Michael Preston, PhD is the Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a pioneering thought leader at the intersection of technology, media, and children’s learning. He leads the Center’s efforts to explore new frontiers and new literacies, support and translate research into action, and guide the field toward better opportunities and outcomes for kids.
Michael Preston brings more than 20 years of experience leading innovation in educational technology at both local and national levels. His work has focused on using technology to improve teaching and learning, drive student agency and interest, and create models for systemic change in both K-12 and university contexts. Most recently, he co-founded CSforALL, the hub for the national Computer Science for All movement. CSforALL began as an initiative of CSNYC, where Preston launched a 10-year partnership with New York City to provide high-quality computer science to every student in the nation’s largest public school system. CSforALL now helps other cities and regions across the country replicate the progress made in New York.
Prior to his work with CSNYC and CSforALL, Preston designed and led digital learning initiatives at the New York City Department of Education, including programs in middle and high school computer science, personalized learning, and digital literacy. At Columbia University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, he led software development projects and research studies on multimedia analysis tools. Preston has taught courses in psychology and research methods at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he earned a PhD in Cognitive Science in Education. He also holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.