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George "Pinky" Nelson has been named the new director of Project 2061, the science education reform initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The former NASA astronaut has been an active advocate for the improvement of K-12 education.

He founded the education branch of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's astronaut office as a way to engage astronauts in school-related activities.

Mr. Nelson has been the deputy director of Project 2061 since October 1996.

He succeeds F. James Rutherford, who will remain as an education adviser to the Washington-based AAAS.

Project 2061 has worked since 1985 to improve science education in grades K-12 and to ensure that high school graduates are science-literate.

The project's 1989 report, "Science for All Americans," described what it says every citizen should know in the natural and social sciences, mathematics, and technology. "Benchmarks for Science Literacy," released in 1993, expanded the science-literacy goals of the earlier report into grade-specific learning goals.

Myrlie Evers-Williams announced last week that she will not be a candidate for re-election as the chairwoman of the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Myrlie Evers-Williams

She instead plans to devote her time to establishing an institute named for her late husband, the slain civil rights advocate Medgar Evers.

Ms. Evers-Williams has headed the NAACP board since 1995, when she won the chairmanship of the Baltimore-based civil rights organization by a single vote.

She will remain a member of the board of directors through next February.

She is currently consulting with social-justice, civil rights, business, and political leaders to refine the concept for the Medgar Evers Institute.

Jean Peterson, the executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association, has announced her retirement from the job she has held since 1979.

During her tenure with the Pittsburgh-based association, the group grew to a membership of 60,000.

She is expected to step down sometime this year.

--ADRIENNE D. COLES [email protected]

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