- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 26, 2006

Whether leading a company, writing a law brief or working on a novel, Steve Sidel emphasizes creativity.

As the new president of Discovery Education, Mr. Sidel is responsible for coordinating distribution of the company’s digital education services.

“The core responsibilities are to build a fantastic team of educators,” Mr. Sidel said. “It’s building the team that allows us to really set the standard in learning both in school and at home.”

Discovery Education distributes Unitedstreaming, a video learning resource that teachers can access online. Unitedstreaming includes more than 4,500 videos on a wide range of academic subjects, tailored to state curricula for kindergarten through 12th grade. More than 70,000 schools in the U.S. subscribe to Unitedstreaming.

The company recently introduced Cosmeo, a digital subscription service designed for use at home. It includes homework help, video clips and educational games.

Judith McHale, president and chief executive officer of Discovery Communications, complimented Mr. Sidel on his accomplishments at the company.

“Steve has done an excellent job in creating a dynamic set of business opportunities in digital learning,” she said.

Mr. Sidel began his career at Discovery Communications in 1997 in the legal affairs department. He became senior vice president and deputy counsel in 2001 and was named executive vice president of Discovery Education three years later. He became president of Discovery Education last month.

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1990, Mr. Sidel worked in two law firms before taking time off to work on a novel.

“I’ve always had a passion for writing. I started writing poems when I was a little boy and took poetry writing classes when I was at college at Brown University,” he said. He has written several novels and short stories.

“For me, it’s a great way to be creative, to build something, to be surprised every day by what it is your characters are saying and doing,” he said.

Although he considers his writing a hobby, Mr. Sidel thinks the challenges are similar to the ones he faces in his career.

“It’s a great analogy for leading a business,” he said. Both involve an idea of where a project should go as well as uncertainty, he said. One can merely guide the process as it evolves.

“Writing has been one of the best training grounds for leading this division,” he said.

Mr. Sidel, 40, lives in Bethesda with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.

— Walter Frick

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