The beginnings of Virginia STEAM Academy…
In November 2010, the co-founders met individually with representatives of diverse communities: business, parents, public K-12 education, higher education, science and engineering research and development, and government. They gathered to address a core set of education challenges:
- a deficit of knowledge workers for the 21st century economy
- a wide disparity in offerings for highly able students across school divisions, and
- limited student exposure to rich, integrated science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics curriculum early and continuously throughout their school career.
What emerged was the Virginia STEAM Academy: a proposed public, statewide, multi-dimensional education initiative aimed at improving the state’s science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics offerings and positively impacting the Commonwealth of Virginia’s economic future.
Based on a consortium leadership model, a Steering Committee was formed. As individuals, members of the founding Steering Committee brought to the table expertise in education, operations, and non-profit board leadership. Collectively, the Steering Committee represented varied experiences and perspectives from fields such as K-12 and higher education; local, state, and international business; science and engineering; and government.
Founding Steering Committee members were:
- Jim Batterson, retired NASA engineer and former special assistant on loan from NASA to the Secretary of Education
- Gilbert Bland, past chair, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
- E. Dana Dickens, III, past president and CEO, Hampton Roads Partnership
- Jack Ezzell, CEO, Zel Technologies
- Danielle Hinton, principal, Boston Consulting Group; MIT Presidential Fellow
- Wayne Lett, retired superintendent, Newport News Public Schools
- M. Caroline Martin, co-founder, Virginia STEAM Academy; retired Executive Riverside Health System/ CEO, Riverside Regional Medical Center
- Colleen Seremet, retired and past Maryland Assistant State Superintendent for Instruction, Maryland
- Judy Stewart, co-founder, Virginia STEAM Academy; president, Taylor Education Consulting, Inc.
- Elizabeth Taraski, advisory capacity, Planning/Marketing Strategic Planning Consultant
Many of the Steering Committee members continue to serve on the Hampton Roads Advisory Committee.
Over the next four years, the Virginia STEAM Academy evolved into a statewide, non-profit, charitable organization with a clearly articulated mission, vision, and purpose.