WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.–As Winston-Salem begins 2013 as the City of Innovation and Arts, the city’s science center embarks on a new chapter in its rich history. Paul Kortenaar, formerly the Director of Education and Weston Family Chair of Innovative Education for the Ontario Science Centre in Canada, officially began his new role as Executive Director on January 3 and will guide SciWorks into a new phase of growth and development. “After an extensive search for a new Executive Director, we are thrilled to announce Paul Kortenaar’s acceptance of the position and arrival at SciWorks,” says Michael A. Myers, Chair of the SciWorks Board of Directors. “With his experience and vision for moving science education toward inquiry models of learning, SciWorks will transform into the place where innovation truly begins for the children of Winston-Salem and North Carolina.”
In his role at the Ontario Science Centre, Kortenaar was also principal of the Ontario Science Centre Science School and worked closely with educators to review methods of pedagogy in a changing society. “I am excited to come to SciWorks, because this is an opportunity to build upon and grow our relationships with the school systems, businesses and the communities in Winston-Salem and throughout the state of North Carolina,” he says. “As a hands-on learning environment, we are in a unique position to be able to provide kids with the opportunity to develop the skills of innovation.”
Kortenaar envisions SciWorks as a place where children can explore qualities that are not always found in a formal classroom setting. “We have to give children the opportunity to take risks,” he says. “We can help kids to be collaborative, we can help kids to be creative, and we can create opportunities for kids to work on something over a long period of time. Risk-taking, collaboration, creativity and perseverance are the four skills that today’s children will require to be part of an innovative society.”
Prior to his position at the Ontario Science Centre, Kortenaar was Director of Education at the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, as well as being a teacher and Course Director at York University in Toronto. He holds a Master of Education from York University and is currently working on his Doctor of Education, with a thesis focused on how to help students practice their skills of innovation within the context of the existing curriculum.
“As a society, we have to create employees who are ready to be part of a different kind of future,” Kortenaar says. “We need to create leaders and employees who are ready for change. Science centers are in a unique position to prepare kids for those kinds of changes, and that that also means changing SciWorks.
“By helping SciWorks realize its full potential in an ever-changing world,” he continues, “we can help the children of Winston-Salem and North Carolina realize theirs.”
Originally established as the Nature Science Center by the Junior League of Winston-Salem in 1965, SciWorks is a non-profit Science Center and Environmental Park of Forsyth County that includes 25,000 square feet of exhibits, a planetarium and a 5-acre environmental park. Located just off University Parkway at 400 W. Hanes Mill Road in Winston-Salem, SciWorks is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.sciworks.org.