ForwARd Arkansas Names Ben Kutylo Executive Director

ForwARd Arkansas announced today that Ben Kutylo has been named executive director, effective July 27, 2020. In this role, Kutylo will lead the organization’s work to develop and support the broad implementation of innovative solutions to improve learning and career outcomes for all Arkansas students.

Most recently, Kutylo served as co-founder and executive director of Fremont Street, a national nonprofit that strategically invests in, launches and coordinates initiatives to catalyze innovation in public schools to better prepare all students to thrive in today’s world. Key projects spearheaded by Kutylo during his tenure there focused on engaging schools and communities across the country and supporting them to develop innovative, yet practical strategies to optimize school structures, improve collaboration and growth opportunities for teachers and enhance the learning experience to better meet the needs of students.

“ForwARd Arkansas is committed to equity and opportunity in education for all students in Arkansas,” said Kathy Smith, chairperson, ForwARd Arkansas Board of Directors and senior education advisor, Walton Personal Philanthropy Group. “We are excited to have Ben lead the team as we work to support the transformation of Arkansas’s Pre-K to 12 education system to deliver excellent outcomes for students across the state.”

Prior to his work with Fremont Street, Ben served as vice president of strategic partnerships at eSpark Learning – an education technology company that provides adaptive, digital K-5 math and reading tools for teachers and students. He also spent more than five years as director of program investments at The Chicago Public Education Fund, where he led initiatives to implement city-wide strategies in support of principals, teachers and engaged educators in the development of innovative classroom models and whole-school redesign efforts.

“Now is a critical time in education. Recent, intensified conversations around equity and unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing us to re-examine our approach to education,” said Sherece West-Scantlebury, vice chair, ForwARd Arkansas Board of Directors and president & CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. “We are happy to have found a leader like Ben who has spent his career working with districts and communities to develop solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing schools, teachers and students.”

Kutylo earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

“I’m excited by this work and humbled by the opportunity to lead ForwARd Arkansas and its work to serve as a champion for equity, a connector and convener for shared opportunity, and a catalyst for innovation,” said Kutylo. “I look forward to the opportunity to listen to, learn from and collaborate with the organization’s amazing network of partners throughout the state and to support families, educators and leaders – especially in communities with the greatest need – to develop innovative strategies to address the challenges they and their students face.”