Supporting Excellent Science Teaching for Georgia

2018 Board Elections

Dr. Marion Reeves, nominations chair for the 2018 election process, is pleased to present the following slate of candidates for this year's election.  A big thank you to Dr. Reeves for all her hard work.  Thanks also goes to all the candidates who are willing to serve our organization and profession.

The following positions are open for 2018 voting.

  • President Elect
  • Secretary
  • Elementary Representative
  • High School Representative
  • District 2 - Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Clarke, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Greene, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walton, White
  • District 4 - Fulton, Atlanta Public Schools
  • District 6 - Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Clinch, Charleston, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner, Ware
  • District 8 - Appling, Bulloch, Bryan, Camden, Candler, Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Screven, Tatnall, Toombs, Wayne
  • District 10 - Clayton, DeKalb, Rockdale
  • District 12 - Gwinnett, Forsyth
All GSTA members should vote for President Elect, Secretary, Elementary Representative, and High School Representative.  Only votes coming from members in the respective districts will be counted for the District Director positions.  Please remember that this election represents the transition to GSTA's new district boundaries, which are shown in the map above.  Please identify your new district by finding the county in which you work on the list above.

CAST YOUR BALLOT HERE!

(Election runs February 6th - March 4th)

Please review the candidates' information below before casting your ballot.

Candidates for Board of Directors

The candidates for office have expressed their commitment to and concerns regarding science education in Georgia.  These are their statements for your consideration as you choose the next members of the GSTA board.

President Elect

Teresa Massey

Professional experience: 

26 years teaching high school, department chair.  DeKalb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I have served on the GSTA board previously as District 12 Director and currently as District 10 Director. I am a science department chair and teacher leader. Additionally I am a TAPP Instructor and a K-5 Science Endorsement Instructor. 

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1.  There is a need for science teachers to embrace 21st Century teaching and learning. Most teachers know their content but are lacking in making lessons engaging and relevant.  

2. Through my personal observations and conversations, many Georgia science teachers are not aware of the GSTA organization.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. I would like to see GSTA initiated, Georgia DOE supported summer professional development across the state.

2., GSTA should continue to provide resources through the website, additionally provide a link for districts to request GSTA sponsored training and support.

Judy Ward

Professional experience: 

25 years teaching high school, National Board Certification, STEM coordinator, department chair. Richmond County Schools

Preparation for office:  

Secondary Science teaching face-to-face & virtual classrooms, science department chair, STEM coordinator, student-teacher mentor, teaching support specialist, secondary science professional learning facilitator, GADOE Science Ambassador, SMART Mentor

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. High school science teachers struggle with creating rigorous and engaging lessons that meet the demands of the new GSE.  The struggle comes from lack of understanding, lack of experience, and lack of time to design read-to-go lessons that have a positive impact on student achievement in science.

2. Funding to meet the needs of these lessons is also an issue since budgets have been cut across the state.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. GSTA should continue the DOE Ambassador program by offering opportunities for districts in Georgia to attend professional learning and collaborative group sessions that give teachers opportunities to be a part of a great community of science teachers while increasing their confidence to develop great learning activities for their students. 

2. GSTA could also support the GSE implementation by contacting the experts in the state and having them create informercial type lessons with ready-made documents that teachers can easily implement in their classrooms with easily attainable and affordable classroom materials.


Secretary

Tiffany Jones

Professional experience: 

24 years elementary school, STEM specialist.  Gwinnett County Schools

Preparation for office: 

Georgia DOE Science Ambassador, MSP Science Endorsement, State Conference Presenter, regional and local conference presenter, Professional Development Leader with my county and school.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Testing impact on science instructional time for my region

2. Implementation of the new science and engineering practices

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Support for science instruction.
2. Advocate for dedicated time for science instruction.

Tracy Matthews

Professional experience: 

10 years middle school science teacher, 2.5 years content chair, 2 years K-12 Science Professional Learning Specialist. Cobb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

My experience as a district-office leader gives me insight into implementing instructional priorities, exercising organization in the planning of events, and dealing with political topics.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Advocating for science education in Georgia, specifically petitioning the legislature for appropriate testing of science by grade/course in order to ensure that science is taught in schools

2. Promoting the teaching of 3-D science instruction by developing as many resources and supports for teachers and leaders as possible.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Continuing to add to the phenomena database and strengthening it by adding more detailed lesson ideas so that teachers have a greater understanding of how to implement the phenomena into their instruction

2. Creation of high-quality assessments aligned to the GSE will allow teachers to practice backward lesson design and continue to build their understanding of the performance expectations of students.

