This week, Mark R. Nelson was named the new executive director of the nearly 20,000-member Computer Science Teachers Association.
The previous executive director, Chris Stephenson, stepped down in May 2014 to take a position as a computer science education program manager at Google. Stephenson helped start the CSTA, which advocates for increased access to computer science for K-12 students, in 2004. Lissa Clayborn, who has served as CSTA’s acting executive director since Stephenson left, is now the deputy executive director and chief operating officer.
Prior to his new role, Nelson worked for eight years at the National Association of College Stores, a nonprofit trade association that represents the higher education retail industry, in a variety of positions including as the chief information officer. He was also an assistant professor and lecturer at several higher education institutions and has a Ph.D. in information science from the University at Albany, SUNY.
Some of the most important challenges for computer science education advocates, Nelson said in an interview, include pushing for computer science to fulfill high school graduation requirements, improving teacher education, and finding ways to weave computer science across the subjects.
“The need for people in society who understand technology and who understand computing continues to grow,” he said. “It’s a mission that matters.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.