Change In Sakai Foundation’s Executive Director

Michael Korcuska is leaving the Sakai Foundation to take up a new post at LinkedIn.

From a personal point of view this is a big shame – Michael has been a frequent visitor to Oxford and I will miss our chats over a pint or three in the Turf Tavern.

Lois Brooks will be taking over and will hold the position of Interim Executive Director.

Here’s what Michael has to say:

As you may have read by now, I’ve accepted a position at LinkedIn and will be stepping down as Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation as of March 15.

In any transition of this type there will always be those individuals who speculate about difficulties that are or will be facing the organization. Those who follow Sakai closely know that the Sakai Foundation is not the driving force behind Sakai product development efforts. The distributed nature of Sakai’s development is a real strength. My departure will have little to no impact on product development for Sakai 2 or Sakai 3. The Sakai Foundation staff members each know their roles and already work very independently. The fact that Lois Brooks is able to step in as interim Executive Director will further ensure that everything progresses smoothly.

As for why I’m leaving, it has nothing to do with the state of Sakai. Sakai continues to head in a very positive direction. A few things that I would highlight are:

  • The Sakai Teaching and Learning community is very impressive. Not only has it become a place to share best practices but it is also emerging as a strong voice into the product development process.
  • The new Product Development Process and corresponding Sakai Product Council made great strides with Sakai 2.7 and, from where I sit, look to improve both product management and governance.
  • The process of maintenance releases (recently Sakai 2.5.6 and 2.6.2) and the emergence of the maintenance team illustrate the continued community focus on quality.
  • Sakai 3 has really picked up steam in the last few months and more institutions and individuals are getting involved every month. The vision is in place, the technical foundations have been laid and the design is progressing at a rapid pace. I regret that I’m not able to stay around long enough to take credit for the results. The good news is that all the credit will go to those who actually deserve it.

As for why I’m leaving…  those who know me well know that I’ve been a big fan of LinkedIn for many years and the particular position, leading global customer operations, is a great opportunity for me personally. I’m also looking forward to having a chance to work with my old friend Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s founder, and to be in the thick of the social/professional-networking space.

Sakai is a great project with a great community behind it. The work you are doing is important and is having a real impact on the world of education.  I will (happily) be going to the Sakai Europe conference in Valencia and am very pleased to have that opportunity to say “farewell” to at least some of the community in person. An unfortunate part of Sakai’s distributed nature is that I can’t shake hands with most of the folks I’ve worked with over the past few years. But it is, of course, a small world and I’m sure I will cross paths with many of you again before too long. And, of course, you can find me on LinkedIn.

It has been a great learning experience and a real privilege.

— Michael

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