About Isa Zimmerman

Isa Kaftal Zimmerman has been a Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Schools, a High School Principal and Assistant Principal, a junior high school teacher of English and Social Studies and Division Director of the Technology in Education Program and Associate Professor at Lesley University.

As principal and superintendent she was a pioneer in bringing technology to schools for instruction and productivity in MA and started the MASS (Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents) Technology Task Force. She was also chair of the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Educational Technology Advisory Council (ETAC) for two three year terms, the first six years of the task force’s existence.

She was Senior Fellow at the UMass Donahue Institute and the UMass President’s Office. In that capacity she oversaw the mounting of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) annual Summit from 2006 to 2008 (although she participated in the first five and attended all since), created and oversaw two STEM websites: one for UMass and one for the Commonwealth, led the development of a state STEM plan outline and networked stakeholders. She also oversaw the CITI (Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative) K-12 program.

In her current work, as the principal of IKZ Advisors, LLC, she continues to be a resource for people in MA, and around the world, who are interested in STEM education. She was lead consultant to Wheelock College’s Aspire Institute in proposing a new way to prepare Pre-School to grade 3 educators to teach STEM which led to action by the Department of Early Education and Care. She served on Governor Patrick’s Readiness Project, the Secretary’s and Commissioner of Education’s 21st Century Task Force. She served on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and its Operations Board. She co-led the development of v 2.0 of the MA STEM plan which was unveiled at the STEM Summit on November 13, 2013  at Gillette Stadium and was authorized to lead a new committee on Global STEM education until the change in administration made changes to the Council, including not reseating her in 2016 but allowing her to serve on several committees.

She served two terms on Governor Patrick’s STEM Advisory Council and as a non-Iowan on Governor Terry Branstad’s STEM Advisory Council for two terms and initiated the Iowa Global STEM Education Committee.

She serves on the Board of CELTScience from Scientists, Nobel Laureates Program and JFY Networks, and served on the Executive Board of the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation on STEM Education at UMass Dartmouth.

She is the co-editor and contributor to two books published by the Massachusetts affiliate of ASCD (Beyond Technology: Learning With The Wired Curriculum and Teaching: A Career, A Profession) and has a chapter in a Jossey-Bass book (Technology In Its Place, Successful Technology Infusion in Schools) as well as many other publications.  Her most recent work is The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Designing and Teaching Online Courses, available from Teachers College Press, Columbia University and Amazon, and written with her colleague from Lesley University, Joan Thormann.

She produced a local educational cable television show for many years and writes articles and speaks about leadership, technology and STEM—digitally and in print. She was on a joint committee of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Working Group for Educator Excellence (WGEE) to identify the knowledge and skills base of professional teaching and served on the Leadership Team of WGEE where she co-chaired iDEA, the committee which oversaw information, dissemination, education and advocacy.

A member/leader of several volunteer organizations in the Commonwealth, such as BEST (Business and Education for Schools and Technology) which pioneered advocacy in the Legislature for technology in schools,  and mounted the first email advocacy campaign in MA but it now no longer in operation, the Massachusetts Affiliate of ASCD, (of which she was president twice) and served for two year as the Executive Director, pro bono. She was on the Board of Young Audiences of MA for 12 years and was President for one term and is now a Trustee Emerita. She was also president of the Board of Directors of Symphony by the Sea for three years.

She helps to plan, and participates in, many conferences and institutes for K-12 and higher education leaders so they can understand, use and influence the integration of technology in schools, the urgency of articulated and unduplicated STEM education P-16 and of the value of the arts in education (STEM and STEAM). She led the planning group for the Northeast Affiliates of ASCD (NEASCD) Conference in Boston, November 29 to December 1, 2012 entitled “Leading and Learning: Transformation Matters.” This was the 16th and last conference of this group.

She is currently involved in the development of  The Global STEM Education Center, Inc. as Chair of the Board of Directors. She is still interested in her proposal to create Search4STEM.  To see the proposed splash page, please paste the following url into your browser: file:///Users/isazimmerman/Desktop/%20Welcome%20to%20Search4Stem%20.webarchive

She is counseling the MassCUE Board about influence and advocacy as well as organizational development as a special advisor to the Board.

Her husband of 54 years, Physics Professor and Department Head (twice) at Boston University, author and inventor died on May 6, 2019.

Isa can be reached at ikz1@verizon.net.