Elementary Representative

Wanda Fair

Professional experience: 

10 years elementary teacher.  Clayton County Schools

Preparation for office:  

I've been a Science Lead at my school for 2 years. In addition, I write 2nd Grade Science Curriculum for the District of Clayton County Public Schools. In addition, I teach a Science Cadre at my district to assist teachers with the new GSE Sci.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Increasing the number of hours daily to teach science

2. Shifting teachers away they taught science in the past into encouraging students to investigate and communicate their learning experiences to provide higher level order thinking skills

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. GSTA can support the implementation of GSE in Georgia by extending professional learning opportunities for educators by means of
online classes, field trips for educators, and hiring science experts to assist educators to teach innovative ways with more research-based practices.

2. The GSTA supports science educators by hosting the conference each year to assist them in the implementation of GSE in Georgia.

Tamieka Grizzle

Professional experience: 

12 years elementary teacher.  Cobb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I hold a STEM endorsement, a doctorate degree in teacher leadership, a member of the 2016-2017 Cobb Teacher Leadership Academy-STEM division, top winner of the Cobb STEM Distinguished Educator Award, a member of the CCSD Touchstone Science team.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Science instruction at the elementary level, if occurring at all, is low quality and too infrequent to be effective

2. Elementary teachers are the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, therefore, when it comes to teaching science, teachers may not feel confident in their background knowledge on science topics.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. GSTA can support the implementation of the Science GSE by listening to teacher voice and use that voice as a guide to improve the development of teaching practices.

2. Create a mentorship program that allows expert educators to go into schools to not only facilitate workshops or staff development, but to actually model Science GSE lessons alongside teachers. 

Tracy Ingram

Professional experience:  

6 years elementary teacher.  Tift County Schools.

Preparation for office: 

Library of Congress STEM Teacher Institute 2017, Georgia Science Ambassador. Served (or will serve) as a presenter at the following conferences and workshops: NSTA 2018, GSTA 2017, SW GA RESA 2017, District 6 Science Workshop 2017.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Science is often done at a minimal level for elementary students - particularly K-3. This happens because there is a low priority placed on science due to testing and because teachers feel they cannot fit it into their day.

2. Science should be recognized as a crucial element in teaching our young students how to engage in critical thinking and problem solving.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. I would like to see a big push toward bringing in more K-2 teachers to the membership. We need more information/resources targeted to these grades.

2. Provide explicit models/photos/videos for how to bring science into a day where the teacher believes there is no time or money to make science happen.

MG_20170724_192142336.jpgBrooke Vickers

Professional experience:  

3 years elementary teacher.  Decatur County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I am working on my Master's in curriculum and instruction. I have worked with Southwest Georgia Resa Science Leadership, and I have worked with Mrs. Bouie and the EOG Discriptors this past summer in Atlanta.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. The standards can be very vague.

2. Not all of our students are college and career ready.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Resources

2. Clarifying the standards

High School Representative

Paulette Allard

Professional experience: 

13 years high school teacher. Cobb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I currently serve on both the State Superintendent and Cobb County School System Superintendent's teacher advisory boards. I'm involved in county content, assessment, and professional development. I also have my National STEM certification.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Recruitment and retention of science teachers

2. We are still lacking in the area of female and minority students entering STEM education programs

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. The development of a more student friendly study guide with an online practice test platform that uses phenomena to explain concepts would be an outstanding way to support the implementation of GSE in Georgia.

2. GSTA could implement a program similar to the states "science ambassador" program to recruit members to provide professional development opportunities at the district level which offer content area and grade level focused resources to help teachers streamline the process

Rachael Grillo

Professional experience: 

6 years high school teacher.  Henry County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I served as treasurer for Western Governors University's Kappa Delta Pi honor society for educators for a little over 2 years.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. I feel that teachers locally need to be better supported on the new Georgia Standards of Excellence.

2. I feel that science education is falling behind in Georgia. I see fewer and fewer females taking advanced classes (or elective science courses) as well as fewer and fewer students willing to take advanced courses. 

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Provide better examples to teachers of how to teach and assess each standard so that we know what level you're looking for and what to expect out of our students.

2. More useful online resources available at no charge to teachers.

Justin Harvey

Professional experience:  

14 years high school teacher.  Gwinnett County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I have taught high school science for 14 years; I have also been trained as a GA DOE Science Ambassador and recently finished a five year Master Teaching Fellowship at KSU that provided ongoing PD in high school physics education & teacher leadership

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Recruiting and retaining high quality, committed high school science teachers who are qualified in their subject area

2. Another significant issue in science education is the underrepresentation of certain populations in the STEM fields, especially women and minorities.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. The continued development of the Science GSE Phenomena Bank as a resource will be a huge support to teachers across the state working to implement the new GSE.

2. Build a resource that contains formative and summative assessment items of many different types and difficulty levels for each standard in each grade level/subject.

