San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia Joins Judging Lineup for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Global Education Challenge

BOSTON — Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the addition of San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos A. Garcia to its panel of esteemed judges for the Global Education Challenge (GEC). The GEC, which launched in May, will award cash and prizes to entrants who submit innovative, tangible ways to improve student outcomes across the globe. The panel of judges will determine the winners of the contest, which will be announced in September.

Superintendent Garcia brings a career in education that spans over 35 years and an exemplary track record for boosting student achievement and narrowing the achievement gap through his work as a teacher, principal, central office administrator and leader in classroom instruction.  Other members of the judging panel include Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Education at Microsoft, Former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, and Phoenix Wang, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Startl. The judges will carefully examine the submitted ideas for uniqueness, impact and adaptability.

The Global Education Challenge, sponsored by HMH’s Innovation Fund, seeks to crowdsource ideas from the public in three areas of education in dire need of improvement: student learning, family engagement and teacher effectiveness. HMH created the Global Education Challenge to foster positive change in education by gathering creative ideas for improving student achievement. This could include ideas for anything from a new software tool or mobile app, to a service for students, parents or teachers, to a completely new educational technology.

“Superintendent Garcia brings an invaluable perspective from decades of experience on the front lines of K-12 education to our panel,” said Michael Muldowney, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of HMH. “His real world viewpoint and insights into what works—and what doesn’t work in schools, will be crucially important as the judges evaluate the viability of the Global Education Challenge submissions.”

Entries, accepted until July 15, are supported through an online, interactive platform hosted at The platform, which allows users to submit their original ideas for transforming education, also allows users to comment on and vote for or against other ideas.

HMH has also recently added a LeaderBoard feature to the platform, which ranks submitted ideas based on community feedback. All participants are eligible to win prizes, and HMH will give away a total $250,000 in cash and prizes over the course of the contest. The prize for first place is $100,000 and $25,000 will be given to the second place entry.

Thus far, ideas have been submitted from around the globe, including countries across four continents, and HMH is giving away prizes to entrants each week based on random drawings and the popularity of their ideas. HMH will also donate reference, nonfiction and fiction titles, to schools chosen by the winners, in congress with the challenge’s mission to improve education. The Global Education Challenge is a part of HMH’s larger $100 million dollar commitment to invest in emerging education initiatives and programs as well as support innovative technology development that has the potential to transform education.

Less than one month remains for entries in the GEC and potential entrants can join the conversation or submit their idea by visiting  After registering and logging in, participants can submit an idea, view and provide commentary on other submissions and learn more about the Challenge and the issues it aims to address. Entrants will retain rights to all ideas submitted. Full Challenge Terms and Conditions can be found at

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world's largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships.  With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit