GVSU names education leader to head incubator addressing equity issues

An education leader with a deep background in reducing institutional barriers to learning and in developing creative solutions to meet a broad range of educational needs will lead an incubator addressing those concepts at Grand Valley. 

Steven Hodas has been named executive director of GV NextEd Accelerator, an initiative dedicated to prototyping and scaling new approaches and support for learners, educators and families. Based at GVSU, the Accelerator will house the work of REP4, an alliance of six colleges and universities designed to address the pressing challenges of higher education.

As executive director of the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation, Hodas created the first-ever crowd-sourced solutions to problems that were stifling student agency and outcomes across the nation’s largest district.

Steven Hodas
Steven Hodas is the new executive director of the GV NextEd Accelerator.
Image credit - Courtesy photo

President Philomena V. Mantella said Hodas, who began his duties in June, brings a breadth of experience to a role focused on innovative approaches to education and will make an immediate impact.

"Steven is a visionary with a proven track record of building startup organizations, as well as new systems for public education,” Mantella said. “He is focused on understanding and elevating the unique and evolving needs of both learners and institutions, which is synergistic with GVSU’s values and mission."

Most recently, Hodas served as senior fellow at the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education, where he focused on pandemic-related innovations to dismantle silos among the K-12, college and career sectors. 

“For years, stress fractures have been growing in our legacy models of K-12 and higher education. The pandemic exacerbated them, but it also created openings and examples for promising ways to better serve students, families and communities," Hodas said. "As 'customers' of the K-12 system’s students, 'suppliers' of its teachers and administrators, and multi-faceted providers of talent, universities can have a uniquely catalytic role in society’s evolution.” 

“The GV NextEd Accelerator will leverage that role, and it’s exciting to be part of a breakout university that is not just providing real solutions for learners today but will also be creating next-generation exemplars for K-12 and higher ed institutions around the country.”

The first major initiative of GV NextEd Accelerator is GVSU’s organizing and convening of REP4 (Rapid Education Prototyping for Change, Learners, Community, Equity), a national alliance of six colleges and universities that includes learners as lead designers for their future learning. 

The other five founding institutions are Amarillo College, Boise State University, Fort Valley State University, San José State University and Shippensburg University. In total, the founders serve more than 100,000 students.

The GV NextEd Accelerator will also bring under one roof several initiatives:

  • K-12Connect, GVSU’s rapidly growing service that provides online tutoring and teacher support help to K-12 students
  • A digital expressway to GVSU for K-12 students, teachers and families, which provides K-12 students and schools with access to GVSU’s digital resources, faculty, and dual enrollment courses
  • The GV Startup Accelerator, which selects inspiring concepts and supports faculty, staff, students and community members in launchingproducts and services to improve education


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