Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Hires Dr. Diana Sharp As Principal and Chief Academic Officer

IMSA is pleased to announce the employment of Dr. Diana Sharp as principal and chief academic officer.  Sharp, assistant provost at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, IL., will assume her duties on July 1.

“Dr. Sharp brings a breadth and depth of experience to IMSA,” said IMSA President Dr. Glenn W. “Max” McGee.  “Her substantive knowledge of teaching and learning, broad and deep experiences  in academic leadership roles, record of success in multiple settings, and outstanding professional and personal references, coupled with widespread positive responses to her candidacy by members of the IMSA community, enabled her to ‘rise to the top’ of our strong applicant pool,” he said.

McGee also cited Sharp’s initiation of innovative and successful programs with high schools while at Harper College, problem-solving skills and resourcefulness as strengths.

Sharp said she is anxious to continue advancing IMSA’s “amazing work” and looks forward to leading IMSA’s expert faculty and continuing to grow and learn from them and IMSA students.

Dr. Diana Sharp

“IMSA’s national reputation for preparing highly qualified students for advanced study in STEM fields is unparalleled in the State of Illinois, and I am so honored to be chosen to continue this important work for our state and our nation,” Sharp said.  “I believe my previous background leading diverse academic and student services faculty and staff in residential campus environments, curriculum development and implementation, assessment of student learning and other areas will serve me well in my new role with IMSA.”

Previously Sharp served in other leadership roles at Harper College, including as Interim Dean for the Mathematics and Sciences, Liberal Arts, Business and Social Sciences, and Resources for Learning Divisions.  Prior to Harper, she served in leadership roles at the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Garrett, in Evanston, IL, and Carthage College, in Kenosha, WI.

Sharp received her B.S. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, M.S. in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Ph.D. in Urban Education from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

A resident of Batavia, IL, Sharp will succeed Dr. Eric G. McLaren of Aurora, IL, principal since 1999 and vice president for academic programs since 2004. McLaren, a charter staff member, has served IMSA for nearly 26 years in multiple roles, beginning as a resident counselor in 1986. Now, as he lives with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, he will continue to advise the IMSA administration and assist with leadership transition, McGee said.

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (

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