Meet the 2010-2011 Heliophysics Educator Ambassadors

Arizona | Arkansas | California | Florida | Hawaii | Illinois
Indiana | Kentucky | Missouri | New York | Tennessee | Texas


Nancy Foote   Nancy Foote

Nancy Foote, M.Ed., received her B.S in chemistry from Loyola University of Chicago. After working as an industrial chemist for several years, Nancy recognized her love of teaching. She returned to school and earned her M.Ed. from Arizona State University. She has spent many years as a classroom teacher, and several years as an elementary school principal. Nancy is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, ( Nancy is currently a teacher of gifted children in grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 at Centennial Elementary School in the Higley Unified School District. She is an adjunct instructor of chemistry for Chandler Gilbert Community College. In addition, Nancy is an item writer for the state of Arizona AIMS (Arizona Instrument for Measurement of Standards) high school math assessment. She worked with the Arizona Department of Education to articulate science standards for K – 12 students. Most recently Nancy received her National Board Certification and was named an Arizona Master Teacher. Nancy enjoys the use of technology. Her students make podcasts, You Tube videos and to use Twitter in the classroom.

School: Centennial Elementary

Contact: nancyfootehigley {at}


Eric Santos   Eric Santos

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 2003 with a business degree, Eric Santos began his career as a technology consultant in Chicago, where he was born and raised. In 2006 he decided to change careers and become a teacher. Working in the Chicago Public Schools, Eric taught 6th and 7th grade math and science, while also coaching basketball, soccer, and his school’s chess team. During this time Eric also pursued a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from National-Louis University. After two years of teaching and completing his graduate degree, Eric decided to relocate with his fiancé Lynette to Phoenix, Arizona, just in time for his first daughter’s arrival. Since 2008 Eric has spent two years teaching in Litchfield Park, Arizona, as well as coaching basketball, baseball, and the school chess club. He enjoys spending his free time traveling and learning with his family, playing basketball, reading, and developing his growing interest in amateur astronomy. His daughter Dominique is now age two and already displays the inquiring mind of a young scientist in the making.

School: Wigwam Creek Middle School

santos {at}

Lynn Kelsh   Lynn Kelsh

I have been in education for 32 years and have taught in three states everything from pre-school through college. I have held my present position, 6th grade general science, for 16 years, teaching approximately 150 students each year. I have been fortunate to meet and be influenced by many wonderful educators throughout the world. The one element that remains consistent in my life is the constant learning and awe of both the teacher and the student.

School: Mountain Home Pinkston Middle School

Contact: Lkelsh {at}


Zamaria Rocio   Zamaria Dijana Rocio

Zamaria Rocio has been a science educator for the past 20 years. She enjoys teaching and guiding her culturally diverse students. She is always looking for cutting-edge research which she can share with her students and colleagues. Her zest for learning new things has taken her to an island in the Great Barrier Reef, to a Puerto Rican rain forest , and to the church towers in Venice, Italy. She loves teaching and cannot imagine doing anything else for a career.

School: San Diego City Schools

Contact: scienceducator {at}


Donna Taylor   Donna Taylor

I am a graduate from Illinois State University. I have a bachelors of science degree in Agriculture Education. I taught in this field for a few years and then started teaching Biology and general science. In 1996, I moved to San Diego to work at a Charter School. In 2001, I moved to Los Angeles area and became a middle school science teacher teaching Earth, Life, and Physical Science. During my years in Los Angeles, I became members of COSEE-West program dealing with the Ocean and the Climate, Target Science teacher affiliated group, and some specialty area groups in astronomy and forestry. I appreciate all I have learned from these groups. I teach at Curtiss Middle School for 4 years now.

School: Los Angeles Unified

Contact: donnatteach {at}


Deborah Zwolinski  

Deborah Valdivia Zwolinski

Deborah Valdivia-Zwolinski was born in Chicago and relocated to Florida while attending college. She currently resides in Cutler Bay, Florida, a city just south of Miami. She teaches 6th and 7th grade gifted and advance science at Riviera Middle School in Miami, Florida. She holds a BA from the University of Miami, a MS from Barry University, and is completing a double Doctorate at Nova Southeastern University. She is a member of various science and technology professional organizations. Presently she is developing her second magnet program for the district, this program will emphasize Science Technology and Investigative Research (STIR) and will promote being green by operating as a paperless class. Her hobbies include scuba diving, kayaking, astronomy, and Web design. Her educational philosophy is that students learn by doing and her goal is to make science fun and exciting for all students.

