John Nelsen has served as the Executive Director of KNOVA Learning Oregon since October of 2016. Immediately prior to his appointment to this position, John served as a consultant to the school and the Managing Director of the company that secured the campus on which the school currently in located.
John was born and raised in southeast Portland, Oregon. Earning degrees from Mount Hood Community College, and Portland State University, his formal education was local as well. Married since 1983, Mr. Nelsen and his wife Vicky raised their four children in the Rockwood community of east Multnomah County Oregon. While his hobbies include playing guitar (45 years) and “learning about everything”, John’s passion is for serving his community and working to make Rockwood a better place to live, go to school, work and raise families.
This “service” orientation started at an early age. John worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant serving the elderly and disabled while pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. These years were lean finically but established a "service" theme that has continued throughout John’s personal (and professional) life.
Mr. Nelsen’s interest in “leadership” was forged in 1990’s when he administrated the Oregon State Facilitator’s office for the US Department of Education's National Diffusion Network (1988- 1995). During this time John wrote and administered grant projects, travelled the nation, established non-profit organizations, lobbied state and national policy-makers, built lasting partnerships and spoke to groups of all sizes (and demographics). In 1992 John selected to represent Oregon as a Fellow at the Institute for Educational Policy Leadership in Washington D.C. “This is were I got my education on education” Nelsen often remarks.
In 2000, 2004 and again in 2008 Mr. Nelsen was elected to serve on the Reynolds School District Board of Education. While on the Board John spent several years in leadership positions. John also co-founded (and served several years as Chairman of) the Arthur Academies with former Wilkes Elementary teacher Charles Arthur. Other board positions have included the Moore Street Salvation Army, and the Reynolds Education Foundation.