Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Takes Nonprofit Job

Aug 19, 2014

Luna announced earlier this year that he wouldn't run for re-election.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

When State Superintendent Tom Luna leaves office in 2015, he will join a nonprofit education vendor.

Luna will join Project Lead The Way, an Indianapolis-based organization providing programs and teacher training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the so-called “STEM” fields. Luna will be the nonprofit’s vice president of policy, advocacy and research.

Luna will oversee four regional directors, as well as a team of policy analysts and researchers.

“This opportunity will allow me to continue to focus on my passion and personal mission to ensure that all children are prepared to succeed in the world where they will live and work. I look forward to helping expand access to engaging learning opportunities for students across America,” Luna said in a Project Lead the Way news release issued Tuesday.

Project Lead the Way describes itself as the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs and teacher training — saying it delivers STEM programs more than 6,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“PLTW schools can be found in rural, urban, and suburban districts; across all income levels; as well as in public, private, and charter schools,” the organization says on its website.

The exact extent of Project Lead The Way’s Idaho presence was not immediately clear Tuesday. However, the state’s Division of Professional-Technical Education encourages Idaho teachers to offer the nonprofit’s programs.

“PLTW partners with middle schools and high schools to provide a rigorous, relevant STEM education,” the division says on its website. “Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning.”

It was not immediately clear how Luna would handle any state policy decisions involving Project Lead The Way, in the remaining 4 ½ months of his term. Idaho Education News has requested comment and an interview with Luna.

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