School: Riviera Middle School

Contact: mszscience {at}

Maggie Prevenas   Maggie Prevenas

Maggie Prevenas teaches seventh grade science at Kalama Intermediate School on the island of Maui, Hawaii. She has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught science and computer technology in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Hawaii. A recent National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Prevenas traveled to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2005 and 2008, and the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study in 2007 and continues to develop creative educational materials related to her experiences. Her research in the Bering Sea has resulted in a keen focus on teaching her students lessons connected to global climate change and collaborations between indigenous students.

School: Kalama Intermediate School

Contact: prevenas {at}


Scott Chappelle   Scott Chappelle

I have been teaching for 22 years in both Chicago and in the southern/southwest suburbs. I recieved my Undergraduate (BA) from Concordia University in River Forest, IL. I later earned my Masters degree (MA) in Environmental Studies and Geography from Northeastern IL University. My teaching career has been spent mostly in the middle school grades (6-8). I am equally endorsed in math and science with teaching certificates for K-12 in Illinois and Virginia.

School: Dalet Academy

Contact: schap222 {at}





Kathleen Cochrane   Kathleen Cochrane

Kathleen Cochrane is currently a teacher of gifted children in District 15, Palatine Illinois. She also teaches Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Center for Talent Development's Summer Program at Northwestern University. She has taught Junior High Science for many years and has been involved with science programs with the Illinois Junior Academy of Science, National Earth Science Teachers Association, Illinois Science Teachers Association, the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, and Eugene Cernan Earth and Space Center. She is devoted to teaching science and to working to inspire new teachers to share the wonders of science.

School: Frank C. Whiteley

Contact: k44kathy {at}


Jen Lewin  

Jen Lewin

Jen Lewin holds a Bachelors of Biology and a Masters of Education. She is the Science and Technology Coordinator of a Math and Science School in the Chicago Public School System. Jen has loved science as long as she can remember and strives to nurture that same passion in her students.

School: Graeme Stewart Elementary

Contact: jenlewin {at}


Mary Clare Lynch  

Mary Clare Lynch

I have been working in education for 18 years. I have had the honor to work in classrooms, administration as well as working with pre-service teachers. I learn something new each day about myself and my students. I laugh a lot with my students and cry sometimes with their parents. I care about what my students know, how they see themselves as a member of our world and how they behave as a member of our society.

School: Burnside Scholastic Academy

Contact: mary.lynch {at}


Joy Reeves  

Joy Reeves

Joy Reeves, a National Board Certified Teacher, has been teaching for 23 years, and currently works at Claremont Math & Science Academy on Chicago's southside. She is the Science Lead Teacher there. Ms. Reeves has attended several NASA Teacher Workshops, and presented science lessons at the NSTA convention, the Illinois Science Teachers conference, and NCASE in Washington DC. She was named Illinois Science Teacher of the Year in 2007.

School: Claremont Math and Science Academy

Contact: joyreeves11 {at}


Judy Stellato   Judy Stellato

I have been teaching science for 18 years in School District 135 at the junior high level. I have my bachelor's degree with a double major: physical science, as well as elementary education. My masters degree is in education administration. Major highlights of my career have been being published in Scope, arranging for my students to talk to astronaut Jerry Linnenger via amateur radio when he was in space aboard the Mir space station, I have been involved in the Dept. of Energy's Science Bowl for many years, and in 2008, my team took 5th place in the national fuel cell car race. What I am most proud of: overcoming my fear of flying to participate in Northrop Grumman's Zero G Flight of Discovery in which I was on a modified 727 which did parabolas which allowed us to experience weightlessness for 25 sec. intervals. In my free time I love to read, be out in nature walking or gardening. I also like to bowl, and I am a huge NASCAR fan.

School: Jerling Junior High

Contact: jstellato {at}


Dale Subaitis   Dale Subaitis

I attended Moraine Valley Community College after high school and received my Associates in science. I transferred to Eastern Illinois University where I received my Bachelors degree in Science of Education. I am currently employed in School District 194 at Columbia Central for the last 3 years. My first year teaching I taught 7th and 8th grade science, for the past two years I have been teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science.

School: Columbia Central Junior High

Contact: dalesubaitis {at}





Karen Swacker   Karen Swacker

Karen Swacker received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Governors State University. She has taught both self-contained elementary classes and junior high science classes. After six years of full time teaching, Karen returned to Governors State University to earn her Master's Degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She currently teaches junior high science at Rickover Junior High School in Sauk Village, Illinois.

