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Georgia Chief to Lead New Education Nonprofit

Kathy Cox, the gregarious state superintendent in Georgia who some of you may know best for her appearance on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader," is leaving that post for a newfangled gig in Washington that will put her at the head of a nonprofit that Education Trust and Achieve have launched.

The new venture—called the U.S. Education Delivery Institute—is described on its website as being "dedicated to building the capacity in state public education systems to implement school reform effectively."

The name, frankly, sounds like a competitor for FedEx or UPS. But the moniker and the "theory of action" for this new group come from the United Kingdom, where the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, set up under former PM Tony Blair, provides performance management strategies to key government agencies.

The U.S., non-governmental version was set up for Ed Trust and Achieve by Sir Michael Barber, who headed up the U.K. unit for four years. Any of you who followed the work of the Strategic Management of Human Capital initiative will remember Sir Michael.

It's not entirely clear to me what niche this new venture will be filling in a pretty crowded field of education nonprofits, but perhaps its focus on building state capacity will make it distinct from other groups. Selecting a state schools chief seems smart too, and the timing is certainly right for a focus on state education agencies, given the increasing demands for them to play larger, stronger roles in doling out and overseeing billions of dollars in federal school improvement money and in guiding and adopting new academic standards and assessments. And states that win Race to the Top dough will face lots of pressure to "deliver" the reforms they've promised.

We might want to brace ourselves for hearing the word "deliver" and its various iterations a lot from this group. "Deliverology" is a featured tab on its website.

Read the full press release on Cox's selection as chief executive officer and more description on the goals of the organization.

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