2024–2025 Executive Board Slate

The Science Teachers Association of Texas (STAT) Nominating Committee has selected the following candidates to serve on the 2024–2025 STAT Executive Board. If elected by acclamation, these slated candidates will join continuing 2024–2025 Executive Board members in service to STAT beginning June 1, 2024.

Read the slated candidates' bios and position statements below.

View the Full 2024–2025 STAT Executive Board Slate
Learn More About the Nomination/Election Process


Christina HotchkinCathrine Prenot

Instructional Coach
Lubbock ISD (Region 17)

Bio: Cathrine Prenot first became an educator because of the excitement of learning–she would arrive home with three pairs of safety glasses stacked atop her head, two pencils holding up her hair, and the voices of students' learning ringing in her head. She discovered early on the power of hands-on learning. From a Teach for America candidate in East Palo Alto, California, to a K–12 science teacher in a small rural school district in Colorado, to now a project-based learning instructional coach and eighth-grade science teacher on the High Plains of the Llano Estacado, she has created environments of scientific thinking and learning. Her students evaluate scientific arguments, work collaboratively, investigate laboratory questions, and connect their learning to real-world applications. She is driven to help students become scientifically literate, engaged, and adaptable young citizens.

Cathrine earned her bachelor's degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and her Master of Education with a STEM focus from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. She has been honored to work with organizations to continue her own education and impact student learning, including the Gates Foundation (Literary Design Initiative), NOAA (Teacher at Sea), NASA, SETI (Voyages Through Time), the Japan Fulbright Administration, the National Science Foundation (Research Experience for Teachers), the Toyota Institute for International Education, the National Geographic Society (certified educator), and the National Institute for School Leadership.

She describes STAT's vision—to establish STAT as the resource for science education in Texas so that all students are scientifically and technologically literate, responsible, and productive citizens—as intricately combined with her own personal vision. She also describes her work with STAT at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) and serving as a board member as truly inspiring.

Position Statement: I continue to work in education because I saw that once students were excited to learn, they were able to overcome great obstacles. I am inspired to coach other educators to develop a culture of thinking, joy, "true grit," and determination (Hunter & Barker, 1987) in their classes as well. Rural small and large urban districts both share students with deep achievement gaps, and having students "creat(e) meaning from experience" (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 55) has brought results to both groups.

Furthermore, I hold a deep love of project-based learning. Delivering content through PBL allows students to extend their thinking and have real-world context for their learning. My students and those of teachers I coach investigate (fake) urine samples to determine patients with diabetes, take on the role of “physics adrenaline junkies” who design amusement parks, study symbioses through research projects with parasitic wasps, hold chemistry cocktail parties where they share their "social media element pages," conduct multiyear research projects at forest fire sites to learn succession, and look at playa lake water to explore biodiversity. The end result is young teachers and classrooms of students who are becoming the next generation of STEM thinkers.

I see the world through the lens of science, and my goal as an educator is to inspire others to become engaged and connected to the world around them. I am passionate about creating and supporting science learning experiences for students and educators, and I want to continue to work on the board to bridge gaps for new teachers and develop relationships in the science community that strengthen programs, influence, and impact, such as coordination with colleges, universities, and other organizations, such as NSTA.


Ariana KayAriana Kay

Engineering Science and Engineering Design High School Teacher Teacher
Aledo ISD (Region 11)

Bio: Ariana Kay is an esteemed educator with a rich background and a deep commitment to bridging educational gaps across Texas. With 13 years of experience in Texas education and an additional 2 years teaching physics and math in Grenada, a Caribbean island, her journey reflects a global perspective on learning.

Originally from Grenada, West Indies, Ariana brings her unique insights and passions to her current role as the engineering science and design teacher and assistant robotics coach in Aledo ISD.

Her earlier tenure as the district science coordinator for Refugio ISD in South Texas saw her teaching physics and AP Environmental Science. Ariana's dedication to educational innovation was evident through her establishment of AP Environmental Science programs for which she developed engaging curricula aimed at student success.

Ariana's commitment to educational equity is a cornerstone of her career. Her efforts to adapt education to meet the diverse needs of communities were part of her mission on the RISD Leadership Committee. This dedication to equity was recognized when she was honored as the STAT Outstanding High School Science Teacher of the Year for her exemplary physics teaching at Crosby High School in 2018. Further extending her impact, Ariana has served on the STAT Executive Board and various TEA committees, including the TEA State Review Panel for Physics and Engineering.

