Kim Case, executive director of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, has been selected as one of 20 fellows in LEAD STEM, a national leadership development experience. Over the coming year, Case will be educated on critical skills to impact current local learning opportunities while shaping the global future of education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
As the executive director of the Research & Development Council, Case leads the strategic vision of the organization, which includes initiatives that drive excellence in STEM education and workforce development. Part of the Council’s program portfolio includes the management of a statewide STEM Scholars organization, the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (“NJSPN”), and New Jersey’s four STEM Learning Ecosystems. Made up of hundreds of representatives from across the state, the NJSPN is currently focusing on learning efforts in the areas of computer science, early childhood STEM education, STEM teacher training and professional development, and workforce development. As a Teach for America alumna, Case seeks to use her leadership to develop a more integrated STEM community in the state where all students will experience a quality STEM education and New Jersey STEM employers will have the homegrown talent they need.
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.
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.
Gerald Solomon, executive director of the Samueli Foundation and co-founder of the STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice, explained the value of the program. “LEAD STEM is bringing together leaders with varied backgrounds who can shine a light on different aspects of education and design learning experiences and systems that equip our youth to solve the immense global challenges of today and tomorrow.”
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 likeminded 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.
Case will carefully map and execute a strategy to address a community-based educational need or growth opportunity. Case will rally other constituents in the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network and its four STEM Learning Ecosystems – Delran (Burlington County), Liberty (Hudson County), Newark, and South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership (Camden, Cumberland, and Salem Counties) – to work together for more significant impact. National LEAD STEM faculty and mentors will guide the work through strategic planning and the identification of measurable goals and outcomes.
“I am honored to take part in the LEAD STEM program and join peers from across the nation who are as eager as I am to drive excellence in STEM,” said Kim Case, LEAD STEM. “New Jersey is the original home of America’s innovation economy dating back to Thomas Edison and his labs. STEM is part of our DNA and I hope to build on this and help lead more programs that support a quality STEM education for all students and a STEM workforce that is best in its class.”
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