Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — UT alumnus and former media mogul Chris Whittle, founder and CEO of Edison Schools Inc., will kick off the university’s Educational Leadership Lecture Series at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Whittle’s lecture, “The Rise of Global Schooling,” will be hosted by the Center for Educational Leadership. The event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited. To attend, RSVP to 974-4553.

Whittle established Edison Schools — now known as EdisonLearning Inc. — in 1992. The country’s largest for-profit organization for managing public schools, EdisonLearning currently contracts with schools in the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

Whittle also is known for his more than 20 years in media. After graduating from UT Knoxville and starting the “Knoxville in a Nutshell” magazine with others, he started the 13-30 Corp. In 1979, 13-30 bought Esquire magazine and saved it from extinction.

After selling Esquire to the Hearst Corp. in 1986, he formed Whittle Communications, which focused on publishing single-advertiser magazines. He also launched Channel One News in 1989. The brief news program for teens broadcast to four high schools that first year before going national in 1990. Whittle sold Channel One in 1994. The programming is now broadcasted to more than 12,000 schools across the country.

Today, Whittle remains affiliated with EdisonLearning as a member of its board. His book, “Crash Course,” which called for dramatic increases in government research and development funds in education, has influenced thinking in both government and foundation circles. Whittle continues to advocate for education reform as an active director at the Center for Education Reform. He is also developing a new education company called Avenues — The World School.

UT Knoxville’s Center for Educational Leadership is a collaborative venture between the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences and Knox County Schools. The center’s components include The Leadership Academy, a principal training program; The Educational Leadership Institute, a summer institute for school leaders; The Executive Leadership Institute, a summer institute for district-level leaders; The Leadership Resource Center, providing a variety of professional development opportunities; and job-embedded support for current principals.

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler (, 865-974-8304)