Online Learning Pioneer StraighterLine Taps General Assembly Vet as Chief Technology Officer

Online Learning Pioneer StraighterLine Taps General Assembly Vet as Chief Technology Officer

3 minute read

Veteran technology and solution engineering executive Dave Gardner joins Straighterline as CTO

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2023) — StraighterLine, a creator of affordable, flexible and career-aligned postsecondary courses and credentials that serves over 150,000 learners per year, announced today the appointment of Dave Gardner as its chief technology officer (CTO). With a track record of successfully leading technology and data teams for consumer platforms for more than 20 years, Gardner joins the company after spending the last 11 years at high-growth  education technology companies, including his most recent role as vice president of technology at General Assembly. “In today’s increasingly dynamic labor market, we’re seeing increased demand for educational experiences and credentials that map to long-term opportunities for career growth, ” said Heather Combs, CEO of StraighterLine. “Dave brings an incredible breadth and depth of expertise—within education technology and beyond it—that will help us to build an even more powerful, seamless and engaging experience for students. We’re thrilled to welcome Dave to StraighterLine's leadership team and to have his expertise in building strong technology teams to drive innovation and growth.” In his new role as CTO, Gardner will spearhead StraighterLine’s technology strategy and lead engineering, solutions architecture, security and enterprise systems to support the company’s growing platform of courses and new product innovations. He will be responsible for shaping the technical vision and strategy for the StraighterLine platform, driving product innovation and enhancing the overall learning experience for students. 

“The StraighterLine team has earned a well-deserved reputation for creativity and ingenuity in harnessing technology and digital learning to drive down the cost of education—and create faster and more efficient pathways to college completion and career,” said Gardner. “I’ve long admired their approach and followed their progress, and I’m thrilled by the opportunity to support StraighterLine’s mission at a time when the world of higher education and workforce development is changing so much.”

Gardner’s career in education technology dates back more than a decade to when he joined his first edtech startup. Prior to joining StraighterLine, he served as the vice president of technology at General Assembly, the global education company that offers bootcamps, digital upskilling, apprenticeships, and other career onramps into in-demand jobs and fields like web development, UX/UI, data and design. Earlier in his career, Gardner was the chief technology officer at Legends of Learning, the world's largest developer of game-based learning experiences for K-12 students. In this role, he led a diverse team and played a vital part in the creation of a comprehensive digital learning platform.  Gardner holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Duke University and completed graduate studies in computer science and artificial intelligence at George Mason University. Gardner is an active volunteer and mentor in the National Capital Region technology and startup community as a member of the DC CTO Club. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Christina and their three children. 

About StraighterLine

StraighterLine is the leading provider of high-quality, affordable, online courses that help learners earn college credit and meet their professional goals. Each year, 150,000 learners take one of StraighterLine’s 250+ courses to upskill into new careers or earn credit from over 2,000 colleges and universities worldwide. StraighterLine works with institutions and corporate partners to provide their students and employees with flexible education options that allow them to work and learn at their own pace.

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