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Meet the Geeks: Jodi Mastronardi

When Jodi Mastronardi is not traveling the world (her recent trips include Cuba and Germany) or visiting her seven grandchildren, she leads New Classrooms’ Central Program Integration (CPI) team. In this role, Jodi is charged with leading an array of broad organizational initiatives.

A big part of this is bringing people together from across New Classrooms to tackle projects that improve many aspects of our Teach to One: Math personalized learning model. Learn more about Jodi’s long-term commitment to education and her insights about personalized learning below.

What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

JM: I love driving stick shift cars. Ever since my first one, every car I have bought has been a stick shift. They’re harder to find these days, but I love how the car drives. Once I got my license, I used to bug my neighbor to teach me how to drive on her Volkswagen Beetle. She threw me the keys and gave me basic instructions: “When you want to shift, put your foot on the clutch.” I’ve been hooked ever since!

What brought you to New Classrooms?

JM: I worked with Joel Rose at Edison Schools (now called Edison Learning) around 2005. I have a clear memory of sitting in an office with him having a conversation about the future of education. When he left Edison, I kept an eye on where he went.  He called me at some point to tell me about the work he was doing. When I was leaving Edison, I reached out to him because the work he was doing with New Classrooms was so aligned with what I am passionate about. I knew that New Classrooms was exactly the kind of place that I wanted to work.

After meeting with Joel, I started as a consultant to do three things: help project manage the implementation of our new financial system, revamp our cross functional processes, and work with Joel and Chris on our first strategic plan. I really enjoyed the work and the people, and ultimately we agreed that there was even more that I could do if I came onboard.

What surprised you most about working here?

JM: As we started to talk about where we wanted to take Teach to One: Math, I was most surprised to learn how hard it was to do personalized learning for just one subject. I assumed it would be easier once we figured out how do to personalized learning in one subject and could quickly move onto other subjects. I’d love to see the K-12 education sector get to a place where a student’s entire educational journey is personalized, and it was eye-opening to see how challenging it was to solve just for math!

How have these challenges shaped your role?

JM: I think one of the biggest ways is that we have a lot of great ideas for things we want to do to advance the program but we have limited resources. We have to prioritize how we apply these resources. We have to consider which are the most important to attempt and accomplish, and which are awesome ideas that would benefit students but are lower priority. We deal with that on the highest level with projects and also on a day-to-day level when we think about which specific user story this person should work on today or tomorrow.

What are you most excited about in the year ahead?

JM: I am excited about the data analysis that we’re doing. I’m a data geek and I love gaining access to data systems so I can pull data and play with it. With our data solutions team now in place we’re starting to learn more about what and how students learn as well as the pathways through which they learn it. I’m really looking forward to see what else we learn, and how we translate that knowledge into better learning models for kids.

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