ASMSA academic dean named president of National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools

1 year ago

Bob Gregory, dean of academic affairs at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, became president of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools Board of Directors earlier this month.

Gregory assumed the role of president for the 2017-18 academic year at the organization’s professional conference held Nov. 1-4 in Chicago. The organization was established in 1988 to provide a forum for specialized secondary schools focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics to exchange information and program ideas. It now includes approximately 100 member schools, many “ranked” as the best in the country, along with 55 affiliate members comprised of colleges, universities, summer programs, foundations and corporations.

Gregory served as president-elect for the 2016-17 academic year and previously served as secretary for the board. In his president-elect role, Gregory led the program committee, which organized various programs for the consortium including the recent professional conference.

He said he is excited to have the opportunity to lead the board over the next year. The organization provides important opportunities for educators from across the country to engage with each other, he said.

“It’s really a great asset as far as having an understanding of what’s going on in schools across the United States,” Gregory said. “We get to discuss issues that we all have and learn the different approaches that we each take to solve those issues. It’s been a great opportunity for me to interact with peers from across the country, many of them members of public residential schools similar to ours.”

Gregory said he is eager to work with the board of directors as president. Each provides a perspective that is valuable to the organization, he said.

“This group of leaders are A-plus people from all these other schools. It’s amazing what you can get done with these other people,” he said.

One area he would like to expand under his tenure as president are professional development opportunities for administrators. While the organization holds a large professional conference each November, he would like to develop a series of regional meetings that might allow administrators to gather more often in smaller groups that are easier for each to travel to at different times of the year. Those may include a way for administrators to participate online via video. The board holds its monthly meetings virtually, and he’d like to see that adopted for regional meetings as well.

Gregory has served as ASMSA’s dean of academic affairs since the Spring 2013 semester, when he was named interim dean. He was later appointed permanently to the role after a national search. He joined ASMSA’s faculty as a math instructor in 2011. He previously taught at Webb School of Knoxville, a private school in Knoxville, Tenn., and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches, La. LSMSA is a residential public high school that focuses on STEM and the arts, similar to ASMSA. Gregory served as chairman of the Math Department and was one of four people responsible for LSMSA’s academic program.

Gregory joined the NCSSS board in June 2013. He said he was eager to fulfill a role as a leader for the organization. One reason was because of the work the organization does for member schools. Another was more personal.

In 1993 Gregory attended a calculus reform project conference sponsored by the organization. It was there that he met his wife, Denise. She had accepted a job at a school on a Wednesday. The school sent her to the calculus conference that weekend.

“I told them that I owe this organization whatever it needs from me because otherwise I wouldn’t have met my wife. It was total luck for me. I don’t know if I would have met her otherwise,” he said.

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