Tom Turner named Chief Education Officer of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation

students Sep 10, 2019
Tom Turner, Chief Education Officer

Turner leads team of educators in developing curriculum and learning elements for youth involved in the most popular scholastic esports league

(Orange County, CA – September 10, 2019) – The North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) has named Tom Turner as Chief Education Officer. NASEF leverages teens’ overwhelming interest in competitive video gaming – esports – as a platform for quality learning by participants.

While gaming and learning appear to be opposites for many, Turner and his team are developing curriculum and club components that draw on students’ love of games to teach principles in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), as well as foster positive social emotional development. NASEF’s four-year high school English Language Arts curriculum is the only state-approved curriculum to meet A-G graduation requirements. And the State of California has also approved several series of classes as Career Technical Education pathways that prepare students for a variety of high-demand jobs.

Turner currently serves as the Executive Director of Educational Services with the Orange County Department of Education. In this role, he regularly interacts with classroom teachers, site administrators, and district leadership in implementing professional learning and program development throughout the county.

As an educator for the last 20 years, Turner has worked as a classroom teacher, Elementary School Principal, and, now, Executive Director. He eagerly wants to do his part to create a world filled with innovative and relevant instructional practices that allow learners to succeed in a progressive society. He believes that access to an ambitious and equitable education for all students is a worthy way to get this done.

“Integrating a high-interest activity like esports into teaching and learning goals provides so many educational benefits to students — academic engagement, student agency, real world connections, and career awareness. If educators are looking for an innovative program, how could they NOT consider esports?” said Turner.

NASEF was originally founded as a high school esports program, but broad interest from students of all ages has led to expansion into younger grades as well as community organizations like the YMCA and local libraries. NASEF’s strong emphasis on education is closely intertwined with professional-quality tournaments and events that draw student interest. Among other NASEF leaders, Turner works side-by-side with Mark Deppe, Director of Esports at UC Irvine – a school which has earned the esports League of Legends national championship title and is recognized as a pioneer in collegiate esports.

Turner is the not only Chief Education Officer for NASEF, he is also a Board Member for the Discovery Cube OC, and supports grants from the National Science Foundation.

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation 

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Under the Samueli Foundation’s leadership, the Federation is led by partners from the Orange County Department of Education, OC STEM Initiative, Connected Camps, Connected Learning Lab, UCI Esports, UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the UCI Bren School of Information & Computer Science. 

Learn more at the NASEF website. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFgg for esports updates and @NASEFedu for our education news, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel. 

Media Contact:

Claire LaBeaux

[email protected]


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