Vice President Candidate Statements
I have much to offer the AMTA Executive Board. First, I offer my passion for offering cohesive, K-12 science instruction to all students. As modeling instructors, we are dedicated to coaching students as they design and conduct investigations, collect data, and think, reason, and argue with evidence. Consider for a moment your current students as younger learners. What if your students had experienced modeling instruction at an earlier age? I have some unique insight in this area. After 20+ years of teaching high school life science, I transitioned out of my classroom and into the role K-5 STEM Instructional Coach for my district. I have worked tirelessly to integrate the principles of modeling instruction that I utilized as a high school teacher into over 40 elementary classrooms. In my experience, not only do elementary students and teachers embrace modeling instruction, they excel at it. Elementary science is currently an untapped area of modeling instruction. I feel the time is right to begin formal work on boosting our efforts in this area. Very few opportunities exist for elementary educators to receive high quality professional development in the area of science instruction. Tailoring AMTA workshops to an elementary teacher audience would not only increase the diversity of our membership, but also increase our sources of revenue. I would welcome the opportunity to lead this effort. From its strong roots in the physics community, to branching out to chemistry, biology, and physical science, elementary science is an important new shoot on the modeling instruction tree. I envision a day when districts can boast K-12 modeling instruction. Now is the time to plant those seeds.
AMTA must continue to follow the lead of our existing and potential members if we are to thrive in this changing educational landscape. Innovations such as the M2M blog and Science Talks podcasts have opened up Modeling to a larger viewership while STEMteachersXYZ organizations are an excellent vehicle for building community. If we are to ensure our future financial sustainability, we must concentrate on continuing to offer content and experiences that will entice participation. Rather than relying on large workshops which require travel and a significant time commitment to introduce educators to Modeling, we should instead focus on introductory experiences that draw in educators. I envision assisting in the establishment and growth of more STEMteachersXYZ organizations, using social media to promote events, and finding more content areas and grade bands to reach with Modeling pedagogy.
Increasing the diversity of AMTA’s membership means we must, as an organization, directly confront the biases that have held us back from greater inclusion and equity within our organization. Purposefully involving people who have been underrepresented is how we demonstrate that we, as an organization, value a more diverse membership.
Moving forward, I envision an AMTA that offers more introductory experiences that require a smaller time commitment and allow for flexibility. I would like to increase work within STEMteachersXYZ organizations, reaching more educators and building local community. We need to identify a more diverse group of workshop leaders, and these organizations are great way to do so. We need to look to offering more pedagogy workshops that can be adapted to all contents and grade bands to bring in a wider base of members. We have an opportunity to adapt and must seize it.
Treasurer Candidate Statements
Five years ago, I sponsored the first Modeling Instruction workshop in Central Texas. This made me realize how difficult it is to provide Modeling Instruction development in locations where awareness of its benefits are relatively low. The other thing I realized is how arduous it is for teachers to transition their pedagogy to Modeling. To help those teachers, a non-profit I founded with another physics teacher worked with AMTA to publish a Mechanics Course Book. Last year we provided a second edition of that Course Book with improvements based on the feedback of over 100 teachers around the country. Over the past three years, we have helped AMTA publish and distribute thousands of course books to schools in the US and internationally.
As treasurer, I will work to dramatically increase funding for AMTA. This is essential to achieve its strategic plans. One key is getting AMTA’s story in front of the right people and organizations. They must care about what AMTA is doing and they must have significant funds at their disposal. Critical to AMTA’s appeal is the ability to bring Modeling Instruction to a diverse group of schools, even when schools do not have the funds to develop its teachers and support its students.
I am a successful fundraiser. In under 12 months, I worked with three other physics teachers to raise six-figure sums in support of Modeling Instruction. In addition to teaching, I believe that my previous experience as an entrepreneur and as a technology executive will be essential to increase the financial support needed by this outstanding organization and its members.
In addition to teaching physics for many years using Modeling Instruction, other subjects I have taught include math and economics. I have a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, an MBA from Harvard, and I worked as an automotive engineer and technology executive for twenty years prior to teaching.
I have been teaching physics, science and mathematics for the past 25 years, including freshman level integrated science, physics, AP-1 physics and AP-C physics. I earned a Masters Degree in Science Education in 1998 and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2008. I earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Washington State University in 2016.
