2020-2021 Newly Elected Board Members

President-Elect

Jennifer MeyerJennifer Meyer
Sr. Coordinator of Elementary Science
Leander ISD (Region 13)
Term: 3-year progression

Bio: Jennifer Meyer is a 25-year educator. She received her BS in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin and her M. Ed. in Educational Administration from Concordia University. During her career in education, she has been a special education teacher, elementary and middle school teacher, science specialist, and science curriculum specialist. Jennifer is currently the Senior Coordinator for Elementary Science in Leander ISD. She served as the secretary for STAT from 2018-2020, and the STAT Advocacy Committee chair in 2019-20, focused on Science TEKS Revision process. She is an active member of TSELA, STAT, NSTA, TCES, Learning Forward, and Texas ASCD. She has assisted in creating online PBL courses for the Region 13 service center and co-authored the book, Blueprint for Building a STEM Program. 

Position Statement: For the past two years, I have had the privilege to serve as secretary on STAT Executive Board. During this time I have seen transformations in how STAT is viewed by and recognized as the go-to organization for science education at the membership and state level. 

While I have been an active participant on the STAT Executive Board, I feel that this year I have grown in my capacity to serve the STAT membership. My role as Advocacy Committee Chair has allowed me to collaborate with a variety of members from around the state to create a position statement to present to TEA and SBOE on the Science TEKS Revision Process. I am passionate about wanting to provide the best opportunities and experiences for science educators and their students. That is why I am interested in serving on the Executive Board as President-Elect or Member-At-Large. 

It is extremely important that we continue to grow the presence of STAT as the go-to organization for Science educators in the state of Texas. During the next 3-5 years my goals for STAT are: 

• Ensure that the STAT annual budget does not solely rely upon CAST for its revenue 
• Increase the membership of STAT, especially in teachers with 1-5 years of experience, so they see the value in being a member of STAT, by creating meaningful resources that meet the needs of today’s science educators and students 
• Identify ways to support the needs of science educators across the state 
• Continue to grow and develop the relationships between STAT and affiliates, local science organizations, TEA, and SBOE 

STAT has always relied on CAST to provide the financial resources for the organization, however, when looking at other organizations, similar to STAT, their annual conference is only one component of their budget. We need to look at additional opportunities and ways to support and meet the needs of our membership while also creating additional revenue, whether it be through member-only access on STAT365, professional learning opportunities, or community outreach events. 

Many of these goals can be directly influenced by the Science TEKS Revision Process, however, they all require strategic planning and consideration for implementation. We have a unique opportunity to provide resources and programming that we have not in the past. The next four years will be critical for STAT and the science education community as we participate in the TEKS Revision Process, the adoption of the new TEKS, science instructional materials adoption, and implementation. It is important that STAT stay several steps ahead of each process to be able to provide resources and education to science educators across the state. Implementation of our plan will be pivotal in achieving our goals. As the go-to organization, The Science Teachers Association of Texas will be a valuable asset to educators across Texas during this process, and in turn, increase membership, advocate for science education for all students and educators in the state, and lead the science community in Texas. 


Secretary

Matthew CushingMatthew Cushing
Executive Director
Rice University Office of STEM (Region 4)
2-year term, ends 2022 

Bio: Matthew received a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston in 1999. His specializations in education are Early Childhood and Earth Science. In 2008, he obtained a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology with a Specialization in Human Resources Management from the University of Houston Clear Lake. 

Matthew spent 7 years in the classroom teaching for Spring Branch ISD and developed a passion for science and technology. Acting on this passion, he moved from the classroom to become a District Educational Technology Specialist and Science Specialist. Throughout the course of his time with SBISD, Matthew served on various committees including textbook adoption, district technology, and science and social studies curriculum writing. He was a district trainer for science content, technology, and effective instruction. Post Spring Branch ISD he joined Region 10 ESC on the Texas Virtual School Network project. This opportunity allowed him to work closely with the Texas Education Agency, districts across Texas, and national education associations. He served as a mentor for teachHouston and has presented at local, state and national conferences in the areas of technology integration, STEM, computer science, and online learning. Matthew joined the staff at the Rice University Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) in 2012 and served as an Assistant Director, Associate Director for Elementary Education, Director of Programs and Operations, and is currently the Executive Director. In his current position, he oversees all staff, programs, and operations for R-STEM. 

He currently serves on the STAT Executive Board as a Member-at-Large. He has also served as a committee chair for two conferences, most recently as the Social Chair for the 2017 CAST conference in Houston. His special interests include STEM education, technology integration, and digital learning. He is a member of NSTA, STAT, ASCD, Texas ASCD, TCEA, ISTE, CSTA, and iNACOL. 


