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BootUp PD Launches Search for New Executive Director

BootUp - Now, Coding is Elementary

BootUp - Now, Coding is Elementary

Change in leadership follows the tenure of Clark Merkley, who helped establish BootUp as its first Executive Director

PARK CITY, UTAH, UNITED STATES, November 1, 2022 / -- A search is now underway for the Executive Director position at BootUp PD as Clark Merkley prepares to step down after his five-year tenure as the nonprofit's first Executive Director.

"It has been an honor and a true joy to work with the BootUp team to bring elementary computer science to so many school districts, teachers, and especially to elementary students throughout the country. As a result of this excellent work, BootUp is making a transformational difference in the lives of tens of thousands of students by empowering their teachers to teach K-5 computer science. I look forward to watching BootUp continue to have a tremendously positive influence on young learners in the years to come," said Clark Merkley, current Executive Director of BootUp PD.

Merkley was selected as Executive Director at BootUp PD in 2017 and informed the Board of Directors of his desire to step down earlier this year and formally accepted his retirement on October 22, 2022. The Board of Directors has started a nationwide search for a new, permanent Executive Director and will be looking to gather feedback from staff, partners, and school districts as to the profile of the new leader.

The Board of Directors has selected Board Member Lien Diaz for the role of Interim Executive Director effective December 1, while the search continues for a new full-time Executive Director.

BootUp PD has commenced the search for an executive recruiting firm to help with the process. Additionally, anyone interested in applying for the position can get more information at on how to submit your name and email for consideration once the executive recruiting firm has been hired.

“I appreciate the commitment Clark has made to build BootUp from a simple idea to provide equitable access to coding for all elementary school students to the successful organization it is today. We are currently in the process of a nationwide search for a new Executive Director that will lead BootUP into its next chapter,” said Ari Ioannides, Board member, and founder.

"We are embarking on a new chapter for BootUp PD as we continue to grow into a world-class CS Education organization," said Todd Ullah Ed.D, Board Chair.

“As a Board member, I am pleased to be assisting with this transition as Interim Executive Director. Transparency is key in moving the organization forward into the next phase of BootUp PD’s legacy, and the Board has worked closely with Clark to develop a comprehensive plan ensuring the seamless continuation of existing operations during the transition,” said Lien Diaz, Bootup Board Member and incoming Interrum Executive Director.

About BootUp Professional Development

We prepare and empower teachers and implement elementary coding and computer science programs nationwide in order to reach ALL students, creating equitable access to 21st-century skills.

BootUp PD is a national nonprofit specializing in district-wide elementary computer science initiatives focusing on creativity and problem-solving. Since 2015, BootUp has worked with more than 700 elementary schools in twenty-one states, impacting over 260,000 students. BootUp prepares teachers to facilitate open-ended coding projects that are project-based and personally meaningful. Students are empowered with creative and interactive curricula that allow them to explore their personal interests through coding with design, music, animation, games, or stories.

BootUp believes in creating a world where true and measurable equity is paramount. We strive to empower those who can most positively, and brilliantly, affect change for centuries to come – our historically underserved and underrepresented students.

About Lien Diaz

Lien Diaz is the Director of Educational Innovation and Leadership of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech. Her role includes building teaching and leadership capacity to expand access to computing education across the state of Georgia and around the nation. Prior to her appointment at the Constellations Center, she spent 11 years at College Board and was a co-PI for Using Computational Thinking to Model a New Course and the Collaborative Research – Broadening Participation in CS: AP CS Principles Phase II projects, both funded by the National Science Foundation. She is one of the primary architects of the AP Computer Science Principles course and a leading national expert in educational diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Karen Melara
BootUp PD
+1 772-607-2038
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