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.