Philip Matthews

Professional experience:  

15 years high school teacher, system AP Physics leadership.  Cobb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I have helped to lead professional development in my county, presenting at local, state, and national conferences, and served as a Master Teaching Fellow in the NSF-funded I-IMPACT program at Kennesaw State.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1.  Implementation of the Georgia Standards of Excellence, and the new expectations for how science should be taught

2.  The prevalence of broadfield certified teachers teaching content with which they are not comfortable

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Continue to help build the GSE Phenomena Bank

2. Develop lessons and unit sequences to help teachers feel more comfortable with how to implement phenomena and 3-D teaching and learning in their classrooms

District 2 Director

Christina Curtis

Professional experience: 

14 years middle and high school teacher.  Jackson County Schools

Preparation for office: 

Experience teaching / working with teachers at all levels to gain insight into demands placed on teachers. I have served on Superintendent Adv. Boards, leadership teams, & district GA science ambassador rep. I have also organized and led prof. dev.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Improving the support and increased professional development opportunities for teachers specifically teaching physical science and physics.

2. Providing additional resources and support for teachers to embrace the implementation of GSE.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Continue professional development opportunities

2. Provide additional resources specific to implementing GSE for teachers to utilize specifically, if they are new to the teaching field or content area.

District 4

Melany Bracking

Professional experience:  

11 years elementary teacher.  Fulton County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I am currently enrolled with MetroResa in receiving my science endoresement, I have also taken several classes on integrating science and math, the CER model, and was the science ambassador for our school.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Science is not as important as it was when it was tested. Science is taught for less time and takes a backseat to other subjects. 

2. Making sure that teachers are prepared to tackle science

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Providing more classes (webinars or in person) to help teacher feel comfortable teaching science

2. Speaking up to state, county, and school leaders about the importance of science in the classroom

District 6

Ashley Cody

Professional experience: 

22 years high school science teacher.  Tift County Schools

Preparation for office: 

GSTA District 6 Director for 2016-2018, Georgia Association of Science Supervisors Science Ambassador, and NSTA member. I organized and presented at the first Science Saturday in District 6. I am a former GSTA presenter and grant winner.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. I believe it is important for students to receive science education from kindergarten upwards

2.  The development of a strong vertical alignment is essential to creating 21st century scientists

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1.  It is important to continue to create resources for Georgia’s teachers like this Phenomenon Bank.

2. Hosting GSTA Science Saturdays across the state allows teachers to participate in affordable workshops close to home.

District 8

Katie Brkich

Professional experience: 

4 years elementary teacher, 11 years college teacher.  Georgia Southern University

Preparation for office: 

I have had the honor of serving as the District 8 representative for 2 years now, and feel I have learned so much about GSTA as well as the state of science education P-12 across the state of GA, particularly in my district's school systems.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Lack of adequate science preparation in both 3D skills and content knowledge at the elementary level

2. Convince country and state leaders that high quality student-centered science instruction must take place every year--not just in the years science is tested

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Analyzing and disseminating the data collected in the state-wide survey, GSTA will be able to support many groups to make data-based decisions on the state of science education in their areas

2. Continue to provide professional development on the GSE

District 10

Heather Ledet

Professional experience:  

6 years elementary teacher.  DeKalb County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I am the STEM committee chair of my school and have been for the last two years. I was the elementary science ambassador, responsible for disseminating the new science standards throughout my district for other elementary school teachers.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Science is losing ground to math and reading, 

2. Focusing on minorities and women in the science, encouraging them to become interested

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Teachers need support in phenomena.

2. GSTA could also really support elementary schools

Gretchen Torbert

Professional experience: 

16 years elementary science.  Rockdale County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I have created Science materials, taught Science and assisted in developing a Science Curriculum.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Inquiry- Based/ Hands-On Learning

2. Critical Thinking Skills.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Provide performance based instructional guidance

2. Provide sample inquiry-based experiments.

District 12

Angela Curtis-Wolf

Professional experience:  

24 years elementary teacher.  Gwinnett County Schools

Preparation for office: 

Georgia DOE Science Ambassador, MSP Science Endorsement, State Conference Presenter, regional and local conference presenter, Professional Development Leader with my county and school.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. Testing impact on science instructional time

2. Implementation of the new science and engineering practices

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Support for science instruction

2. Advocate for dedicated time for science instruction.

Alma Tallaksen

Professional experience:  

7 years elementary teacher.  Gwinnett County Schools

Preparation for office: 

I have worked in elementary education for 22 years of which I was a paraprofessional for 15 years and a elementary teacher, Science Specialist, and STEM Specialist since 2010. I have attended GSTA Convention and I also taught 2 sessions last year.

Two issues important to Georgia science teachers: 

1. STEM education is of paramount importance to the elementary students in Ga. to better prepare them for 21st Century jobs.

2. Teachers need training and support in order to deepen understanding of science concepts and processes.

Two actions GSTA can take to support teachers: 

1. Provide STEM training for elementary teachers for use in the classroom

2. Provide STEM leaders to act as mentors and/or training for elementary teachers in order to promote Science Literacy across grade levels in Ga.

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