“Larry R. Plank, Hillsborough County Public Schools Larry R. Plank, Ed.S., is the Director of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools, in Tampa, FL, the 8th largest school district in the United States. Mr. Plank began his post-secondary education at Michigan State University, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Florida State University in 1997, and Master’s (Biological Sciences) and Specialist’s degrees (Educational Leadership) from the University of South Florida in 2000 and 2006, respectively.
Early in 2016, Mr. Plank championed the Tampa Bay STEM Network, a collaborative of educational and STEM-centric partners focused upon strengthening STEM educational experiences for children and youg adults in Tampa Bay. He currently chairs the Professional Development Committee of the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), co-chairs the Tampa Bay Technology Forum TechStart Board of Directors, and is a member of both the Florida Aquarium Board of Directors and the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) Board of Directors in Tampa, FL. Mr. Plank also sits on the Executive Committee of the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education (CACCE) partnership, a cooperative endeavor with the University of South Florida, the University of Puerto Rico and the Florida Aquarium.
Mr. Plank’s most recent work with the Florida Department of Education is focused upon the adoption of new state standards for K-12 science and developing the next generation of science assessments. In addition, Mr. Plank currently directs 11 STEM-related educational projects in Tampa Bay area, with current and past funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA, NOAA, the Florida Department of Education and the Helios Education Foundation, totaling over $17 million. The most recent Math/Science Partnership award of $4.3 million will focus upon integrative lesson development and associated professional development for K-12 STEM teachers.
Mr. Plank was nationally recognized in 2014 as one the Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education. Most recently in 2015, the USF College of Education recognized Mr. Plank as the college’s Partner of the Year, and he received a similar award from the Hillsborough Education Foundation in 2013 for working with partners in the Tampa Bay community. In 2008 he was honored by the Council for Educational Change as a Mentor of Distinction for working with new mathematics and science teachers in Florida. In 2007 as a high school biology teacher, he was selected as the Teacher of Excellence in Science by Hillsborough County Public Schools. He was elected by his peers as Robinson High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2005 and as the Sigma Xi Science Teacher of the Year for Hillsborough County in 2004.
Mr. Plank has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at a multitude of professional conferences sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), National Science Educational Leadership Association (NSELA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), Southern Regional Council on Educational Administration (SRCEA), Florida Association for Staff Development (FASD), Florida Association of Science Supervisors (FASS), Florida Association of Science Teachers (FAST), and Florida Leadership Academy (FLA).
Larry grew up in Saginaw, MI, and prior to his career as an educator, he worked as a marine biologist for the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.