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Nationally Recognized Education Innovation Leader Dr. Charles Ambrose Named President and Chief Executive Officer of KnowledgeWorks

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KnowledgeWorks is pleased to announce Charles (Chuck) Ambrose, EdD, a nationally recognized leader in education who is committed to student access and success, as its new president and CEO.

KnowledgeWorks is pleased to announce Charles (Chuck) Ambrose, EdD, a nationally recognized leader in education who is committed to student access and success, as its new president and CEO. Dr. Ambrose, a seasoned administrator and fundraiser, has gained national recognition for innovative programs which encourage student transition from high school to college to the workforce.

With a career-long focus on readiness, accessibility, affordability and attainment, Dr. Ambrose has a proven track record of developing and implementing innovative programs that better prepare students for successful civic engagement beyond high school and helping remove barriers for those who want to go to college.

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Ambrose to our dedicated and passionate team,” KnowledgeWorks Board Chair Steven Minter said. “We have a clear strategy focused on transforming learning PreK-16 and Dr. Ambrose brings the kind of innovative leadership and experience at the intersection of creativity, policy and dynamic changemaking that can advance greater opportunities for students, schools and communities.”

“As a career educator, I am very excited to join a talented team of leaders at KnowledgeWorks as president and CEO,” said Dr. Ambrose. “I am grateful for my journey that has been focused on providing students with the tools they need to be successful for college, career, and a meaningful life, which is consistent with KnowledgeWorks’ mission. I look forward to this opportunity to continue my service to students in a position that provides a national platform for further building innovative practices, policy transformation and scalable implementation of personalized learning and competency-based education.”

Dr. Ambrose has successfully led as the president of the University of Central Missouri (UCM) for eight years. During his first year at UCM, Dr. Ambrose provided energy and visionary leadership for the university’s new Strategic Governance for Student Success Model, and led an extensive governance, administrative and academic review process designed to provide a stronger, more viable learner-centered educational experience for students, while cutting operational costs and maximizing institutional effectiveness.

A servant leader, Dr. Ambrose also helped build a new educational model in cooperation with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and Fortune 500 corporations to create the Missouri Innovation Campus, which received national recognition by President Barack Obama during a 2013 campus visit. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also recognized Dr. Ambrose with the 2013 Governor’s Economic Development Advancement Award for his work with the Innovation Campus, in helping to bridge the skills gap with Missouri’s workforce and reducing students’ college debt load.

Dr. Ambrose’s vision and leadership also contributed to the new Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for college completion and student success in 2013, a comprehensive initiative designed to help students graduate on time with a degree that provides greater purpose and meaning. To help make education more accessible, Dr. Ambrose helped solidify agreements with the University of Central Missouri, United States Air Force, Missouri National Guard, Johnson County Community College, Metropolitan Community College and Linn State Technical College.

Prior to joining UCM, Dr. Ambrose served for 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina. He took the reins at just 36 years-old, the youngest president in school history. Ambrose’s higher education experience also took him to Carson-Newman College, Western Carolina University, Furman University, and to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he served as executive assistant to the president.

Ambrose will succeed Judy Peppler who will retire on July 1 after five years of successfully leading the Foundation. KnowledgeWorks Chief Financial Officer Holly Brinkman will serve as interim CEO until Dr. Ambrose joins the organization on September 1.