Space Foundation Press Releases

Space Foundation Partners With Colorado Springs School District 11 to Expand Leadership Academy to Additional Middle and High Schools

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

International Teacher Liaison Program

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sept. 19, 2023 — Space Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem, today announced that it is partnering with Colorado Springs School District 11 to expand Space Foundation Leadership Academy to additional middle and high schools. The goal of the partnership is to empower and equip the next generation of space explorers with the skills necessary to meet the demands of a dynamic and inclusive workforce.

Space Foundation Leadership Academy engages students in grades 5-12. The program provides students with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to expand their science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) knowledge for a potential career in the space ecosystem. Through programming, students will develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills that will be essential for success in the space industry and beyond.

“We are very excited to continue the partnership with Colorado Springs School District 11 and expand Space Foundation Leadership Academy to bring more students high-quality STEAM and entrepreneurial education opportunities,” said Bobby Gagnon, Space Foundation director of education. “By fostering innovation and igniting the passion for space exploration in young minds, we aim to empower the next generation of leaders who will boldly reach for the stars and shape the future of our universe.”

With the support of a Department of Defense (DoD) grant, Space Foundation has collaborated with D11 for the past three years to implement the Leadership Academy within the district. Today, the district is taking a significant step forward by committing its own resources to further extend the reach of the Leadership Academy.

Odyssey High School has participated in the Junior Space Entrepreneur Program (JSEP) through the DoD grant and will continue to utilize the funds with one cohort in Spring 2024. D11 will fund a yearlong JSEP cohort for Coronado High School and one Cadet Space Explorer Program (CSEP) cohort for Swigert Middle School in Spring 2024.

“This partnership with Space Foundation and implementation of the Leadership Academy will allow D11 middle and high school students to expand their educational experience beyond the classroom walls. We are thrilled our students will get the opportunity to explore STEAM concepts on a leadership level and look forward to the success these students will inevitably experience in this program,” said Duane Roberson, director of career and technical education, Colorado Springs School District 11.

D11 is deeply committed to the growth and enrichment of STEAM education. Through Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming, students at all levels — elementary, middle and high school — have the opportunity to engage in a rich array of educational pathways including robotics, engineering, computer science, coding and cybersecurity. Students participating in the Leadership Academy through CTE will also be able to earn college credit through Pikes Peak State College.

“Pikes Peak State College is grateful for our partnership with Space Foundation, collaborating on curriculum to ensure we meet space-related workforce needs and creating experiential opportunities for students to explore STEM. As a result, Junior Space Entrepreneur Program students can earn college credit that directly applies to Pikes Peak State’s engineering technician and engineering degrees,” said Chelsy Harris, associate vice president of strategic partnerships, Pikes Peak State College.

School districts interested in participating in Space Foundation Leadership Academy may visit

Colorado Springs School District 11

 Colorado Springs School District 11 is in the heart of the city, serving over 22,000 students in the Pikes Peak Region. As the longest-standing school district, D11 proudly offers many choices, from STEM and outdoor education schools to visual and performing arts schools and the area’s only free, public Montessori elementary school. In D11, we dare to empower the whole student to profoundly impact our world.

 About Junior Space Entrepreneur Program (JSEP)

Junior Space Entrepreneur Program (JSEP), launched in 2020 as an initiative of Space Foundation’s Center for Innovation and Education, guides students through a Mars mission encompassing all the challenges that come with sending astronauts to our neighboring planet and returning them safely to Earth. Participants will use newly gained knowledge of Mars and space commerce skills to develop their own industry business. Funding has been provided by Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, Northrop Grumman, and a National Defense Education Program grant from the Department of Defense. To learn more about JSEP, visit

About Center for Innovation and Education

Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning provider for the global space ecosystem, offering workforce development and economic opportunity via Space Commerce Institute and Space Foundation Discovery CenterServing pre-K-12 and university students, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesses and professionals, programs and resources are delivered in person or online around the globe. Through its Workforce Development Roadmap of programs and resources, Center for Innovation and Education enhances the outlook and opportunities for careers, jobs and business ventures. To learn more about Center for Innovation and Education, visit, and Space Foundation Discovery Center, visit 

About Space Foundation 

Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem. Driven by partnerships, Space Foundation unites the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate members, sponsors, fundraising and grants. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on FacebookXInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.


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Tags: Space Foundation, Space Foundation Leadership Academy, Junior Space Entrepreneur Program; JSEP, Cadet Space Explorer Program, CSEP, Pioneer Space and Earth Program, PSEP, Colorado Springs School District 11, D11, Center for Innovation and Education, Department of Defense, STEM, STEAM education, space economy, space technology, space innovation, space ecosystem, space advocate

Media Contacts:

Devra K. Ashby, M.A., APR
Chief Communications Officer
Colorado Springs School District 11
(719) 520-2286
[email protected]

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714
[email protected]

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260
[email protected]