Members-at-Large

Christina HotchkinChristina Hotchkin
Classroom Teacher
Pflugerville ISD (Region 13)
2-year term, ends 2022

Bio: I graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an emphasis in chemistry. While working on my Master’s, I did research at a local high school on the integration of technology in the science classroom. To this day, I actively look at ways to effectively integrate technology in the science classroom. It was during my time at Texas Tech that I had the opportunity to work for CISER, Center for the Integration of STEM Education and Research. CISER focused on professional development for area teachers as well as building the foundation for pre-service teachers. While with CISER, I helped facilitate the Middle Science Methods class for Give Teaching a Chance. I also had the opportunity to present at the local (Lubbock), state, and national levels. In my time at Lubbock, I was able to present at two NSTA Conferences in addition to an NSTA Regional Conference. I have also had the opportunity to regularly present at CAST. Once I graduated, I moved to Central Texas and began teaching at Bastrop High School. Here I served at the IPC PLC lead in my first full year at BHS. I was also nominated as a lead for the Model Classroom Project, a best practices program implemented by the district. I’ve since moved to Pflugerville ISD where I have worked on chemistry curriculum for the district and I am currently the chemistry PLC lead for my campus, Weiss High School. Supporting students outside the classroom is an important part of “teaching” to me. It is because of this that I have signed up to be the co-sponsor for the Class of 2020. I am also a member of our Campus Academic and Advisory Committee for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Position Statement: 

Before becoming a teacher, I was surrounded by great mentors that really stressed the importance of networking and professional development. As I near the end of my 7th year of teaching, I finally feel like I have my feet under me and I am ready to start supporting the organization that poured into me while I was starting my career. I have found that I have a passion for supporting teachers, especially first-year and pre-service teachers, in the classroom. I think this stems from my work at CISER. I was able to work with pre-service teachers, first-year teachers, and even veteran teachers. There was mutual respect between all parties and it allowed for productive collaboration that not only benefited the new to profession teachers but ultimately the students. I was once told that teacher retention is an issue that districts are facing yearly and that if teachers can make it past the five-year mark, they are more likely to stay in the profession. This has always been in the back of my mind -- what is magical about this five-year mark? How can we support our pre-service teachers and new to profession teachers? This is one area that I would be dedicated to finding a sustainable solution. 

Another area I am passionate about is improving science literacy within my classroom. As a state, we should be committed to providing the best content and resources for our students, regardless of their background, that we can. I believe there are ways that we could vertically align to help build science content and skills that will help our students as they prepare to enter our ever-changing society. Building upon common science practices, that are practical and reinforce the TEKS, would be beneficial for students across the state. This could also be a practice that would help pre-service teachers and new to the profession teachers. 

While I might still be young in my teaching career, I do believe I have valuable experiences that I can bring to STAT. I will work hard to bridge the gap between pre-service, new to the profession, and veteran teachers. As a member of the Executive Board, I will try to help classroom teachers build confidence as they teach the diverse populations in their classrooms. 

Cindy DyesCindy Dyes
Science Specialist, STEM Lead
Region 9 ESC (Region 9)
2-year term, ends 2022

Bio: I have been a STAT member and attended CAST since the early ’90s. I am passionate about advancing science education for teachers and students in a variety of ways. I am a current member of STAT, TABT, ACT2, TSAAPT, and TCES. As a science educator since 1991 I have served in many rural school districts across Texas. I have taught science at every grade level from 6-12 including Biology, AP Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and IPC at the high school level. For the past eight years I have served as the K-12 science specialist and STEM Lead for Region 9 Education Service Center in Wichita Falls where I serve thirty-seven school districts through professional development and technical support. I develop and provide professional development for teachers and have presented at CAST, TCEA, TEKScon, and several regional conferences. I am a lifelong learner and devoted to providing the most up to date resources and information to teachers in our region and state. I look forward to participating on the STAT executive board as a member at large in order to connect with science educators across the state to continue the advancement of science in Texas. 

Position Statement: Science educators face many challenges; implementation of current TEKS, accountability of the STAAR, and district requirements and goals all while attempting to provide rich science instruction to ALL students. It is important to have science equity across the state of Texas, all students need access to quality science instruction, equipment, and resources. 

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will drive the future economy. Jobs in STEM fields are expected to increase tremendously and we must prepare students with quality instruction in these fields. Students must also be proficient in what is now considered the 7 C’s; Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Curiosity, Character, and Compassion. 

Inquiry and problem/project-based science will enable students to prepare for the thinking necessary to solve future issues. STAT has the ability to support teachers to prepare students in skills necessary for the future. A K-12 STEM program is in the works for Texas and will aid in providing the support teachers and districts need to integrate STEM skills. 

Early science education is important to promote the natural curiosity of young learners and needs to be extended through the elementary grades and high school. It is necessary for science to be taught in K-4 to cover the Science TEKS with the required time of 50-80% per elementary grade level spent on hands-on investigations. Science needs to be a priority in K-4. 

As a team, all science educators can work to improve and promote science teaching in the state of Texas. STAT provides the platform to enable the collaboration necessary in providing quality science education for ALL.