The Elementary Institute of Science today announced it has appointed James Stone as its new executive director to help guide the organization’s efforts to inspire the next generation of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The appointment of Stone, who has a long history of working with diverse communities to create innovative and inclusive science programs, will be critical to the Elementary Institute of Science’s expansion of its hands-on STEM educational offerings to more students in southeast San Diego, where it is located, and other underserved communities. Stone, who most recently served as executive director of Circulate San Diego, has a reputation for community engagement and delivering proactive policy outcomes.
“The Elementary Institute of Science is clearly poised to take a significant step forward and literally change the lives of its most important stakeholders, the children it serves,” Stone said. “I am excited to help lead this effort and ensure EIS continues its important work.”
Patsy Tomlin, who chairs the EIS board of directors, said Stone’s expertise in both science programming and policy made him the right fit for the role.
“EIS is unique and the board realized that the organization needed an executive director who possessed the right skills and temperament to deliver on that unique mission,” Tomlin said. “EIS is about education but we are not a school nor are we a museum. We conduct experiments but we are not a science lab. Students build and create but we are not a workshop. EIS incorporates all of the above and we therefore sought a leader with a diversity of experience. Jim has a proven track record in community outreach, advocacy and creating equal access to opportunity as well as a deep understanding of what ignites a passion for STEM in children and young adults.”
For two decades Stone developed and implemented innovative science education programming at two nationally famous institutions: Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium and San Diego’s Natural History Museum. As vice president of programs at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Stone was responsible for developing education programs and exhibitions that focused on the plants, animals, and habitats of Southern California and the Baja peninsula.
Stone further honed his planning, community engagement and social justice advocacy skills as head of Circulate San Diego, where he created respected education programs and led crucial changes in public policy to ensure equitable transportation access and economic growth benefits for all San Diegans.
EIS, which was founded more than 50 years ago, is known for providing authentic STEM experiences and hands-on activities. For students, EIS means mentors, scientist-teachers, and visits to STEM institutions and museums, interaction in the natural environment.
Former board member Mary Taylor served as interim Executive Director prior to Stone’s appointment. Taylor skillfully guided EIS through a transition period and will rejoin the EIS Board, taking up leadership of its program committee. This committee is responsible for guiding program priorities and ensuring that as EIS continues to grow and improve, our core mission in the community is fulfilled.
Stone earned a bachelor’s in science in biology from Southern Connecticut State University and a master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. He is a Mentor/Adviser for America Walk’s Walking College and a former Board Member of California Walks. Jim also serves on the Board of Rokenbok Education, a nonprofit that trains teachers and students in STEAM. He lives in La Mesa, where he is the chairperson of the Environmental Sustainability Commission.