Science Pioneers announces new excutive direrector


Not-for-Profit Organization Will Build Upon Strong Foundation of Commitment to Science Education in the Kansas City Region.

KANSAS CITY, MO – Science Pioneers today announced the transition of its leadership, with a celebration to introduce LeAnn Smith as the new Executive Director and congratulate Mary Brock on her retirement after 10 years as Executive Director. Mary led the expansion of science education programs for the organization, which is best known for its operation of the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, held annually at Union Station. Under Mary’s leadership, the Science and Engineering Fair grew from 800 projects to more than 1000 over the years.

In other accomplishments, Mary reinstituted of a standards-based ScienceWise professional development program for teachers, including the addition of Teacher Resource Day and a variety of online courses. In 2006, she obtained funding to add two Saturday hands-on activity programs to the “Expanding Your Horizons” program for middle school girls.

Mary also planned the implementation of a new professional development program for teachers in 2007, Strategic STEM Instruction (SSI). This program currently offers more than 20 workshops through contracts with area schools and districts. Mary also devised the plan and obtained first-year funding for a middle school boys’ program called “Exploring Your Potential.”

During her years at Science Pioneers, Mary led the planning and execution of celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of Science Pioneers in 2007 and the 60th Anniversary of the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair in 2011. Over the past 10 years, Mary, together with the Science Pioneers Board of Directors, has successfully raised in excess of $3 million to execute Science Pioneers’ outstanding programs and expand its mission of “creating innovative and supportive education activities that encourage the youth of Kansas City to understand and use science and critical thinking in their careers and everyday lives.”

With Mary’s retirement, effective April 4, 2014, Science Pioneers now welcomes LeAnn Smith to the role of Executive Director.

LeAnn brings nearly 25 years’ experience in a variety of roles with non-profit organizations. She has led organizations as Executive Director and Board Chair, was a Principal with CommonWealth Consulting and has volunteered with dozens of organizations over the years.

Most recently, LeAnn was Executive Director for Medical Missions Foundation; prior to that she was the Chief Operating Officer for Smiles Change Lives.

LeAnn is a highly experienced collaborator with proven success in aligning strategic community and business initiatives to drive change and strengthen the organization and its brand. A business/finance graduate from Kansas State University, LeAnn resides with her husband in Kansas City, MO.

“We are so proud of Mary’s accomplishments and wish her all the best in her retirement years,” said Gary Tracy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Science Pioneer. “And we are equally delighted to welcome LeAnn, who will take on the challenge of building upon Mary’s legacy to further advance our mission.”

About Science Pioneers: Science Pioneers is a not-for-profit educational organization with a mission to create innovative and supportive education activities that encourage the youth of Kansas City to understand and use science and critical thinking in their careers and everyday lives. Science Pioneers conducts four student programs: the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair; Meet the Science Mentor Day; Saturday Science Seminars; and the Expanding Your Horizons conference and program. In addition, Science Pioneers offers these programs for teachers: Strategic STEM Instruction; Teacher Resource Day; and the ScienceWise Kickoff Conference and courses. Each year, more than 15,000 individuals participate in Science Pioneer activities.

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