Three leading Arizona education entities—Achieve60AZ, Expect More Arizona, and College Success Arizona—announced today that they are pooling their resources and teams to become one organization. Rich Nickel, president and CEO of College Success Arizona since 2012, will lead the consolidated organization.

“This is the impetus for us all to think and act differently. We are thrilled to join forces to form an ambitious, expanded organization that will allow us to bring a unified approach to providing educational opportunities for all Arizonans,” said Vince Roig, chair of College Success Arizona’s board of directors. “Expect More Arizona and Achieve60AZ coming under the umbrella and leadership of College Success Arizona will bring a stronger collective voice for education improvement and shared accountability for economic prosperity.”

The enhanced organization, which will be renamed later this year, will create a strategic plan that will include a cohesive education agenda to reach the goals outlined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter and support the success of all Arizona children and adults along the education continuum, from early learning through postsecondary attainment. The Education Progress Meter goals were developed to support a broadly shared vision—that all students, regardless of their background, income, or zip code, deserve equitable access to a high-quality education at every level.

“Education is one of the strongest levers we have to create prosperity and a better quality of life for everyone in our state,” said Ron Butler, former chair of Expect More Arizona’s board of directors who has now joined College Success Arizona’s board. “Aligning our efforts will provide greater clarity, and position us to take bold new steps to address educational equity issues and help close opportunity gaps that stand in the way of reaching the Education Progress Meter goals.”

This combined organization is the result of a yearlong collaborative process involving leaders, funders, and board members of all three organizations. The organization will now embark on an extensive listening tour to hear from diverse communities across Arizona about what is needed for their communities to reach the Education Progress Meter goals. The three organizations coming together share a united desire to elevate conversations and action around issues of educational equity and the impact of opportunity gaps on student outcomes.“We know that to truly move the needle and approach our state’s goal of 60 percent of Arizona adults holding a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030, we must bring a unified, comprehensive approach that spans working with the youngest learners to adults who want to better their career and wage prospects,” said Darcy Renfro, former chair of the Achieve60AZ board of directors who has now joined the College Success Arizona board. “Every Arizonan deserves the opportunity for success, and this organization will bring the full weight of our organizations to make this vision a reality.”

“I was extremely pleased to participate in the collaborative community process to create this enhanced organization,” Rich Nickel said. “I’ve spent the bulk of my career helping students and families with financial need gain access to and attain high-quality education. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead this expanded organization that will set a cohesive education agenda for Arizona.”