Aligned is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of BUSINESS LEADERS committed to improving education in Kansas and Missouri.

The organization was founded on the premise that the business community has the obligation, opportunity and capacity to increase the college and workforce readiness of all students through an ambitious, aggressive and comprehensive reform agenda.

We Believe

  • Kansas and Missouri have systemic education problems.
  • Those shortcomings threaten the economic vitality of the states and businesses operating within the states.
  • Business has multiple reasons to take a leadership role in aggressively pursuing reforms.

Our Vision

To create alignment between the business and education communities so that our region’s children achieve their greatest potential and our communities can capitalize on a creative and talented workforce. Toward that our strategies and tactics are guided by five core principles:

Student Focused

We are dedicated to measures that improve student achievement


Responsible for our commitments and responsive to our members and the media


Application of creative approaches to develop solutions with a proven ROI


Results should be available, concise and clear to all constituents


Investments of time, talent and treasure must have measureable outcomes


The Opportunity

Education is the most important economic development initiative that communities undertake. It has the power to transform students into creative, productive and fulfilled citizens who can bring prosperity to their communities. Unfortunately, there are too many communities where the demand for skills is outpacing the talent that schools are generating. As the economy rapidly continues to evolve, education and business will need to work together to prepare students for the future.

But those schools need help – and we need businesses to become far more active in that conversation. The future success of students, businesses and communities depends on strategic investments today, starting with a commitment to break down barriers between “the education system” and “the business community.” We have the chance to promote real understanding about what a successful future looks like and how we can achieve it by working together to prioritize education as this generation’s clean water issue.


History of Aligned

In response to the education crises in Kansas and Missouri, Tyler Nottberg, Chairman & CEO of U.S. Engineering Company Holdings, along with David Oliver of Berkowitz Oliver, Jonathan Freiden, CEO of U.S. Toy & Constructive Play Things, and President Torree Pederson, founded Aligned (formerly the Alliance for Childhood Education) in October 2011.

Since 2011, Aligned has assembled a coalition of business and civic leaders who are committed to focusing strategically on ways that communities can work better together to foster student achievement and economic development. Aligned is the only state-wide business group in Kansas or Missouri focused exclusively on education issues.


Our Role


Work as a third-party facilitator to address issues that matter most to educational achievement

Open Doors

Provide mentoring and career education opportunities for students and teachers

Get Involved

Get involved with School Board and School District decision makers to address issues

Involve Community

Participate at the community level to create multi-party dialogues around education


Pay attention to education policy at the Federal, State and local levels


Our Mission

Engage business leaders in education efforts that promote workforce readiness in an increasingly competitive and globalized world.


Our Strategy

Leverage the knowledge and resources of business leaders to generate dialogue and partnerships between and among businesses, as well as other key stakeholders.

Encourage the thoughtful investment of time, talent and treasure by businesses in education initiatives that will enhance student achievement and contribute to long-term economic development.

To this end, Aligned serves as a non-partisan convener of stakeholders that can educate and influence local, state and national policymakers on a regular basis to drive reform efforts.


Our Strategic Goals in 2019

Board Growth

  • Grow our business leader footprint by expanding our Trustee and Advisory boards across Kansas and Missouri.
  • Enhance our brand by doubling our reach through an expanded social/digital media presence.


  • Establish meaningful relationships with members of state and local legislatures and education systems.
  • Craft legislation that supports education policies promoting workforce readiness.

Our Team

Torree Pederson

(913) 484-4202

Linda Rallo

Vice President
(314) 330-8442