Aligned is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of BUSINESS LEADERS committed to improving education in Kansas and Missouri.

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


Kansas and Missouri have systemic Education Shortcomings:

Recognizing and addressing systemic shortcomings in the education systems of Kansas and Missouri is crucial. Many students are currently unprepared for the demands of higher education and the workforce.

A Skilled Workforce Drives Economic Vitality:

Our economic vitality relies on having a vibrant and skilled workforce. Investing in education reform actively contributes to future prosperity and competitiveness in Kansas and Missouri.

Businesses benefit by taking a leadership role in education reform:

Businesses that take a leadership role in driving education reform gain a profound understanding of the nexus between education and workforce outcomes. This position contributes to societal well-being and positions these businesses for sustained success in a dynamic and competitive market.

Our Vision

Every Student Prepared

Prioritizing student choices, needs, interests, and well-being.

Modeling and promoting practices that drive high standards characterized by honesty, integrity, and reliability.

Pursuing ideas that promote continuous improvement and advancement.

Communicating information in a clear, understandable,
and accurate manner.

Influencing systems and policies that maximize resources, reduce waste, and streamline processes.

The Opportunity

Providing quality education is the most important economic development initiative that leaders undertake. Skills and knowledge transform students into creative, productive, and fulfilled citizens who can contribute to the prosperity of their communities. Unfortunately, there are too many places where the demand for skills outpaces the talent that schools generate. As the economy rapidly evolves, education and business must work together to prepare students for the future.

But many schools need help – and businesses have an opportunity to join that conversation. The future success of students, businesses, and our states depends on the strategic investments we make today.

This effort begins with committing to eliminate barriers between “the education system” and “the business community.” Aligned works to deliver a fundamental understanding of what a successful future looks like and creates opportunities for business leaders to strategically engage on the issues that matter the most to students. 

History of Aligned

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

Since its inception in 2011, Aligned has played a pivotal role in uniting a coalition of dedicated business and civic leaders. Their shared commitment revolves around strategically addressing the interplay between the region’s student achievement and economic development. Notably, Aligned is the only statewide business group in Kansas and Missouri dedicated to tackling crucial education issues.

Our Role

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

Provide mentoring and career education opportunities for students and teachers

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

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

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


Amplify the business voice to support student achievement and career readiness.

Our Strategic Goals in 2024

Policy & Advocacy

Leadership and Business Engagement

Our Team

Torree_Pederson_WEB-3 closeup
Torree Pederson
(913) 484-4202

Linda Rallo
Vice President
(314) 330-8442

Stacey Preis crop
Stacey Preis
Missouri Policy Consultant

Tom Jones headhot
Tom Jones
Business Development Director