Joe Nathan, a longtime educator and public school advocate, will soon step down from his role as director of the Center for School Change (CSC), a St. Paul-based advocacy and research organization.

After having a heart attack in July, Nathan said he will resign this fall on the advice of doctors and his family.

Though the CSC is beginning the search for a new director, Nathan won’t disappear completely from the education scene, he said.

“I will continue to work on education issues but cut back some,” he said.

Nathan has directed CSC since 1989. In that time, he has helped Minnesota lawmakers develop the nation’s first charter school law, passed in 1991. He also advocated for the creation of several state programs allowing  students to take classes for both high school and college credit, like Post Secondary Education Options (PSEO).

More recently, he's worked to increase the number of low-income students participating in initiatives that let them earn college credit in high school, like PSEO and College in the Schools, he said.

Nathan has worked with teachers and families in 25 states and coordinated two projects with the National Governors Association. He is the author of several books on education and writes weekly columns appearing in newspapers across the state.