Science center founder takes show on the roadBy EMILY ANDERSON John M

John McConnell has helped children from the Grand Valley and across the Western Slope discover the wonders of science.

Now he plans to spread the message to classrooms across the state and farther.

The founder of the Western Colorado Math and Science Center at 2660 Unaweep Ave. passed the reins as executive director to Teresa Coons in January. This month, he became director emeritus of the center and board member emeritus so he could head a new outreach program for the center.

McConnell worked with Topeka, Kan., students this past summer and returned from a classroom in

Trinidad last week. He will help students and teachers in Montrose, Maybell and Hayden in coming months.

“I’m working out of the trunk of my car again,” McConnell said last week, speaking on his cell phone during a trip to Denver.

He said the outreach program “allows me to get out and do some things I haven’t been able to do for awhile,” like help students make science fair projects, offer science material kits to teachers and help students learn science techniques in their own classroom.

“I kind of like going back out to work with teachers and kids,” he said.

McConnell said he appointed Coons because it was “time someone else have that” position.

The center’s board of directors also is changing, with the addition of two members this month: John Hopkins, the recently retired chief executive officer and president of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; and Karen Madsen of Merrill Lynch.

“Part of the reason for hiring me was to shift the board to a true policy board, with me responsible for day-to-day actions,” Coons said. “We needed to expand the expertise of the board and bring in additional members.”


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