Moorestown, NJ, March 13, 2013 — The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF), a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting, supporting and sustaining outstanding new teachers of high school science and mathematics, has elected Dr. Nicole Gillespie to the position of Executive Director. Dr. Gillespie previously directed the KSTF Teaching Fellowship, the foundation’s signature program that supports 150 beginning high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers across 38 states. She joined KSTF in 2004 and has helped develop several of the foundation’s key initiatives, including its Research and Evaluation Program and Alumni Program. As Executive Director, Dr. Gillespie will lead KSTF in its efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and improve the state of US STEM education.
“The Board of Trustees was unanimous in our election of Nicole Gillespie as Executive Director,” said C. Harry Knowles, KSTF’s Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She has made tremendous contributions to the organization during her tenure as Director of the Teaching Fellowship program and her vision of KSTF’s progress is equally exciting. The trustees, staff and our fellows and alumni nationwide look forward to a great future under Nicole’s leadership.”
“I am honored to be leading KSTF at such a critical time for STEM education in the US. KSTF’s vision of strengthening the STEM teaching profession by creating and sustaining a stable core of teacher leaders is becoming a reality, and I am truly inspired by what these talented, committed teachers can accomplish,” said Dr. Gillespie. “The work that these teachers are doing, in their own classrooms and with their colleagues, is exactly what is needed to improve STEM capacity in this country, and it is a privilege to be able to support them.”
Dr. Gillespie’s experience in STEM education includes teaching science and mathematics at Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder High School in Washington and the Upward Bound Program at Napa Valley College as well as working with the Seattle Public Schools to introduce inquiry-based science curriculum in elementary grades. She has taught science and education courses for undergraduate and graduate students as well as to pre- and in-service teachers at the University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Gillespie received a BS in mechanical engineering with a minor in Russian from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD in 1990 and served five years as an active duty naval officer after graduation. She earned an MS in physics from the University of Washington in 1999 and a PhD in science education from the University of California at Berkeley in 2004. Dr. Gillespie was awarded the 2004 Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for her research on collaborative argumentation and model-based reasoning among physics students. She has given presentations on supporting and sustaining beginning STEM teachers and developing teachers as leaders to the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society and the National Science Teaching Association, among others. Dr. Gillespie is on the advisory boards of the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership and the joint project of The National Writing Project (NWP) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) integrating science and literacy. A recognized spokesperson on the issues of beginning teacher recruitment and retention, she appears regularly in the media including USA Today, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Radio and NPR, among many others.