Chris is an entrepreneur with four decades of leadership experience in the fields of education and media. He conceived of and founded Edison Schools (now EdisonLearning) in 1992 with Benno Schmidt. Edison has been instrumental in establishing the charter-school movement and has served 450,000 students on three continents.
Chris is the author of Crash Course: Imagining a Better Future for Public Education. He sits on the board of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, D.C., and he has funded over 180 full scholarships for students at the University of Tennessee, his alma mater. He 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 the age of 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 12,000 schools. Channel One’s programming has received a host of awards, including the Peabody Award, one of television journalism’s highest accolades.
Chris has a B.A. in American studies from the University of Tennessee.