Highland Park ISD has named an executive director for its new Moody Innovation Institute.
Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, the former dean of Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University, will be the first leader of the forthcoming institute focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math curriculum.
“I am honored by the opportunity that HPISD and the HP Education Foundation have extended to me,” Orsak said in a release. “I am excited to be part of such a dynamic and ambitious organization with incredibly worthy goals.”
Orsak most recently served as executive director of the Texas Research Alliance. He has been a longtime advocate in STEAM education. In 1999, he helped create and lead The Infinity Project, which provides curriculum to boost student interest in engineering in schools nationwide.
He helped organize TEDxSMU, a local offshoot of the well-known TED conference, as well as create the first TED program for kids.
“Dr. Orsak is a perfect fit for this position not only because of his demonstrated ability to execute bold ideas and engage communities, but because of his deep and profound passion for K-12 education,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said in a release. “The Moody Innovation Institute will provide learning opportunities in STEAM subjects for every HPISD student, and Dr. Orsak’s scientific and technical expertise and experience in innovative learning programs will help launch this program.”
The STEAM program is being funded by a $5.8 million grant given to the Highland Park Education Foundation by the Moody Foundation in August 2016.
In addition to the institute for teacher professional development, the grant will also enable the Moody Advanced Professional Studies Center, where upper grade level students can receive hands-on learning experiences.
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