KANSAS CITY – WGU Missouri is pleased to announce that Chancellor Dr. Angie Besendorfer, of Lee’s Summit, has been appointed to the KC Social Innovation Center (KCSIC) Board. Besendorfer will work with other board members in furthering the organization’s mission of advancing innovations in education, workforce development and human capital initiatives to ignite growth, prosperity and inclusion in digital cities.
Besendorfer has worked in education for more than 25 years, implementing innovative and technology-focused learning strategies. She joined WGU Missouri as Chancellor in 2014 when the nonprofit, fully online, competency-based university was just a year old. Under her leadership, the university has grown by 500 percent in the past four years, with more than 1,500 alumni, current enrollment nearing 3,000 and a staff of 159. Before joining WGU Missouri, she served as the assistant superintendent of Joplin Schools for eight years, leading advancement in curriculum, instruction, assessment and facilities. Her background also includes holding the positions of superintendent, director of special services, elementary school principal and teacher at Missouri schools.
Among the innovations Besendorfer has championed is a focus on digital learning. She took the lead in the Joplin district’s recovery after an EF-5 tornado hit 10 schools in 2011. As the leader in designing and building cutting-edge new schools, she guided the community in re-imagining high school education. Besendorfer holds a bachelor’s in education from Missouri Southern State University, a M.S. in Elementary Administration from Central Missouri State University and a doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Missouri.
KCSIC, launched in May of 2016 by Think Big Partners, focuses on learning as a way to create and deliver social impact. The organization is working to advance education in Kansas City by creating initiatives that promote new education technologies, learning sciences and next-generation models. The goal is to empower the local workforce and ignite lifelong learning so that all youth will have the opportunity to succeed. The organization’s current projects include SensED, a project-based, STEM education program for middle and high school students; LRNG KC, which is working to build partnerships between existing community resources to help youth in the KC region learn anywhere and anytime; Hire KC Youth, a youth employment program; and VilCap Communities, an initiative designed to close the funding gap for entrepreneurs in healthcare, education, energy or agriculture.
“The KC Social Innovation Center is doing valuable work for our local youth and advancing workforce development, and I am honored to join the board,” said Besendorfer. “The organization’s focus is appropriately aligned with WGU Missouri’s mission of providing residents across the state with access to affordable, high-quality, higher education and building a well-educated workforce. I am looking forward to helping KC Social Innovation Center fulfill its mission.”