Milton Chen

Senior Fellow, The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Milton Chen
  • Four decades of experience working with preK-12 education, media, and technology
  • Served as executive director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation for 12 years
  • Chairs the advisory council for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media
  • Uses extensive knowledge and experience to teach others about educational media

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Dr. Milton Chen is senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a non-profit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area that utilizes its multimedia website Edutopia.org and documentary films to communicate a new vision for 21st Century schools. He served as executive director of GLEF for 12 years. During his tenure, GLEF and its media brand, Edutopia, greatly expanded their editorial publishing efforts, including the award-winning Edutopia magazine. Edutopia.org is known as a destination Web site for educators and others interested in educational innovation and has won numerous honors, including the 2009 Webby People’s Voice Award for best education website.

Dr. Chen’s career has spanned four decades at the intersection of preK-12 education, media, and technology. Prior to joining GLEF in 1998, he served for 10 years as the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he was director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, helping develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. Dr. Chen has been an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and, during 2007-08, was one of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars conducting research on access and diversity issues in higher education and K-12.

Dr. Chen chairs the advisory council for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania and has been appointed to the National Park System Advisory Board. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Panasonic Foundation in New Jersey, ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, and the San Francisco School Alliance.

His work has been honored by the Elmo Award from Sesame Workshop, the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Congressional Black Caucus, and by two science centers in the Bay Area, The Exploratorium and the Lawrence Hall of Science. His new book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, based on his work at Edutopia, was published by Jossey-Bass in July.

Dr. Chen lives in San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Ruth Cox, faculty liaison for academic technology at San Francisco State University. Their daughter, Maggie, is embarking on a career in public health.

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