Licensed psychologist and former college professor Dr. Ronald Ogrodnik is going back to school.
Only, this time, Ogrodnik will take his entrepreneurial chops with him because he’s the founder and president of Sarasota University. The startup school, a Florida licensed online university with a corporate office in Lakewood Ranch, has eight students who started in early September. The school offers three graduate programs: Two are Montessori-based education degrees and one is an MBA degree with three concentrations.
“A lot of people talk about starting their own school,” says Sarasota University Admissions Director Ryan Ogrodnik, Ogrodnik’s son. “Now he’s living out his dream, starting a university.”
Ogrodnik has both academic and business experience. He’s held executive roles at DeVry University in several cities, and he also oversaw graduate programs at Argosy University in Florida and Hawaii. On the business side, meanwhile, Ogrodnik worked in human resources at an education company, and he also ran his own management-consulting firm.
Ronald and Ryan Ogrodnik, in addition to the others who work at Sarasota University, have a passion for Montessori education values, which emphasize independence and a child’s natural development. That kind of zeal is an asset because launching a school, it turns out, includes some bureaucratic hurdles.
“It’s not like starting a lemonade stand,” Ryan Ogrodnik says. “This is two years in the making.”