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Whittle, Christopher

CEO, Avenues School


An education and media entrepreneur, Chris conceived and founded Edison Schools (now EdisonLearning) in 1992 with Benno Schmidt and currently serves on its board of directors. Edison has been instrumental in establishing the charter school movement and now serves 450,000 students on three continents. He is the author ofCrash Course—Imagining a Better Future for Public Schools. He sits on the board of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, D.C., and he has funded more than 180 full scholarships for students at the University of Tennessee, his alma mater.

Chris began his career in publishing, building a single college magazine into Whittle Communications, one of America’s top 100 media businesses in the 1980s. At age 32, his company bought Esquire magazine, where he served as chairman and publisher for many years. He founded Channel One, a national in-school television news program (first anchored by Anderson Cooper), which reached eight million students daily in 12 thousand schools. Channel One’s programming has received a host of awards, including the Peabody Award, one of television journalism’s highest accolades.