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2019 Nominees for Positions on the NMLSTA Board of Directors

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Nominee for President-Elect

Anne Schoeffler

Seton Catholic School, Hudson, Ohio

Science Teacher (grades 6-8), Principal’s Advisory Committee, Science Lead Teacher


I have served most recently on the NMLSTA’s board on the membership committee. Prior to that, I served on my school’s Principal Advisory (three-year term) and Accreditation Committees. I volunteered as the Service Unit Director of my Girl Scout service unit (ten years) and was a preschool board president and held other offices.

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

My goal as an educator is give students the tools to develop problem-solving and communication skills. My style is a blend of teaching and facilitating, encouraging students to work collaboratively and independently, design solutions, collect and analyze data, and write competently. I have high standards for myself and my students, and the challenges I pose help us all to grow as learners and thinkers. Consequently, I take advantage of every professional development opportunity I can find both as presenter and as participant. I believe the NMLSTA is in a unique position to impact science educators because middle school teachers have unique responsibilities; middle school teachers often have great responsibility for nurturing their students as well as for academic content. Consequently, I think it’s important that the NMLSTA continues to forge connections between teachers and organizations and is able to offer professional development opportunities: Meet Me in the Middle Day sessions and share-a-thon and the kind of webinars and outreach that are currently being implemented. Bringing people and ideas together is valuable for new and veteran teachers alike! 

Nominees for Treasurer

Jodie Harnden

Sunridge Middle School, Pendleton, Oregon 

Teacher, Science (grades 7-8)


My experience as a treasurer has built over 6 years of service as our district union treasurer. I create yearly budgets and provide monthly reports of income and outgo using Excel. I organize my reports in categories, increasing the clarity of spending and income sources. I manage five separate accounts, including checking, money-market, CD, and savings. I also complete tax reporting as required by the IRS for non-profit status. I believe this would qualify me to manage the accounts of NMLSTA.

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

Middle-level students and teachers are an incredible group of people. Never a dull moment, always moving, uncovering new adventures every day are typical descriptions of our level. My philosophy is one of support, for each other and our studentsTaking on new challenges and finding solutions to problems are important aspects of education, particularly at the middle level. I strive to be an inclusive, creative, and responsive teacher enabling my students to continually move forward.

As a life-member of NMLSTA, due to serving as a past-president, I would be honored to help support an organization dedicated to those of us who serve a unique group of students. I believe it is important to support each other and our students in the best ways we can find, by working together.

Kathy Schultz

Grant Wood Area Education Agency, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Science Curriculum Consultant assigned to the VAST Center


I have had a wide variety of experiences as a treasurer, ranging from team manager/treasurer for my own children’s youth sports team, to the treasurer for a youth soccer club with over 500 members, to the treasurer for a candidate’s campaign for the local city council. While not an accountant by training, I have always loved math and working with numbers.  I have experience with financial spreadsheets, as well as QuickBooks.

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

My philosophy of education is quite simple.  As a teacher, I am committed to providing students with the tools necessary to be successful in and out of the classroom, to prepare them to be scientifically literate world citizens, and to empower them with the knowledge and strategies for learning so they can better understand and interact with the world around them.

As the NMLSTA treasurer, one of my goals would be to promote membership in NMLSTA to teachers as a resource to improve their own educational practices and strategies, as well as to promote the role of middle school science teachers in our education system.

Nominees for Member of Board of Directors

Sergio de Alba

R. M. Miano Elementary, Los BaƱos, California

Elementary Teacher    


During my 18-year career I have developed an understanding of science education that has allowed me great success. Teaching is a challenging profession but when veteran teachers give back to help their colleagues, we all succeed. Along with developing many award-winning programs I have taken up several leadership roles during my tenure. My most important role has been to advocate for science education. Through the development of powerful science programs, I have put science education at the forefront at my site. This will continue to be my focus as a board director.

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

I teach science lessons by making them relevant to the lives of those I teach. Our small rural farming town has agriculture as its main industry. In order to increase interest and therefore success and engagement I have incorporated facets of science into the lessons in our school gardens. If our students have a mind for science, I want to inspire them to develop that natural gift. I have created a learning community in which every member has an important role and I emphasize that the success of one student can enhance the success of the whole and vise-versa.

Teaching is a gift. Not only for your students, but for the teacher that wants to make their students’ world better as there is no other occupation that can touch as many lives. The influence of a teacher is exponential and when done correctly can change the world. 

My goal is to use this position to continue to inspire and motivate the teaching of science using innovative and thought-provoking methods.