Beyond her institutional roles, Ariana has significantly contributed to the professional development of educators through her work with Amplify Science and Prosolve. Her emphasis on experiential learning and technology integration in education reflects her passion for bridging the educational divide between rural and urban areas in Texas. Her presentations at CAST and other professional development sessions have shared valuable strategies for enhancing student engagement and active learning.

Ariana's educational foundation includes a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Midwestern State University and a Master of Education in learning and technology from Western Governors University. Her commitment to professional growth and contribution to the scientific community is evident through her involvement in NSF-funded research projects, such as a recent study on the volcanology of the Andes Mountains. Ariana's work embodies a relentless pursuit to ensure equal educational opportunities for all students, irrespective of their geographical location.

Position Statement: With a rich tapestry of experiences as both a learner from a developing country and a leader in Texas's science education landscape, my commitment to transforming science teaching and learning is profound. My journey through education, marked by a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in learning and technology, alongside roles spanning from a high school engineering, physics, and AP Environmental Science teacher to a district science coordinator and professional learning specialist, has cultivated a deep understanding of the intricate challenges and vast opportunities within science education.

My tenure with the STAT Executive Board has been characterized by advocacy for policy enhancements and a dedication to narrowing the educational divide between rural and urban schools in our state. I perceive science as a conduit for igniting curiosity, fostering creativity, and nurturing critical thinking skills. This perspective has guided my teaching philosophy, ensuring that science education is both relevant and accessible to all students, thereby encouraging a lifelong passion for exploration and discovery.

Envisioning a future where STAT leads with a commitment to equity in science education, professional development for educators, and the embrace of innovative teaching methodologies, I am deeply invested in strengthening STEM education. This commitment is aimed at empowering students in underrepresented areas, ensuring they have equal opportunities to pursue science-based careers.

Throughout my career, accolades such as being named the Outstanding High School Science Teacher of the Year and securing pivotal grants for enhancing science learning environments have underscored my ability to effect meaningful change. These achievements reflect a steadfast dedication to elevating science education at every level.

My ambition for STAT involves harnessing our collective expertise to foster educational practices that are at the forefront of innovation, ensuring that teachers across Texas are equipped with the necessary resources and support. This vision is grounded in the belief that through collaborative efforts, we can inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators who are prepared to address the world's most pressing challenges with ingenuity and perseverance.

In sum, my vision for the future of science education in Texas is one where every student is inspired by the wonders of science, every teacher is empowered with the tools for success, and our community is united in the pursuit of excellence and innovation in STEM education.

Board Member

Elizabeth BinghamElizabeth Bingham

PK–5 STEM Teacher
Argyle ISD (Region 11)

Bio: Elizabeth Bingham graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in zoology biomedical science. Later, she earned her Master of Education, specializing in the integration of math and science and reflective teaching. Throughout her career, she has taught science and math at various grade levels, and currently serves as a PK–5 STEM Teacher in Argyle ISD.

She has extensive experience teaching in diverse districts and campuses, enriching her perspective on educational issues and promoting scientific literacy. Elizabeth has contributed as a science and outdoor learning curriculum writer for multiple school districts and collaborated with educational programs, such as the Texas Curriculum Management Program Cooperative (TCMPC) TEKS Resource System.

Her professional involvement extends to grant programs like Simply Outrageous Science, SMARTTEL, iSMART, and EdBoot Camp with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). Elizabeth has also facilitated professional learning for science teachers across different districts and presented at educational conferences.

Recognized for her excellence, she has been nominated for prestigious awards, including the Ernest and Sarah Butler Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). She has held roles such as science department chair and mentor teacher, and has participated in various district and regional leadership teams. Her commitment to education is evident through her involvement in professional development and leadership roles, making a lasting impact on STEM education.

Position Statement: I seek to utilize my strengths in strategic thinking, including achievement, futuristic thinking, learning, input, and creative ideation, to contribute meaningfully as a member of STAT Executive Board. My vision aligns with STAT's mission of dismantling the traditional confines of classrooms to promote collaboration among teachers statewide, fostering professional growth, and nurturing students' curiosity in the realm of science.

With an inherent talent for gathering insights and ideas through active listening and collaboration, I plan to leverage my strong input skills to engage with all stakeholders within committees, task forces, workgroups, and the wider STAT community. By embracing curiosity and seeking diverse perspectives, I aim to cultivate an inclusive environment that values every voice and viewpoint.

