By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
A Mississippi-based education consulting company led by a former Tupelo school superintendent was sold recently to a New York company.
JBHM Education Group was purchased by Weld North Holdings, LLC, an investment company founded by former Kaplan CEO Jonathan Grayer. The move was officially announced on Monday.
JBHM Education Group was founded by Mike Walters, who served as Tupelo’s superintendent from 1990 to 1995. The company, which focused on supporting low-performing schools in efforts to improve, will now be combined with Editure Professional Development Inc., a New York-based professional development company that also was purchased by Weld North on Monday.
A big focus of the new organization will be supporting schools as they transition to Common Core State Standards, a more rigorous, in-depth curriculum that has been adopted by 46 states, including Mississippi.
“The standards for kids will be high,” Walters said. “By raising the bar, you will have a significant number of districts and schools not meeting that standard, and they will not have the capacity to meet the standard, so you have to have external support to do that.”
For now, Walters, who has served as the JBHM Education Group’s CEO, will remain with the new company as executive vice chairman. His role with the company will be reassessed when his contract ends in December 2013, he said. JBHM’s office in Jackson will remain open.
The new organization will be led by Weld North Managing Director Justin Serrano, who brings nearly 20 years of experience in the education industry, most recently serving as president of Kaplan K12 and College Prep Programs at Kaplan Test Prep.
Walters founded JBHM Education Group in 2000 out of a passion for improving low-performing schools. It was originally a division of JBHM Architects, but separated in 2005. It currently works with schools in 10 states.
“What we always wanted to do in our company is to move it to a nationwide brand,” Walters said. “We wanted to be in schools where we could help kids everywhere.
“We needed to find someone to do that for us and to take what we created and move it to a national model.”
Walters said he was pleased that Weld North’s values were consistent with his.
“It was a dream I have had since day one, and it has become a reality,” Walters said. “I’m pleased we have a Mississippi school improvement company that is going nationwide.”