Great Jobs KC

KC Scholars

Welcome Earl Martin Phalen, new CEO

Nationally recognized leader in education eager to enrich youth and adult academic opportunities in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (January 27, 2022) — KC Scholars announced today that Earl Martin Phalen, will join KC Scholars as the new president and CEO. Phalen, a national leader in non-profit and education initiatives, succeeds Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, Ph.D. and starts with the organization on March 7, 2022. Tankersley-Bankhead announced her retirement in 2021.

Earl Martin Phalen is a nationally recognized pioneer in education and will bring a wealth of educational expertise to KC Scholars and the Kansas City community. He is also the founder and CEO of the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies, a national network of primary schools with blended learning programming, and has served as a trustee of the Kauffman Foundation, the organization which founded KC Scholars, since 2016.

“Knowing Earl’s passion for bringing opportunities to underserved communities, we know he will be the perfect leader for KC Scholars,” said Jan Kreamer, KC Scholars Board Chairman. “Earl’s leadership will continue to shape the future of this organization, in partnership with KC Scholars’ investors, post-secondary partners and students working together toward a greater Kansas City.”

Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, Ph.D., the incumbent president, is equally excited for the future of KC Scholars under Phalen’s leadership.

“KC Scholars has a strong foundation, a talented team, incredible Scholars, and a supportive community of stakeholders,” said Tankersley-Bankhead. “With Earl’s expertise and passion for education, he will continue to enhance the vision and measurable impact of KC Scholars.”

In Phalen’s first 100 days, he will collaborate with the KC Scholars board to craft goals for the future of the organization – starting with long-term goals and then drilling down goals for the upcoming year. He is excited to step into the organization to create more opportunities to enrich the community.

“I have had the blessing to work in this sector for 30 years, and I have never seen a scholarship program have such an immense impact on the success of students and adults,” said Phalen. “I am eager to serve the learners of Kansas City, getting them to and through college, and ensuring their career success after graduation.”

About KC Scholars

Kansas City Scholars (Great Jobs KC) is a 501(c)(3) college scholarship, college planning and persistence support, and college success program designed to increase the college completion rate for low- and modest- income students and adult learners across the six-county, bi-state service region.

KC Scholars launched in September 2016 and, in less than five years, has experienced widespread community engagement and rapid scaling. We now have more than 5,000 Scholars, with near 2,000 in college. KC Scholars is on the path to near 10,000 Scholars by 2022 and is projected to grow to nearly 20,000 Scholars by 2027. KC Scholars has exceeded goals for number of scholarships awarded and college enrollment and persistence rates. Early impact rates are significantly higher than for the region, state, and nation.

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