My first experience with Modeling was as a phase 3 participant in the Leadership Modeling Workshop at UC Davis during the summers of 1998 and 1999. My workshop leaders were Don Yost, Wayne Finkbeiner and Jeff Hengesbach. I continued to be involved, spending several summers at ASU working with other modelers on integrated physics-chemistry modeling and attending an Advanced Modeling Workshop in 2005. I co-lead a Physics Modeling Workshop at ASU in 2008 and another in my hometown, Spokane, Washington, in 2010. I was one of the modelers who founded AMTA in 2005, serving as its first president from 2005-2006. I served on the board as Treasurer and Founding Board Member until 2010.
Workshops and member dues form the basis for AMTA’s financial solvency. I think an additional source of revenue could come from tapping our member and leader’s expertise and understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards as consultants to clients ranging from teachers and schools to state education departments. Providing these services in areas with high populations of under-represented teachers and students could also help add diversity to AMTA’s ranks, enhancing efforts to target professional development to the unique needs of these populations.
I am excited by the opportunity to once again serve AMTA as treasurer and work with members to raise the potential of science teachers to create scientifically literate students and citizens.
Member-At-Large Candidate Statements
Patrick has taught physics (including a 1.5 period version for at-risk learners), advanced physics, and AP physics using the modeling methodology for 9 years in the Chicagoland area and currently teaches Physics and AP Physics at Glenbard East High School (Lombard, IL). He was introduced to modeling by past-AMTA president Jim Stankevitz as a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he completed a M.S. in physics and M.Ed. in secondary education. Patrick has participated in six different summer workshops as either an attendee, intern, or co-leader. He believes that modeling instruction is the most effective way to help young people experience science, and we need to do what we can to make sure it thrives.
Ensuring financial sustainability for the AMTA will involve restructuring and diversifying our current offerings in order to both keep current memberships and attract new memberships. While the AMTA provides a rich curriculum, Patrick understands that most teachers have to modify the AMTA materials to fit the needs of their own students and districts. Creating a place where modelers can share their modifications to get feedback or provide for others would create a stream of new content that would help keep current memberships while also showcasing how the current materials can evolve to fit the needs of students or meet district initiatives.
Diversifying and increasing AMTA membership involves finding new content and ways to provide our content to other teachers. This could involve workshops that target specific types of learners, members speaking at local conferences, distance learning, or introducing would-be teachers to modeling via methods courses at colleges and universities. While there is no simple answer to either of these two issues, Patrick is eager to listen and have discussions with like-minded modelers to help grow the AMTA.
I have been teaching since 2009 and a National Board Certified Teacher in adolescent/young adult science. I began using Modeling Instruction in 2014 and currently use Modeling materials in AP Physics 1, general physics, and basic chemistry. In past years, I’ve also taught 9th grade earth science and physical science, integrating Modeling pedagogy and the engineering design process. In addition to teaching, I am pursuing a PhD in STEM education at the University of Minnesota where my research is focused on how classroom experiences shape students’ science identity, especially when it comes to students from underrepresented groups.
As a member of the board, I hope to explore how AMTA can build on efforts including topical webinars and virtual happy hours to provide support to teachers beyond summer workshops. On-going support is crucial for teachers to make a sustained, significant change in their instruction. Expanding the ways AMTA provides that support not only will increase the use of Modeling pedagogy, but will add value to a membership, contributing to AMTA’s financial stability.
I’m also very interested in examining how the role of equity in AMTA’s work, especially since ensuring all students have access to high-quality science instruction, such as Modeling Instruction, is a crucial educational equity issue. I believe this includes examining how Modeling workshops and resources can be used to equip teachers to facilitate equitable participation in their classrooms and equitable access to challenging science coursework in their schools. I believe this also includes increasing the diversity of AMTA’s membership by examining how AMTA can increase access to workshops and provide equitable opportunities for participation in the organization to ensure every interested teacher has avenues to see themselves as a Modeler and a valued part of the AMTA.
I am a 26 year veteran educator at Holton Middle School in Holton, Michigan where I currently teach 6th and 7th grade Science. I have a great passion for science especially in the area of STEM education. As a Modeling instructor I have had the pleasure of facilitating workshops for both Biology and Middle School. If elected as Member-at-Large I would be honored to work with educators that share the same passion to educate students with equity utilizing the best methods available. Using my years of experience in education, I hope to inspire others vaulting AMTA into classrooms across the country and even the world.