ATLANTA—STE(A)M Truck, an innovative educational nonprofit that is helping to eliminate educational disparities with access to hands-on STEAM learning in local systems.
Dr. Francis is an accomplished and nationally recognized educational leader with more than 15 years working toward educational equity. From her role as executive director of Talent Management at the Clarke County School District, where she leveraged her knowledge of equitable educational practices, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning to support district initiatives. Dr. Francis was named one of Education Week’s 2020 Leaders to Learn From and has been committed to improving learning environments for STEAM education in Title I schools for her entire career.
Beginning her education career as an elementary teacher for Atlanta Public Schools, Dr. Francis developed an after-school science club and a monthly science initiative to increase science learning opportunities for under-represented students. Inspired by the lack of high quality science instruction observed during student teaching, her Spelman College senior thesis presented ways to improve science instruction in Title 1 schools, and led her to continue that inquiry through her Ph.D in Educational Theory and Practice from the University of Georgia with a dissertation that focused on the ways in which race and gender limit exposure to high quality science instruction.
Dr. Francis brings a wealth of knowledge to the role as a former elementary teacher, former faculty member at Spelman College where she taught Math and Science methods to teacher candidates and as a district administrator well versed in the needs of novice teachers and equitable learning environments. Coupling these experiences with her past support, Dr. Francis stands ready to carry the vision of STE(A)M forward.
Dr. Francis is engaged with multiple civic organizations across Atlanta, including Atlanta Women’s Foundation and Georgia Women’s Policy Institute, to ensure equity for women and girls of color and was named to the 2019 class of Outstanding Atlanta, the city’s premier honor for career and civic engagement.
“I am passionate about this organization, STEAM education, and the possibility of providing equitable opportunities for students across Metro Atlanta and beyond,” said Dr. Francis.
“The opportunity to lead STE(A)M to ensure that students have the opportunities to engage with amazing tools, tech and 21st century careers as well as direct support and development for teachers to embed these strategies into their teaching practice is the focus of my life’s work. I am honored to continue the outstanding framework created by STE(A)M. I look forward to leveraging my networks across Metro Atlanta in the fields of education, business and philanthropy to ensure that students are ready for the challenges of the 21st century workforce.”
“Dr. Francis brings a broad set of skills and expertise in education to STE(A)M. We considered many qualified candidates and Marsha stood out for her ability to lead the organization in this next phase of growth,” said Alan Stukalsky, STE(A)M Board Chair. “The board and our entire organization are confident that her leadership will help our organization deliver engaging learning experiences to even more children across Metro Atlanta.”
Student Builders delivers hands-on learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics primarily to children living in low-income communities and teachers across North & South America through in-person and virtual live instruction formats from the organization’s award-winning innovation labs.
About Student Builders
Student Builders is an education program, a 501(c)3 non-profit (pending) and provides an innovative approach to learning by providing students with access to STEAM-based experiences in communities lacking those resources. Thousands of children across the area have been exposed to hands-on learning through the organization’s partnerships with school systems, professional teacher development, and community engagement programs.