School: Rickover Junior High School

Contact: kswacker {at}






Cheryl Zielinski   Cheryl Zielinski

I am originally from Southwest Michigan and a 2004 graduate from Western Michigan University with a bachelors in Education and minors in math, science, and social studies. I moved to Chicago with my husband the summer after graduation so that we could enjoy all the amenities that the city has to offer. When I moved to the city I was a substitute teacher with Chicago Public Schools and was offered a position teaching Science the very next year at Ana Roque De Duprey Elementary, A small school in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. I have been teaching there for 5 years now and have really enjoyed it. My passion is teaching and feel that I've found my niche teaching science to urban school children. I have participated and completed all the training offered by the Chicago Math and Science Initiative and this spring was chosen to be a Professional Development Leader for the Initiative starting in the summer/fall of 2010. I was awarded a small grant by the CFE in the fall of 2009 to purchase frogs, dissection kits and software to help in bringing learning to life in the classroom. Last summer I was given the opportunity to complete a 4 week Research Experience for Teachers in the El Yunque Forest of Puerto Rico. I then used that knowledge gained to create an Ecology unit based around the El Yunque Forest that I taught to my 7th graders this past year. I am dedicated to bettering myself and expanding my knowledge and curriculum so that my students can make connections between science and real life and provide learning opportunities that they may not have had a chance to learn otherwise.

School: Ana Roque De Duprey Elementary

Contact: zielinski.cheryl23 {at}


Henry Frazzini   Henry Frazzini

I was born in Chicago, and grew up in nearby Northwest Indiana. I have always enjoyed the outdoors, sports, and astronomy. I am a graduate of Tri-State University and am currently working on my master’s degree through Quincy University. Science, history, and Literature have always been things I enjoy and I love to share my knowledge with others and learn from them. I am married and have two wonderful boys 2yrs, and 8 yrs. I have been in the teaching field for 15 years. I have been a classroom teacher for grades K, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. I have taught pre-school and been the director of a school. Currently I teach Special Education . I am a member of the Rotary Club, and volunteer as a den leader with the Boy Scouts. I believe it is important to nourish your mind, body, and soul every day.

School: O'Keeffe Elementary

Contact: hankfrazzini {at}


John Harsh   John Harsh

John Harsh - 1989 Graduate of Purdue University Lafayette BA Elementary Education with Secondary Science Endorsement. As a teacher with Gary (IN) Community School Corporation since 1990, John has taught Elementary (regular & high ability) and Middle School (regular, at-risk, & high ability). Currently John teaches 7th grade Science at Banneker High Achievement School in Gary. John has served on several curriculum development commitees and has worked with many community groups, universities and national organizations to develop educational projects / units.

School: Banneker High Achievement Center

Contact: LocutusHarsh {at}





WISE   Shannon Hudson

Shannon Hudson was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and after several moves to Ohio, Alabama, and Illinois, she finally landed in Shelbyville, Indiana. After graduating high school, she attended Purdue University for her undergraduate degree, attended IUPUI for her gifted endorsement, and finally Indiana Wesleyan for her master’s degree. She began her teaching career in Kokomo, Indiana, teaching juvenile delinquents every subject except social studies. She currently teaches 6th and 7th grade science and health at Tuttle Middle School in the city where she started life- Crawfordsville, Indiana. She has sponsored activities such as National Junior Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind, Drain Painting, and Chemistry Day. As science department chairperson, she has recommended that science textbooks come in a digital format. She has taught webquest classes at Wabash College, and presented at multiple conferences on topics from water pollution to service learning to the CropLife Program. She recently authored the Agriculture Webquest for the Mid American CropLife Association. Under her direction, her 7th grade students created an interactive CD focusing on the Sugar Creek watershed of Montgomery County with the assistance of a Rose-Hulman PRISM grant. Her students also shaped the Kindergarten Connection, a program that prepared 7th grade students to individually teach kindergarten students science concepts once a month. Her students have also designed and installed 4 exhibits for the local Carnegie Museum. With many other grants, her students are creating the 67 acre Sugar Creek Nature Park in Montgomery County. She currently serves as Membership Chairperson on the ICE board of directors, is an IMLEA Advisory Board member, was a Teacher-Leader for PRISM, is the educational consultant for the Sugar Creek Nature Park, and is secretary of the Montgomery County Carnegie Museum. In spare time, she quilts, reads, attends lots of football games and track meets to watch her son participate, and high school basketball games to watch her husband coach, all the while chasing her granddaughters to plays, musicals, basketball games, dance and cheerleading competitions.

