Message from Director

    From the Director: About the ETSU Hub and Platform School/Innovation Academy

    These are exciting times to be involved in STEM education.  The attention paid to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in recent years has certainly highlighted STEM education as an important driver for     a prepared and competitive workforce and economic development. However, East Tennessee State University is not a newcomer to this arena. For more than two decades, ETSU’s Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science     Education has established itself as a state and national leader in STEM education.  The Center’s numerous STEM initiatives, K-20, have supported education in classrooms throughout Northeast Tennessee and the state.

    These efforts were recently bolstered by a $1.5 million grant to benefit the new STEM initiative in the region. ETSU received $500,000 to develop the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. The remaining $1 million       went to Kingsport City Schools and the Sullivan County Board of Education to establish a STEM Platform School: Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee. 

    In addition to Kingsport and ETSU, Platform Schools and STEM Hubs were established in Chattanooga, Cookeville, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. The winning schools and hubs were chosen through a competitive grant       process. Each was funded through Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant award, administered by the Battelle Memorial Institute, and is part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s statewide STEM Innovation Network, designed to increase student participation and interest in those subjects.

The Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, located in the former Brookside Elementary School in the Bloomingdale Community of Kingsport, opened Aug. 6, 2012 with 160 students, chosen by lottery, in grades 6-7.  After the initial year, plans are to add one grade level each year until a 6-12 grade level configuration is reached to eventually serve approximately 550 students.

Both the ETSU STEM Hub and the Innovation Academy builds on the recognition that cultivating and spreading STEM education, at all levels, rest on many cross-sector partnerships and commitment of multiple players for effective implementation of STEM teaching and learning. The ETSU Hub has worked to develop partnerships with business, industry, and post secondary institutions, such as the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton, Northeast State Community College, as well as other colleges and universities in the region, to identify and deliver the desired workforce STEM training needed for the Northeast Tennessee region.

Eastman Chemical Company, Domtar and Wellmont Health System are the lead business partners for the Innovation Academy.  Other ETSU STEM Hub partners are Nuclear Fuel Services, Mountain States Health Alliance, Aero Jets, AOL Industries, LMR Plastics, Snap-On Tools, Niswonger Foundation, ETSU General Shale and Gray Fossil Site Museum, Pal’s Sudden Service, Bays Mountain Park, and school systems in Carter, Cocke, Johnson, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties, and city school systems in Bristol, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Johnson City, and Kingsport.

The end game for both the Innovation Academy and the ETSU STEM Hub is to bring together the resources and create the environment in which our students are prepare to be future innovators that will move our region and state forward well into the 21st century.  Our region, state, and nation needs, more than ever, creative thinkers who can help develop new ideas and invent solutions to short and long-term future challenges.

We believe the Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee and the ETSU Northeast STEM Innovation Hub are making a difference in this arena.

 Dr. Anant P., DirectorETSU Northeast STEM Innovation HubEast Tennessee State UniversityPO Box 70301Johnson City, TN 37614Phone:




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