learning and Shine Early Learning into his new leadership position as Executive Chair of the Board. In this role, he will continue to oversee and work closely with the Acelero Learning team by chairing and participating in all board meetings; maintaining involvement in sales and investor relations work; and meeting weekly with the CEO and President/CAO. Mr. Lieberman has consulted closely with senior leaders and the Acelero Learning Board in developing this transition plan, and will maintain his strong commitment and dedication to the company from his new home in Arizona.

“Nobody can replace Aaron,” said Mr. Wilde. “His talent, vision, and energy are beyond that of anyone I have met or known -- and it is a testament to him that the team we have built at Acelero Learning and Shine Early Learning reflect all of those attributes. I am confident that our team of leaders will continue to drive innovation and positive child outcomes in our programs and the Head Start programs we serve. I am excited to continue to work with him in his new capacity and to build on the work we have done together for the past 15 years."

“This is both an exciting time as well as a sad one for me,” said Mr. Whiteman. “Aaron Lieberman personally recruited me, first as an Acelero Monmouth County board member, and later as the company’s CAO, and I will greatly miss seeing him on a daily basis. He is a true visionary and an inspiring leader who is unparalleled in his field. At the same time, I know that Henry Wilde is poised to be a phenomenal CEO for this company, and the notion of expanding my partnership with him is incredibly energizing. I look forward to working alongside Henry to continue to expand our reach and make even greater progress as we strive to close the achievement gap for many thousands of children and families.”

Please see the full press release here.