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Discovery Place Selects Tifferney White as Chief Learning Officer
CEO & President of Las Vegas children’s museum returns to Charlotte roots to fill new role of Chief Learning Officer
What happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. Following a nation-wide search, Discovery Place has named Tifferney White, former President & CEO of the Las Vegas Discovery Children’s Museum, to the new role of Chief Learning Officer.
In this new position, White will set the educational direction of Discovery Place, including the organization’s four Museums, community outreach program and teacher professional development center. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), White will be responsible for the educational curriculum that underlies all of the Museums’ exhibitions and experiences; the development of partnerships with school systems and institutions of higher education; the cultivation of community relationships that will inform programs; and the development of Discovery Place’s specially-trained educational staff.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tifferney back to Discovery Place and to Charlotte,” said President & CEO of Discovery Place Catherine Wilson Horne, “Her experience in museum leadership, passion for education and commitment to community impact is exactly what we need as we embrace our community’s biggest challenges and work to envision the future of Discovery Place.”
White is a familiar face in Charlotte. After graduating from Johnson C. Smith with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Psychology, she started her Museum career at Discovery Place, where she served as the Museum’s first Science Club specialist in 1994, and later became the Museum’s Director of Community Outreach from 1997 – 2007.
While her initial post-college plan was to become a doctor, White applied to Discovery Place as a way to practice her interviewing skills. She received the job offer and was soon out in the community helping youth who didn’t have the opportunity to visit a science museum become more connected to STEM. It didn’t take long for White to realize that the community work of Discovery Place was more meaningful than she expected.
“I knew this was what I needed to be doing. When I went out to a program I thought, ‘what if this child is supposed to touch this snake to become a veterinarian? What if I am meant to give these students their first curious moment that sparks their entire future?’ I told myself that this work was all much bigger than me."
After 13 years with Discovery Place, White left in 2007 for the opportunity to serve as the Director of Programs and Education at the Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas. There, she would later go on to serve as Deputy Director and then CEO.
During her time at the Discovery Children’s Museum, White helped rebuild the museum to better serve the Las Vegas community as a trusted resource. In 2010, the organization launched a $50 million campaign to construct a new 58,000 sq. ft. facility, which opened in March 2013. Due to her leadership on the project and in the organization, White was named interim CEO of the new facility in July 2014 and then, following a national search, became President & CEO in early 2015.
Because of her experience and leadership in reimagining a new community children’s museum, White was identified as a top candidate for Discovery Place’s new Chief Learning Officer position. In late 2017, she accepted the post and transitioned back to Charlotte full time in January 2018 after completing her Executive MBA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in December.
The Chief Learning Officer role at Discovery Place will allow White to continue the important work of building civic and educational partnerships throughout the Carolinas, and contribute to making a big impact on the Charlotte community.
“Since coming back to Discovery Place, I can see that this organization has made major strides in our community. Everyone has a story of how Discovery Place changed their life,” said White. “I want to continue growing those stories by looking at all of the talent and resources in our organization and leveraging them to make a bigger, deeper impact on our community. I’m looking forward to helping build the next piece of Charlotte’s story.”
About Discovery Place
One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in the active exploration of science, technology and nature. Discovery Place is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides STEM education to the Carolinas through four distinct museum experiences at Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids, interactive educational programming, professional development training and community outreach initiatives. In 2017, Discovery Place was named as a finalist for the National Medal by the Institute for Museum and Library Science.
Discovery Place is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council.
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