James Sparkman is a Partner at Alpha Education, an advisory firm he founded in 2011. He currently leads a national practice representing colleges and universities exploring long-term private sector partnership opportunities. Prior to founding Alpha Education, James spent a decade as an investor, advisor and senior executive working with a range of post-secondary education companies. Previously, James was the co-founder of HigherMarkets, a venture-backed university SaaS company that was acquired by SciQuest (now Jaggaer). James also held early executive roles at private equity firm New Mountain Capital and student lender First Marblehead Corporation (now Cognition Financial). James began his career as a public school teacher in Brooklyn, NY, where he was a member of the first class of Teach For America. James received his B.A., cum laude, from Middlebury College and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.