Executive Director, Trustee
As the Executive Director of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, Dr. Nicole Gillespie leads KSTF in its efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and improve the state of US STEM education. Nicole previously directed the KSTF Teaching Fellowship, the foundation’s signature program that supports Teaching Fellows in the fields of biology, physical science and mathematics education nationwide. 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.
Nicole’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.
Nicole 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. She was awarded the 2004 Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for her research on collaborative argumentation and model-based reasoning among physics students.
Nicole 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. She 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.