Francis Eberle, who oversees a nonprofit organization devoted to improving mathematics and science education in Maine, will become the new executive director of the National Science Teachers Association in August.
Mr. Eberle will replace the NSTA’s longtime chief, Gerald F. Wheeler, who announced last year that he would be stepping down from that post after 13 years with the Arlington, Va., organization.
The mission of the NSTA, which has some 57,000 members, is to improve the quality of K-12 science teaching through teacher-training, the creation and distribution of print publications and online resources, and the staging of workshops and conferences for new and veteran teachers. It has also taken an active role in recent years in supporting federal proposals on Capitol Hill that the organization’s leaders believe could positively affect science education.
The new executive director will bring “tremendous passion, leadership, and experience” to the position, NSTA President John Whitsett said in a statement.
Mr. Eberle is currently the executive director of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, based in Augusta, which seeks to coordinate and strengthen teaching in those subjects. In recent years, the alliance has expanded its work across other parts of New England, according to a description on the organization’s Web site. A former middle and high school science teacher, Mr. Eberle has overseen or helped lead a number of research projects underwritten by the National Science Foundation since joining the alliance. He has a bachelor’s degree in science education, a master’s degree in educational psychology, and a Ph.D. in educational studies, according to a biography provided by the alliance.
The NSTA received hundreds of applications for the executive director post, said Kate Meyer, a spokeswoman for the organization. After a search committee narrowed down the list of applicants, the NSTA’s 13-member board made the final hiring decision, Ms. Meyer said.