Covey Denton

Greenfield School, Wilson, North Carolina

Science Teacher, Science Department Chair 2016, Kesler Science Curriculum writer


Networking is of paramount importance to me in my current position as the only lower and middle school science teacher at my school. Over the past five years, I’ve worked diligently to create a network of educators to support and encourage growth. I have assumed several leadership roles such as Science Olympiad Area Director, Department Chair and a fellow in the 2018-2020 Cohort of the NC Science Leadership Association. I have honed my skills at keeping multiple projects organized throughout the different grade levels I teach and feel like I am well suited to work on a variety of tasks that would be required of a director. I participate in many NSTA and NCSTA events and have attended conferences, both as a presenter and participant, for the past five years. 

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

My educational philosophy is that a teacher’s goal should be a facilitator and ambassador to learning. I feel science has a unique ability to spark curiosity and passion in our students and we have a duty, as middle school science educators, to figure out how to ignite that curiosity and use it to motivate our students. One of the ways that we can create excitement and engagement in our classroom is by truly enjoying our subject matter and conveying that pleasure to the students. We need to advocate on behalf of science, engage our students in authentic learning and encourage them to use critical thinking skills. 

As a director my primary goal is to improve communication within our organization and beyond. I will seek to actively communicate the needs of the teachers in our organization to the board of directors and committees to ensure that our energies reflect the best interests of our members. I will encourage our membership to be active in pursuing lifelong knowledge so that they can better develop their passion for science and communicate that excitement with students and impact their schools. I will communicate with our members about national, state and local networking opportunities, professional development opportunities and conferences that would directly benefit them as mid-level science educators. By encouraging communication and open networking within our organization, I believe that we will grow to better serve the needs our members.

Barbara A. Dunham

Bessemer City Middle School, Bessemer, Alabama

Career Technologies/STEM Instructor


Barbara Dunham has fourteen years’ experience teaching STEM education, within a public school setting. During this time, she has mentored novice teachers within her school district and the National Education Association. She assisted educators with the development of strategies to embrace their problem of practice. She received the 2018 Alabama Technology Student Association Advisor of the Year Award. Barbara graduated from Nova Southeastern University with an Educational Specialist degree in Education. She served on the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association Board of Directors for the past year. During her term she worked diligently to increase the organizations membership.   

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

Goals yield results that are measurable and obtainable. The goals target a specific subject and list a desired outcome. Professional goals statements are essential tools in the decision-making process by determining a desired result. These functions are vital to leaders as decision making and creating obtainable goals are required functions to ensure organizational success. Utilization of these tools will assist me in the creation of my goals for the organization. My professional goals for the organization are to become an effective leader that builds a collaborative community of professionals that reflects excellence.

Effective leaders have the capability to persuade others to fulfill the mission, vision, values, and goals of the organization. Being a part of the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association Board of Directors afforded me the opportunity to explore and determine my leadership style, traits, and capabilities. As an organizational leader I will continue to promote and focus on increasing the membership of the organization.

Alison Seymour

Lexis Preparatory Academy, Scottsdale, Arizona 

Educational Consultant, Teacher Mentor


Science and teaching have gone hand in hand throughout my career. My first science positions were within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). In 2008, I went back to university earning a California Teaching Credential in Biological Sciences. Since then, I have been very involved in middle school science education teaching mostly in a large public school where we adopted NGSS, and more recently in a small, private school serving ADHD students, as well as in the UK. I currently hold both CA and AZ credentials.

Educational philosophy and goals you would like to pursue in the position for which you are applying

“Science is Everywhere, Let’s Explore” has been my classroom philosophy for many years. “Science is for Everyone,” is the unstated goal. Not all of our students will become scientists, but hopefully, each will have a background to help them make informed decisions as voters, citizens, as well as about their own health and that of our planet. How do we do that? I feel the first step is to keep students interested and engaged. Experiences are key. The combination we as teachers create of hands-on experiments, demonstrations, field trips, gardens, etc., creates classrooms where our students explore, question, discover, learn and master concepts…and have some fun along the way. 

I would like to focus on two areas as a Board member. First, is to participate more in mentoring other teachers. How can we better help each other in different areas of the country (world) and at different stages of our career? The second is that I would like to assist teachers in having easy access to useful lesson planning materials. There is already so much information available, but as a teacher, I know it can be time consuming finding the right resource for your particular class. 

Interested in serving on the Board of Directors and being an integral part of NMLSTA?

Please click here for Election Requirements for the NMLSTA Board of Directors - 2019. The Submission period is now closed

The election will take place electronically in February 2019.  An email with voting instructions will be sent to each paid member. 

For any questions related to the election, please contact the Elections Chairperson, Mary Lou Lipscomb at mllscience@aol.com                                                 

National Middle Level Science Teacher's Association

"NMLSTA" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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