In today’s schools, students are trained to memorize old answers to familiar questions. Today’s world is dynamic, connected and changing, raising new questions all the time. For students to succeed, they need more than fixed answers — they need the ability to keep growing and adapting to the world they find.
Opportunity Education supports teachers with resources and tools for active, engaged learning, helping students cultivate the mindset, essential habits, and skills to succeed in life and work.
Success isn’t about answering old questions. It’s about seeing opportunities to create value, and having the skills to do so — for yourself, for your community and for the world.
Students and teachers from two Quest Forward Learning schools in the U.S. — the Quest Forward Academies in Santa Rosa, California and Omaha, Nebraska — gathered in focus groups to discuss this unique approach to education. Their words speak for themselves: Quest Forward Learning not only improves their day-to-day school experience but is already having a profound impact on their futures.
Our Founder, Joe Ricketts
“We teach students how to continue to learn for the rest of their lives.”
— Opportunity Education Founder and CEO, Joe Ricketts
After more than 35 years as the founder and CEO of Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokerage firms globally, Joe Ricketts is dedicated to improving education globally through the programs offered by Opportunity Education Foundation, a private foundation established and funded by him.
Driven by his passion for education and his belief that technology can empower individuals and communities to determine their own futures, Joe Ricketts applies his entrepreneurial expertise and personal financial support to bring engaging, effective, and relevant learning to young persons around the world.Learn about Joe Ricketts
“The jobs our students today are going to have the opportunity to get probably don’t exist. So we need to train them differently. They have to develop — as part of their education — a way of thinking for themselves. So, we came up with Quest Forward Learning.”
– Joe Ricketts, Founder and CEO
Hear from the founder, benefactor, and CEO of Opportunity Education, Joe Ricketts, discuss his perspectives on learning and how Opportunity Education's efforts solve education's biggest challenges today.
President and COO
Manuel leads development, marketing and support of Opportunity Education’s programs, resources and tools in the US and internationally.
Manuel brings over 25 years of experience in technology-driven innovation, software development and change management in complex environments, and a passion for building and leading high-performing teams.
Chief Learning Officer
Ray leads the design of Opportunity Education’s teaching and learning methods, resources and tools and oversees the operation of the Quest Forward Academies, independent schools built on these methods.
Prior to OE, Ray founded and led the Stanford Online High School, the pre-college program at The School of The New York Times, and other highly regarded education programs. Ray is the author of two books, numerous articles, and has produced over 100 online courses.
Director of Professional Learning
Rachel is the Director of Professional Learning for Opportunity Education. Before her work in this role, she worked as both a Quest Forward Learning mentor and English curriculum designer. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in the education field, including a Master of Education in Secondary Education, as well as 11 years teaching English in both public and parochial high schools in Northern Virginia. She is committed to supporting teachers in their growth and loves collaborating with educators to increase student engagement. Rachel lives in Springfield, VA with her husband and three children (ages 9, 5, and 2).
Jolene Zywica, PhD
Senior Director of Learning Strategy
Jolene ensures that all of Opportunity Education’s resources, tools, and experiences are designed to effectively support teaching and learning. Jolene earned her PhD in Learning Sciences and Policy from the University Of Pittsburgh in 2013. She’s spent over 18 years designing learning programs and tools that engage K-12 students, as well as adult learners, through active learning and effective use of technology. She’s taken on numerous roles on her mission to help everyone engage in and love learning, including high school teacher, college professor, literacy coach, professional learning specialist, program designer, researcher, and evaluator. Jolene lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two sons (ages 1.5 and 6).
Director of Product Strategy
Claire is Director of Product Strategy at OE, where she uses market research and customer feedback to shape the roadmaps for OE’s online teaching and learning tools. She ensures each product solves challenges that schools, teachers, and students face, and collaborates with OE’s engineering team to make product plans a reality. Claire earned her MBA from the University of Colorado in 2020, where she studied strategic business development and organizational change. Claire has helped OE shape its products and product adoption services in the US and Tanzania since 2015. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
How Opportunity Education Began
Ameritrade Founder and CEO Joe Ricketts traveled to Tanzania for a holiday, and met safari guide Shange Wilson. He learned that Wilson was building a nursery and primary school and decided to visit it. Inspired, he donated $1,400 to Wilson to complete the school’s construction. Later, Mr. Ricketts began to consider other ways to help Wilson’s school and other schools in Tanzania.
In 2005, Opportunity Education Foundation was established with Joe Ricketts serving as CEO. Its mission was “to make quality education accessible to children in developing nations so they can improve their standards of living and work towards a brighter future.” Opportunity Education’s first program, the Primary School Program, immediately began accomplishing this mission by providing schools, teachers, and students with financial support, educational materials, and resources. The organization quickly expanded, eventually supporting over a million students across 11 countries, and began connecting over 1,000 schools globally through the Sister School Program.
Seeing the profound impact of this work, Mr. Ricketts began to explore what more could be done to break the cycle of poverty, prepare young people better for a radically different job market of the future, and explore the potential of new, portable technology.
Working with a team of learning scientists, teachers, and software professionals, an active, skills-focused approach to learning rooted in the latest learning research began to take shape. Today, dozens of schools globally use Quest Forward Learning to prepare students to create value for themselves, their communities, and the world.
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