The STEM Task Force recommendations outline how New Hampshire schools and students can be more competitive in the 21st century economy, will help strengthen the foundations of STEM education, inspire students through competitions and more hands-on experiences, and empower teachers. Recognizing the success of programs built on project-based learning – like Manchester’s STEAM Ahead – and the importance of students receiving a broad spectrum of educational opportunities, the Governor has directed the task force to build on its efforts to incorporate the arts into their overall conversation.
The Governor’s re-established task force includes many of the same members who represent relevant experience in STEM education in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the University System of New Hampshire, and New Hampshire’s colleges and universities, as well as representatives from New Hampshire’s innovative businesses.
Executive Order 2015-03 also adds three additional members to the task force – one who will focus on the recommendation to engage and mentor girls for STEM careers, a director of a Career Technical Education Center to assist with the recommendation to motivate advanced studies, and a leader in early childhood learning to help ensure that we are meeting the needs of every child, including pre-K.
The task force will again be chaired by Dr. Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. Dr. Gittell brings to the task force a breadth of insight around career pathways, modernizing workforce training, and collaboration between higher education institutions, private businesses, and local school districts.
“I believe the STEM Task Force recommendations provide a solid foundation to move forward in modernizing New Hampshire’s STEM K-12 Education,” Dr. Gittell said, “I want to thank Governor Hassan for recognizing the important role the STEM Task Force can continue to play in the implementation of the these recommendations across our state.”
Task force members will work with stakeholders from in and outside of state government to assist in implementing the report’s recommendations, which will require collaboration between local school districts, New Hampshire’s Department of Education, and STEM business leaders. This month the Department of Education hired Dr. Eric Feldborg – who has experience in both traditional and public charter schools, as well as in the private sector – to serve as New Hampshire’s STEM Director. Dr. Feldborg will serve as the Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry’s designee and work closely with other task force members to carry out their recommendations across the state.
Other task force members are:
- Dr. Brian Blake, Superintendent of Sanborn Regional School District and Past-President of the New Hampshire Superintendents Association, representing the New Hampshire School Administrators Association;
- Barbara Couch, President, Hope Foundation at Hypertherm Inc. and a member of the state’s Advanced Manufacturing Education Advisory Council, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
- Joyce Craig, Manchester Alderman and mother of three children who attend Manchester public schools;
- Susan D’Agostino, Associate Professor of math at Southern New Hampshire University, representing New Hampshire’s private colleges and universities;
- Robert Hallowell, member of the Nashua Board of Education and scientific researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory;
- Leslie McRobie, Director-at-Large at New Hampshire Science Teachers’ Association, representing the New Hampshire Science Teachers’ Association;
- Joseph J. Helble, Dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and a Professor of Engineering, representing New Hampshire’s colleges and universities;
- Dr. Sally Jean, Associate Professor Analytical Chemistry and Chemical Education at Keene State College, representing New Hampshire’s colleges and universities.
- Annie Wallace, Math Specialist at Hampstead Middle School, representing the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics;
- Jeremy Hitchock, CEO & Chairman of Dyn, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
- Buck Beaudoin, Senior Vice President and Creative Director at Mad*Pow, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
- Todd Lamarque, Principal at Lancaster Elementary School and former chair of the science department at Gorham Middle High School, representing the New Hampshire Association of School Principals;
- Dr. Palligarnai Vasudevan, Professor of Chemical Engineering and the interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UNH, representing the University System of New Hampshire.
- Lauren Provost, Research Assistant Professor at University of New Hampshire STEM Discovery Lab, added to support the task force recommendation—Girls in STEM: Engaging and Mentoring Girls for STEM Careers
- Chris Dodge, Director of Salem Career and Technical Education Center, added to support the task force recommendation—Early College Academies for STEM: Motivating Advanced Studies
- Katie Brissette, Deputy Director of Spark NH, New Hampshire’s Early Childhood Advisory Council
The New Hampshire Department of Education will provide administrative support to the task force and will soon be announcing the first meeting.