President & CEO
Location: Mesa, AZ
When Mark Plitzuweit arrived at Edkey® Inc. in 2016, the education nonprofit was nearly $3 million in the red at the end of the fiscal year. Plitzuweit implemented a restructuring and rightsizing, and the numbers speak for themselves.
The organization was at a positive $7 million position at the end of the 2021 fiscal year. Student math and English scores increased 18% and 15%, respectively. On-time graduation rates are at 90%, and the student population across the organization has increased from 4,800 in 2016 to 11,000. The number of programs has doubled, employee retention is at 97% and parent satisfaction is at 90%.
“In 2016, Edkey Inc. was underperforming in multiple areas and had a culture crisis looming,” Plitzuweit’s team said. “Student outcomes were falling well below state averages, and employee morale was at an all-time low. He has been able to transform the culture, the financial viability and student outcomes by building teams of high-performing professionals that share and promote the vision and mission of Edkey Inc.”
Edkey Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides educational services to a variety of institutions and charter schools. It consists of 28 Arizona schools and programs, each with its own missions and visions.
“The ‘cookie-cutter’ world of education may work for several students, but there is an entire segment that requires something different to be successful,” the nonprofit said. “Taking calculated risks with programs that don’t fit the ‘traditional model’ of education and that provide flexibility for students and their families is the first step in closing gaps that many may fall through along their educational journey.”
At Edkey Inc., each community has a say in how and what their children learn. School-specific missions include a school for the deaf and hard of hearing, a school with an 80% homeless population, a school for students with emotional disabilities, schools based on fine arts or that are STEAM and STEM focused or have a high-end athletics focus, and more.
In the next five years, Edkey Inc. projects that the student population will reach 15,000, the number of employees will increase to 1,400 and revenues will reach the $150 million range, up from about $42 million in 2016.
For over 27 years, Plitzuweit has been a model leader in education. He has been the recipient of multiple awards in both K–12 and higher education environments. He has been acknowledged as a Top 30 Leader to Watch by The Silicon Review. He received an award for Excellence in Education and presented on innovative education programs at the GFEL Conference in June 2021. In 2022, Plitzuweit received an Outstanding Leadership Award and accepted the Top Educational Organization award for Edkey Inc. at the Education 2.0 Conference.
I was a 3 sport athlete in college. I played basketball, baseball, and soccer.