School: Tuttle Middle School

Contact: shudson {at}

Dwayne Humphrey   Dwayne Humphrey

Dwayne Humphrey is Science Curriculum Coach for The Kenton County School District in Northern Kentucky. Throughout Dwayne's 15 year career in education he has worked as a Middle School Science Teacher, Administrator and Curriculum Consultant. He has also served on Kentucky's Science Content Advisory Committee and as a National panelist representing Kentucky to help in setting standards for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Science, also known as the Nation's Report Card. Dwayne received a B.S. in Physics from Eastern Kentucky University and MEd. in Education Leadership from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Originally from Lexington, Ky, Dwayne has spent the last 15 years in Northern Kentucky with his beautiful wife Amelia and wonderful son Joshua.

School: Turkey Foot Middle School

Contact: dwayne.humphrey {at}


Krista Davis   Krista Davis

Krista Davis is a seventh grade science and reading teacher at California Middle School in California, Missouri. She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla) with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and teaching certificate. Her professional teaching career began at Waynesville High School in Waynesville, Missouri. Krista is now in her third year of teaching science. She enjoys the challenges of working with middle school aged students and loves the opportunity to inspire her students to appreciate the study of science. When not in the classroom, Krista, can be found outside exploring local conservation areas, participating in 5k running events, and observing a clear night sky. Dedicated to lifelong learning and teacher preparation, she is preparing to begin a Master's program to continue her education. She currently resides in Jefferson City, Missouri, with her husband Gary.

School: California Middle School - Moniteau County R-1

Contact: krista.davis {at}


New York    
Kenneth Huff   Kenneth Huff

Biographical Sketch Kenneth L. Huff earned his Master of Science in Education in 1997 from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. He graduated cum laude from the same institution with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1992. Additional continuing education includes graduate classes in Earth Systems Science, Astronomy Principles for the Classroom, Sensing, Analyzing, and Forecasting Weather, and International Polar Year STEM Polar Connections. Huff has also completed many institutes on enhancing classroom instruction. Huff’s professional activities include holding the office of president-elect for The Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching. He is a member of the National Science Teachers Association Middle Level Teaching Committee, and an active member on American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Systems Technical Committee. Huff serves the National Science Foundation as a sub-panel chair for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program. He continues to serve NASA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a field test teacher. He also serves the Space Foundation as a teacher liaison, and the Science Teachers Association of New York State as a subject area representative. He is also an associate member of The National Academies Teacher Advisory Council. Huff completed a two year term serving the National Science Teachers Association as chairperson for its Aerospace Advisory Board. Huff has received numerous awards, including: The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Educator Achievement Award, a National Science Teachers Association-Toyota Tapestry Award, and the Science Teachers Association of New York State Excellence in Science Teaching Award. Huff has been inducted into the prestigious Crown Circle by the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education. He has received an Aerospace Education Excellence Award from the Civil Air Patrol, and was named New York State Teacher of the Year by the Air Force Association.

School: Mill Middle School

Contact: khuff {at}

Michelle Kornberger   Michelle Kornberger

Michelle Kornberger graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia PA in 1995. After graudation, she moveTN to Memphis, TN to accept her first teaching position. In 1997, Ms. Kornberger graduated from the University of Memphis with a Master of Science degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership. Most of her career has been dedicated to teaching science to urban middle school students.

School: Snowden School

Contact: mkornbe540 {at}


Melvin Prater   Melvin Prater

Mel Prater began his teaching career in 1999 at Armuchee Elementary School, Rome, Georgia upon his retirement from the United States Marine Corps after 25 years of service. Mr. Prater taught fifth grade at Armuchee prior to relocating to Rutherford County Schools, Tennessee, where he taught fifth grade at Roy Waldron Elementary School. He relocated to the Murfreesboro City School system and taught fifth and sixth grade science at Hobgood Elementary School, a NASA Explorer School. He currently serves as the District Science Instructional Support Teacher for Murfreesboro City Schools, TN. Mr. Prater is married to Vickie Lee (Casteel) Prater. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

School: Murfreesboro City Schools

Contact: mel.prater {at}


Jodi Andoe   Jodi Andoe

Jodi Andoe is the Middle School Science Curriculum Coach at Paris Junior High in Northeast Texas. Jodi has participated with NASA’s Explore School, Middle School and High School Texas Aerospace Scholars programs. She received her Bachelor’s degree in 2000 from the University of Texas at Dallas. Jodi finished her Masters in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M at Commerce in 2008. She has taught eighth grade science and high school biology for Paris ISD and has eight years of teaching experience. When she’s not busy with school, she enjoys spending time with her large extended family, her husband, Jason and their two children, Asher and Alysabeth.

