Pennsylvania Education Secretary Charles Zogby has resigned to take a job with for-profit online education company K12 Inc., founded by former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett.

Zogby had served as Pennsylvania’s education secretary since March 2001, when former Secretary Eugene Hickok stepped down to become undersecretary of education for the U.S. Department of Education. Zogby’s resignation was effective Jan. 3.

Zogby has become senior vice president of education and policy for K12, which operates internet-based schools in six states, including the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School in Norristown, Pa. He will be responsible for expanding and recruiting the McLean, Va.-based company’s business.

“There’s clearly a large marketplace for a company that delivers very standards-based, very rigorous academic program. Cyber education is a very new type of educational opportunity,” Zogby said.

Outgoing Pennsylvania Gov. Mark S. Schweiker praised Zogby’s efforts to reform the state’s education system.

“From setting rigorous academic standards to developing better state assessments to giving parents more and better educational choices for their children, Charles Zogby helped to craft one of the most comprehensive and successful education-reform agendas in Pennsylvania’s history,” Schweiker said.

New Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has named Lancaster Superintendent Vicki Phillips as Zogby’s successor. Phillips, 44, has led the 11,500-student Lancaster, Pa., district since 1998 and promoted an effort that reportedly has resulted in significant gains in many of its schools.

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