Wednesday, May 23, 2018

USDLA Gets First Ever Black CEO and Executive Director

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 Boston, MA  -- The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) Board of Directors named Dr. Reggie Smith III as its new CEO/Executive Director effective July 1, 2018, making him the first African American to lead the organization in its history.

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Smith replaces Dr. John Flores, who announced his retirement as CEO / Executive Director effective July 1, 2018 at its recent annual national conference in Indianapolis, IN. A transition support team has been established since the USDLA headquarters will move from Boston to Washington, D.C. as part of the leadership transition.

"It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Flores," said Dr. Smith about his predecessor. "He is a legend in the field and I plan to leverage the tremendous work he has done to continuously expand USDLA globally."

Flores, who had served in the post for more than 20 years, had been the heart and soul of USDLA and had positioned the organization to become globally recognized as a voice and force supporting all aspects of the distance learning industry. His tenure was marked with outstanding success through steady membership enrollment, sponsorship growth, and revenue generation.

"It is with mixed feelings I announce my retirement, but I look forward to the next chapter in my life," Flores said. "It has been a wonderful journey with USDLA and I have met hundreds of terrific colleagues. I want to especially thank all USDLA Boards of Directors I have worked with over the years. It has truly been my honor to have served the Association."

"I've known both Dr. Flores and Dr. Smith for over a decade and I’m certain the transition will be seamless," said Pat Cassella, USDLA President. "I am working with Reggie daily to move USDLA along and the board is confident in his abilities as we continue to grow it as a premier organization for the entire distance / online learning profession globally."

"I am excited that Dr. Smith will be succeeding me," Flores said. "He has been a longtime friend and colleague and I am sure he will continue to maintain and lead the Association in a most positive and productive way."

Prior to his appointment, Smith served as Chair Emeritus of the USDLA Board of Directors providing board leadership to the association, members, and partners. In 2009 and 2010 respectively, Smith was elected as the association’s first African-American president and then chairman.

Over the years, Smith, who is a recognized authority on media and telecommunications issues has served as presenter, keynote or judge at various events and conferences worldwide and has been recognized for his distinguished service in supporting distance learning, including the USDLA Hall of Fame Award, Black Engineer of the Year Award for Community Service, Federal Government Distance Learning Association's (FGDLA) Hall of Fame Award, FGDLA Pillar Award, Virtual World Association's Excellence Award among others.

"Distance learning is about using available technologies and technology infrastructures to make more effective learning opportunities accessible to all learners, whatever their age, location, or reason for learning from anywhere, at any time, and at any pace, in accordance with the individual needs of each student," Smith said.
 "It is critical to competitiveness in today's fast-paced global, economic environment, which requires constant innovation, upskilling, and reskilling for lifelong learning, and distance learning is the only efficient, scalable, sustainable way to build and protect the value of our current and future workforce."

About the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The USDLA, a 501(c) 3 non-profit association formed in 1987, reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion. 
U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking, and opportunity. 
Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-K-12 education, home schooling, higher education, and continuing education, as well as business, corporate, military, government, and telehealth markets. For more details, visit

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