News Release


Kristin Bestler

Obridge Academy Director of Student Services


Shawnee Cohn, Blackboard



Obridge Academy Team

Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award 

Team Recognized for Student Success

Hicksville, NY – June 18, 2018 – Staff from Obridge Academy have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Student Success which honors individuals and/or institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and/or improved outcomes through the implementation of new academic and/or administrative resources, data analytics solutions, scalable advising and intervention strategies, student support programs, and more.

Founded in 2005, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts.

The team at Obridge Academy is comprised of Dr. Jennifer Albert, Head of School; Kristin Bestler, Director of Student Services; Harry Yang, Director of Curriculum; and Laura Levarity, Enrollment Advisor.

“We understand the challenge of providing access to meaningful support services in a virtual environment. Our Virtual Testing Accommodations (VTA) and support page, The Accommodation Station, are the result of many attempts to find a viable solution for that challenge. Our students should enjoy the same level of supportive interaction afforded to students in traditional brick and mortar institutions, and we are delighted to have found a means to do so through Blackboard. The beauty of these services is that we can provide them to any student from anywhere, both domestically and internationally.” – Dr. Jennifer Albert, Head of School, Obridge Academy.

“I’m proud to recognize this year’s Catalyst Award winners for their dedication to using technology to enhance the learning experience and sharing their best practices with the larger community,” said Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, CEO and President of Blackboard. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the winners and their institutions to support learner success.”

Obridge Academy’s team will also be honored alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2018, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held July 16-19 in Orlando.

Blackboard is the leading provider of learner success-focused technology solutions and services. Its product portfolio is unmatched in the marketplace, spanning teaching and learning, analytics, community engagement, campus transactions and security solutions as well as student services.

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, please visit:


About Obridge Academy

Obridge Academy is committed to providing an interactive, media-rich, college preparatory education for Grades 6-12. Students learn in a flexible, student-centered learning environment amongst a diverse population of learners from across the US and around the world. Accredited by AdvancEd (NCA CASI/SACS CASI), Obridge offers full high school diploma programs, credit recovery, SAT prep and private tutoring, a National Honor Society (NHS) Chapter and full Honors Program, and NYS approved CTLE courses for local teachers and teacher assistants.


About Blackboard

Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education’s partner in change.