My forward-thinking approach allows me to envision the future of science education in intricate detail, propelling me to advocate tirelessly for the advancement of science literacy, educators' support, beneficial legislation, and enhanced learning opportunities. As a board member, I aspire to combine the multifaceted perspectives of others into a cohesive action plan that drives excellence throughout STAT.

I am dedicated to representing educators in underserved districts, offering them collaborative opportunities with fellow STAT members and advocating for the association's resources to reach a wider audience. By fostering connections and bridging gaps in understanding, I seek to empower teachers to utilize STAT's offerings effectively to meet their diverse needs.

In my role as a board member, I commit to amplifying the diverse viewpoints within the STAT community, drawing on my professional experiences in districts of varying sizes and socioeconomic statuses to ensure that science teachers across the state receive tailored support and resources. My ultimate goal is to facilitate an inclusive, innovative, and impactful environment within STAT that propels science education forward.

By joining STAT's volunteer leadership, I aim to contribute my unique blend of strengths and experiences to drive positive change, foster collaboration, and elevate the quality of science education for all.

Board Member

Nicole LyssyNicole Lyssy

Instructor and Curriculum Designer
International Academy of Sciences (Region 10)

Bio: Nicole Lyssy graduated from Texas A&M University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and continued additional undergraduate and graduate coursework to complete a 6–12 composite science certificate in spring 2000.

Her teaching career started in Bryan ISD, where she coached swimming, taught chemistry, was a member of the campus steering committee, and wrote curriculum for the district. She attended the first of many CASTs and was blown away by the amazing experience. In 2003, she and her family moved to North Texas, and she went to work for the district she graduated from—Plano ISD. At Plano West Senior High School, Nicole taught IPC, on-level chemistry, on-level physics, honors chemistry, and lots of AP Chemistry over the years. She wrote curriculum for the district, acted as team leader for chemistry, planned and presented district professional development, and actively mentored both teachers and students.

Nicole began participating with Associated Chemistry Teachers of Texas (ACT2) around 2010, attending regional meetings and the biennial conference. In 2018, she accepted the role of President-Elect, entering into a whirlwind of opportunities and service with the intent of improving science education.

Over the years, Nicole has been honored to receive the Texas Instrument STEM award, several mentorship awards for science fair, and a Yale educator recognition.

In the fall of 2019, Nicole identified that some family needs required more flexibility than a traditional teaching role and she pivoted to a set of more varied opportunities. She is now a curriculum developer for an online school, where she oversees the IPC, chemistry, and AP Chemistry courses. She also tutors, substitute teaches, and presents science professional development around the country.

Position Statement: STAT has been shaping me from the first moments of my career, although I didn't know it. As a new science teacher, I was blissfully unaware that professional organizations existed until my district sent all the new science teachers to this conference called CAST. It was eye-opening and wonderful, and I know it was one of the experiences that helped me survive through the difficult first years. It would be many years and many CASTs before I actually knew STAT was the organization and CAST was "just" the conference. I want to be a part of changing that mentality. 

One of my goals is to help STAT continue to broaden its influence and reach. I want to be a part of growing our membership by providing other professional development opportunities outside of CAST. In my time as an affiliate board member representative, I have observed that STAT has already begun this process. I hope to help bolster current programs and guide them toward the methods and programs that are the most beneficial for today’s educators. After all, today's educators have new challenges to contend with every day, and our methods and professional development must address those needs. I also hope to help expand the offerings at CAST and beyond to include more of the elective science courses now available through the TEKS. 

I participated in the SBOE documents review this summer and I have begun to pay a little bit more attention to educational legislation. It seems that some highly partisan individuals are coalescing to challenge public education overall and, in some cases, science education. I strongly desire to support the students and teachers of Texas through thoughtfully designed and documented educational research. I hope to be a part of this organization that helps educators gain knowledge and access to the research that supports making district and classroom decisions that are in the best interest of creating science informed citizens and critical thinkers. 

Finally, my own experiences as a mother of two "neuro-spicy" children (as my friends say) have significantly altered both the way I teach and the way I live. I see many of the values I have personally grown to hold in the STAT mission. In my time on the STAT Advisory Board, I have seen that STAT is about helping all students and all teachers. One of my wishes for STAT is to have the opportunity to educate not only on the science content, but also on how to reach the whole student on their level and in their needs. The other part of that equation is to educate ourselves, as educators, on how to advocate for ourselves in the face of never-ending expectations and demands on our time. 

I know STAT already has a mission and goals in place. I am fully in alignment with those goals, and I would be honored to move them forward.