Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) is pleased to announce the nomination of the company’s CEO and Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Howard Liebman, to receive the 2011 award in the category of “Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Online Learning” from The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

Established in 2003, iNACOL is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration, advocacy and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning. The award for “Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Online Learning” is made to an individual whose insight and innovation has significantly increased the credibility and advancement of K-12 online learning and is one of four special recognitions made each year at the iNACOL Online Innovator Awards. 2011 marks the third year these prestigious awards have been presented, with this year’s ceremony slated to take place November 9-11 at the annual Virtual School Symposium (VSS) in Indianapolis, IN.”

Educator and entrepreneur Dr. Howard Liebman is a recognized innovator in the field of online education. During the last 16 years, Dr. Liebman has founded and led several successful public and private education-related enterprises. He has served in multiple online educational settings in roles such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, district superintendent, school principal, assistant principal, and teacher.

In 2004, Dr. Liebman co-founded the University of Miami Online High School and facilitated the rapid growth of the company. Under his leadership, The Washington Post Company acquired both the University of Miami Online High School and its affiliated curriculum publishing company, Virtual Sage, in April of 2007. In 2009, Dr. Liebman served as a consultant for and later facilitated the launch of the University of Miami Global Academy, a grade 8-12, college preparatory online high school.

It was in December of 2009 that Dr. Liebman undertook a groundbreaking project to address the nation’s escalating high school dropout crisis with the founding of Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE). SHCOE, for which Dr. Liebman serves as CEO and Superintendent of Schools, was launched in May of 2010 with the goal of re-engaging both adult and youth learners, among the 45 million Americans who have not achieved a high school education. This figure includes over one million youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who are not enrolled in school and do not have a high school diploma.

Fueled by Dr. Liebman’s leadership and inspiration, a team of dedicated experts in the fields of education and instructional technology designed an online model that employs highly structured, performance-based, interactive multimedia lessons delivered over the Internet. Curriculum is based on career outcomes and employment-driven academic requirements. In addition to earning their high school diploma, students earn a credentialed career certificate, have access to extensive career support, and complete a Career Portfolio that includes resume and cover letters.

SHCOE grew quickly, and in February of 2011 it became the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district. SHCOE was recommended for this prestigious, internationally recognized accreditation in November of 2010, following a rigorous evaluation by a team of distinguished educators from AdvancED/SACS.

At the time of the evaluation, Dr. David Hurst, Vice-President of AdvancEd/SACS, stated, “The education world is changing very rapidly, and with SHCOE we are looking at the future of education.”

SHCOE provides students with an opportunity to earn an 18-credit high school diploma, as well as complete coursework for a credentialed career certificate in areas such as Childcare, Transportation Services, Office Management, Homeland Security, Protection Services, and Professional Skills. SHCOE’s flexible program allows students to progress at their own pace, demonstrating content mastery in the instructional program as they proceed through each lesson. Qualified academic coaches are available to assist students in every phase of the education process, and certified instructors provided extra academic support when needed. Dr. Liebman has also ensured that the SHCOE program is affordable and practical for working adults.

Dr. Liebman oversees a continuous process of development, evaluation and improvement that has brought international recognition to SHCOE as an online school system of excellence. SHCOE is dedicated to serving its growing student body through high standards of quality and by meeting the needs of each student on an individual basis.

As an AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, SHCOE has partnered with various school districts, corrections systems, private corporations, and non-profit organizations to design, build, and launch accredited schools, providing these schools with curriculum, robust technology, experienced management, and a shared vision. Partnerships and affiliations have been established with organizations such as ed2go (part of Cengage Learning), Education Dynamics, Weston Distance Learning, Compass Rose Foundation, the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, Three Keys Youth Initiative, Rural Dynamics, Azure College, and North Florida Community College.

Dr. Liebman’s passion for online education is reflected in SHCOE’s mission to provide a flexible, affordable opportunity for both adult and youth learners to earn a high school diploma while preparing for careers and employment. Under Dr. Liebman’s leadership, SHCOE combines the best in technology, innovation and skill to meet the nation’s dropout crisis head on. For his significant contributions to K-12 online learning, Dr. Liebman is nominated for the iNACOL Online Innovator Award.