Liberty Chats, Episode 40: Erika Donalds, CEO of Optima Ed

August 17, 2022

On this episode of Liberty Chats, host Domine Clemons, member of The Steamboat Institute’s Emerging Leaders Council, interviews Erika Donalds, CEO of Optima Ed,  on the recent success of Optima Ed’s virtual reality school.  They also dive into the value of Classical Education methods and how we can maximize educational freedom and school choice.
Erika Donalds, CPA and CGMA,  is the Chief Executive Officer of Optima Ed, an education experience company dedicated to expanding high quality school choice. A mother of three boys and former finance executive with a passion for education, she has offered her expertise in business to help further the expansion of parental choice and to improve accountability and governance in Florida’s public schools. Prior to launching Optima, Erika was Chief Financial Officer/Chief Compliance Officer and Partner at DGHM, an investment management firm. She served with the company for almost 20 years and was responsible for the finance, compliance, and operations, in addition to serving on the firm’s Management Committee. Erika holds a BS in Accounting from Florida State University and a Masters in Accountancy from Florida Atlantic University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Erika is a former elected member of the Collier County School Board. During her tenure, she co-founded the Florida Coalition of School Board Members and served as the group’s President. She was appointed to Florida’s 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission by then-Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran, and recently served on Governor DeSantis’ Advisory Committee on Education and Workforce Development. Erika now serves on the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees, and on advisory boards for Classical Learning Test, Moms for Liberty, and the Independent Women’s Forum Education Freedom Center. Learn more about the Optima Foundation and Optima Ed at:
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