School: Paris Junior High

Contact: jandoe {at}




Jose Martinez   Jose Martinez

Bilingual/ESL teacher from Texas. 23.8 veteran educator working with Bilingual students of recent arrival into the USA. Commited to educate children in Texas Public Schools. Señor Martinez is an exaple and product of Bilingual Education in Texas himself. His dedication and respect for Public Education reflects in the numerous awards and recognition that he has receved at the local, state, and National level. We congratulate Mr. Martinez for his recognized service and as a role model to many Hispanic Bilingual-ESL students.

School: Hill Excel Academy of Aldine

Contact: jlmartinez {at}






Susana Ramirez   Susana Ramirez

I, Susana Ramirez, have been an educator for a total of 11 years, 8 of which have been in 5th grade Science. I have just recently made the change to middle school, this year where I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade Science. I have had the great opportunity of being able to acquire a love and passion for Science. My profession has allowed me many opportunities within my school district, campus, and region. I was the Science Specialist for Reed and Mock and was responsible for the Science curriculum implementation across all grade levels and trained teachers in any area of need. At the district level I represented my 5th grade campus at all Science meetings and trained teachers across the district during professional development days and after school. I have been a member of the Region One Regional Science Collaborative since 2002 and the University of Texas Pan American Regional Science Collaborative through which I received my Master in Education with an emphasis in Science. The collaborative has given me the knowledge to help my students to succeed and the ability to present and help other teachers pursue their goals in Science. For this major reason, I joined the Rio Grande Valley Science Association in 2004 and was able to become a presenter shortly thereafter. My greatest accomplishment in giving back to the community of educators is being the current president of the Rio Grande Valley Science Association. My active participation in RGVSA has allowed me to make valuable connections in Science across the valley and the State of Texas and bring some of those connections down to the Rio Grande Valley to present at our annual mini CAST. I currently hold active membership in the following associations; STAT - chairperson of the trouble shooting committee for CAST 2009 and member of the Nominating Committee 2010, NSTA, TxESS Revolutions, TSELA, TCES and SACNA. I was also a member of SMART (Science Mentoring across Rural Texas) from 2004 – 2006 sponsored by Texas State University. Through my dedication to Science I have received the Texas Regional Collaborative Mentoring Award in 2005, Reed and Mock Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2008, Texas Regional Collaborative Toyota Teacher Excellence Award in 2008, 2009 Texas Medical Association Ernest and Sarah Butler Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and I was one of forty-six teachers selected from across the nation for the prestigious 2009 Lift-Off Summer Institute held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I believe that my current position as the President of our local Science Association which covers the entire Rio Grande Valley to Laredo, Texas has better prepared me to educate my students and help train teachers. I am an advocate for Science in my district and region. My involvement in STAT, TSELA, TCES, and TxESS Revolutions has allowed me to network with teachers from across the state and I believe that I am a good spokesperson for Science. My two main goals have always been to show teachers that Science is just as fun to teach as Reading and Math. I believe they too can enjoy teaching with a little professional development in Science. My second goal is to continuously motivate and challenge my students, so they can appreciate science. I am currently pursuing the Science issue of Women in Science. This past summer I directed a Summer Science Camp for twenty-four 4th grade girls to captivate their interest in Science. Next year I hope to double the size of the participants. I am also working on two grants, one with TxESS Revolution and the other with Texas Space Grant Consortium, both of these grants will bring more needed professional development to the Rio Grande Valley teachers which will then be passed on to the students.

School: Austin Middle School

Contact: justsciencemaniacs {at}


Sally Wall   Sally Wall

College of the Mainland, for a total of 11 years helping train future science teachers. She has served as an instructional team member for the Environmental Institute of Houston/University of Houston Clear Lake Regional Science Collaborative giving close to 1000 hours of training to local teachers. Sally has been recognized for her teaching efforts locally, on the state level and nationally. Local recognition has been given to her for outstanding teaching by the NASA Rotary Club, Clear Creek Schools and the Mayor of Houston. On the state level she has been awarded Outstanding Science Teacher and mentor by El Paso Energy and the Texas Regional Science Collaborative and Outstanding Environmental Educator for Texas Project Learning Tree. On the national level she has been recognized by National Project Learning Tree and the American Forest Foundation for Outstanding Environmental Education. She was also chosen to serve on the National Environmental Education Advisory Council for the Environmental Protection Agency. Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, WET, and Globe are all programs that she is trained as a facilitator in. Sally is also a GEMS associate who received her training at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Sally has written and contributed to several different local and national efforts. She was a contributing writer in the Flying WILD guide. She collaborated with Project Learning Tree in their technology and differentiated instruction additions when they updated their national program guide. She was also a contributing writer in the World Space Week’s Robert Heinlein guide developed by the Space Foundation.

School: Clear Lake Intermediate School

Contact: swall {at}