Michael D. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Executive Director/CEO Chabot Space & Science Center
Dr. Reynolds has been Executive Director of the Chabot Space & Science Center since 1991. He received and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey, a Masters of Education in Science Education from the University of North Florida, and a Doctorate in Science Education with a minor in Astronomy from the University of Florida.
As director of the Alexander Brest Planetarium at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida, he directed and planned education programs at the Planetarium, in addition to managing the facility, large space theater, and exhibits. An award-winning teacher noted for his innovative classroom work, Dr. Reynolds spent more than 15 years teaching in Florida elementary and high schools. He was also an adjunct professor of astronomy at the University of North Florida and consulted with organizations on museum and teacher training facilities design.
As a finalist in the NASA “Teacher in Space” program, Dr. Reynolds trained for space shuttle flight and spent two years as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, speaking to students, teachers, and the public about space exploration and astronomy in the aftermath of the Challenger accident.
Dr. Reynolds has been actively involved in amateur astronomy organizations since 1970. In 1972 he was appointed Assistant Director of the Astro-Gator Astronomy Club in Jacksonville, Florida. The Astro-Gators were a youth club, heavily involved in observing meteors, variable stars, and occultation’s. Dr. Reynolds also led the efforts for grazing occultation expeditions in North Florida from 1971 to 1977.
Dr. Reynolds and the late Richard Sweetsir co-founded the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society and he has served several terms as President overseeing the Society’s involvement in two observatory projects.
On a national level, Dr. Reynolds served as Chairman of the Southeast Region of the Astronomical League, as well as the League’s National vice-president. Reynolds co-authored the Astronomical League’s book – Observe: Eclipses (1979, 1995) as well as numerous scientific education articles and books and is the co-founder of the Bay Area Science Octagon; A collaborative organization of the Bay Area’s eight science education museums and science centers.
Dr. Reynolds continues his support of amateur astronomy since his 1991 move to California to take the executive director’s position of Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center. He has worked to make certain the Eastbay Astronomical Society is integrally involved with the new Chabot. Dr. Reynolds also supported the inclusion of Chabot’s Telescope Makers Workshop at the new Science Center.
Even though Dr. Reynolds wears the “professional” hat at his Chabot position, he still supports amateur astronomy. He currently serves as Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers acting eclipse coordinator and Antique Telescope Society Vice President.