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Mark Plitzuweit

CEO

Edkey Inc.

Location: Mesa

Founded: 1994

Industry: Nonprofit Education

Mark Plitzuweit is the CEO of Edkey Inc., a nonprofit education organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities and serving diverse student populations.

The organization’s greatest achievement over the past year has been the expansion of its footprint and the introduction of school choice programs. Edkey Inc. has expanded services to reach those who are homeless, emotionally disabled, deaf or hard of hearing and survivors of human/sex trafficking. The organization has also extended its programs to support tribal communities in Arizona, offering consistency, routine and stability to students in mental health facilities. Edkey Inc. has also started programs for English language learner students in border towns and provided resources to refugee groups from multiple countries.

Plitzuweit recognizes the importance of adaptability to meet the changing needs of students, families and communities. Edkey Inc. regularly explores new and innovative educational models to ensure the best outcomes for students, the nonprofit said. One such model is the microschool concept, which offers safety, convenience and small class sizes to foster learning. Edkey Inc. aims to increase its student footprint to 12,000 within the next few years.

“In the education space, traditional models have been in place, attempting to educate all students in the same manner for decades. I don’t believe that is the most efficient and effective way to help students achieve their potential,” Plitzuweit said. “All students have different needs, and many students that are underserved have not had the same opportunities to participate in educational programs that mirror what success looks like.

“Over my career, it has been a constantly shifting goal to disrupt the education space and provide opportunities for students that don’t typically exist in traditional settings, especially within the underserved communities. The calculated risks that I take with my organization all revolve around what is best for students. Taking chances on programs that bring forward new concepts for the benefit of students has created an environment of competition, which has exponentially increased educational outcomes for students here in Arizona.”

With Plitzuweit at the helm, Edkey Inc. has achieved a higher-than-average employee satisfaction rate. The organization invests in training programs for aspiring school leaders and encourages staff and students to participate in service work, the nonprofit said.

“On our team, there is the ability to express opposing views and various ideas in a respectful manner, within a safe and accepting environment,” Plitzuweit said. “It’s important to let the team know that the only bad questions are the ones that go unasked and that each answer given should be considered. By following this process, when we face an impasse in making a final group decision, there has been enough information shared within the group that I am able to make an informed conclusion when solving the issue.”

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I was a 3 sport athlete in college. I played basketball, baseball, and soccer.

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