News Release

For more information contact:
Trisha Thomas
Illustrative Mathematics

Illustrative Mathematics Names Dynamic and Visionary Educational Technology Leader Karl Nelson as CTO/COO

Tucson, AZ – July 24, 2017 – Illustrative Mathematics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving mathematics instruction in U.S. schools through the development, sharing, and effective implementation of standards-based teaching resources, has announced Karl Nelson as its new Chief Technology and Chief Operations Officer. Mr. Nelson has extensive experience in both the development of open educational resources (OER) for K-12 schools and the implementation of educational technology. His skills and background, combined with his passion for K-12 education, will help advance Illustrative Mathematics’ mission to create a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics.

Most recently, Mr. Nelson served as Chief Operating Officer for Open Up Resources, where he led product development activities, developed content quality assurance processes, and directed the implementation of new technologies within the organization. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Nelson was Director of Digital Learning for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington state. In that role, he created Washington’s K-12 OER project and was the state lead for the K-12 OER Collaborative, a multi-state effort to develop OER. He was also lead policy maker for digital education, responsible for the development and implementation of an online provider approval process, rule writing, and providing technical support to districts.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better fit than Karl for this new position with Illustrative Mathematics,” said Lisa O’Masta, Chief Executive Officer. “His experience working within school districts to implement OER will provide us with valuable insight into how we can further tailor our resources and services to meet the needs of educators. That, coupled with his time leading product development and streamlining processes at a nonprofit similar to our own, gives Karl truly unique insights and abilities.”

According to Mr. Nelson, “Illustrative Mathematics is just the type of organization where I feel I can make a real impact on our education system and the lives of students. Since early in my career I have focused on how technology can be used to improve both organizational operations as well as teaching and learning. In this role with Illustrative Mathematics, I will get to leverage my skills in both of these areas.”

One of Mr. Nelson’s first responsibilities with Illustrative Mathematics will be to guide the development and launch of the Guided Customization Tool (GCT) for the Illustrative Mathematics Middle School Curriculum launching later this summer in partnership with Open Up Resources. “Research with both classroom teachers and administrators points to a real need for tools that enable teachers to customize core curriculum materials to meet the unique needs of their students while preserving pedagogical integrity,” shared Ms. O’Masta. GCT will be a cloud-based platform that will ensure the safe customization of the Middle School Curriculum, as well as provide a place for teachers around the world to share and discuss their customizations and work together to support the effective implementation of the curriculum. “GCT will really benefit from Karl’s experience working with educators at the OSPI in Washington state. He knows first-hand the different needs and priorities of teachers and school leaders and how we can marry those into a powerful online resource.”

The Illustrative Mathematics Board of Directors and staff are pleased to welcome Mr. Nelson and look forward to his leadership and his contributions to the organization’s next phase of growth.