JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Sept. 19, 2018 — Two education leaders in Northeast Florida have been selected to join a national group of 20 fellows in LEAD STEM, a national leadership development experience.
- Dr. Melissa Coleman, Director of Federal programs for Putnam County School District, oversees $16 million annually in federal grant funding initiatives and acceleration curriculum initiatives for Putnam County schools, including those involving STEM programs. Over her 19 years of service in public education, she has served as a district curriculum director, a middle and high school principal, an assistant principal, and taught high school chemistry and biology.
- Nancy Watson, Director of Programs for the Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub, joined the STEM2 Hub in May 2018 after 13 years working as an educator and instructional and curriculum coach in Clay and St. Johns counties, where she was responsible for developing and pacing the science curriculum maps for grades K-12, including standard and advanced level coursework. In Clay County, she built curriculum teams from all elementary and secondary schools to participate in the development of content, assessment and evaluation rubrics aligned to Florida Standards. She was also responsible for the development, training and implementation of the Clay County School District initiative to incorporate Professional Learning Communities into school communities, including faculty training, documentation development and design, and accountability.
Over the coming year, Dr. Coleman and Watson will be armed with critical skills to impact current local learning opportunities while shaping the global future of education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“Dr. Coleman has a well-deserved reputation for creating opportunities for excellence for all students regardless of background. Our leadership team looks forward to applying what she learns through her work with the LEAD STEM cohort to advance the growth and achievement of Putnam County students,” said Kathleen Schofield, executive director of the STEM2 Hub.
“Nancy Watson is a strong advocate for STEM learning, placing emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving in the context of science. As one of only a few leaders in our region to have attained a STEM Certificate from the University of Florida, I am certain that Nancy will build upon her content expertise through her LEAD STEM experience to develop a project that will have a wide and meaningful impact across our region,” said Gary Chartrand, chairman of the STEM2 Hub Board of Directors.
LEAD STEM is an initiative of the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice, a collaborative movement of 68 STEM Learning Ecosystems made up of hundreds of after-school STEM organizations, thousands of school districts serving millions of students, hundreds of businesses and industries and dozens of community colleges and universities. Northeast Florida was selected to join the national STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative in May 2016.
Adding to the program’s strength, LEGO® Education is joining as a lead sponsor to support and encourage the fellows as they ignite a passion for STEM learning in students.
Jan Morrison, president of the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM and a founder of the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice, explained that the training that LEAD STEM fellows receive is unique. “LEAD STEM is carefully identifying leaders, engaging them in a national network of like-minded individuals who are actively working to successfully connect STEM education with the workforce needs in our country, and arming them with tools and support to make a significant impact this year,” she said.
Coleman and Watson will carefully map and execute strategies to address a community-based educational need or growth opportunity, while rallying other constituents in Northeast Florida to work together for more significant impact. National LEAD STEM faculty and mentors will guide their work through strategic planning and the identification of measurable goals and outcomes.
About the Northeast Regional Florida STEM2 Hub
The Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub represents an investment initially made by 15 companies headquartered in region. The mission is to convene, inspire, and invest in the STEM2 field by providing the essential missing elements to accelerate the growth of STEM2 education and careers in the seven North Florida counties of Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns. For a list of the current corporate board members and more information about the STEM2 Hub in Northeast Florida, visit our website at stem2hub.org.
About STEM Learning Ecosystems
The STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative cultivates and supports 68 local Ecosystems working to improve access to high-quality STEM learning for all students. The Initiative empowers communities to bring together unlikely local partners and create systemic change to ensure more students, particularly underserved and underrepresented students, develop the STEM knowledge and skills they need to learn and thrive in today’s workplace.