Donald J. Fraynd, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Upon completion of his B.A. from Creighton University, Don Fraynd started his career as a teacher and mid-level administrator in a Jesuit college prep school in Nebraska. He taught theology and biology, coached cross-country and swimming, and started many school-wide student programs and organizations that continue to serve as centerpieces of the school’s mission. After teaching and finishing his M.A., also from Creighton, he left Nebraska for the top-ranked doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Don completed his Ph.D. with a research focus in the politics of education, leadership for equity, and organizational theory.
He then accepted a position as principal in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and under his leadership, his school was rated one of the top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and brought home the first U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Award ever received by a CPS high school. In 2008, then-CEO Arne Duncan asked Don to leave his position to build the district’s school turnaround office and create a model that systematically brings new life to the district’s most struggling schools. Under Don’s leadership, the CPS Office of School Improvement has become a national pioneer in school turnaround work. Its unprecedented success has been covered by numerous national media outlets, most recently The Wall Street Journal, where it appeared on the front page. The U.S. Department of Education has modeled their multi-billion-dollar school improvement grant program around the CPS model.
After many years of working to improve the nation’s toughest schools, Don recognized that the single most important factor for success is the hiring of high-quality teachers. However, currently existing tools for teacher hiring are inadequate. To have an even greater impact in far more schools nationally, Don co-founded TeacherMatch, a new company that has built a robust and research-based teacher candidate screener that will radically increase the likelihood that new teacher hires are strong. The TeacherMatch team imagines a future where all students will have high-quality teachers who will educate them in critical life skills and will ensure that they are positioned to achieve their dreams.