California Science Teachers Association Awards Winners
CSTA logo CSTA - California Science Teachers Association
California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association

Award Winners

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year's group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year's recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: "He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program." Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter: "John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future."

CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award

The CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award honors an organization, institution or foundation which has made a sustained, significant impact to science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning. This year's awardees are the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd and the California Science Project.

K-12 Alliance @ WestEd

The K-12 Alliance has been a leader in science professional development in California for the past 23 years. Over the years their funding sources have shifted and the grade bands to which they provided the bulk of their PD changed accordingly. Through California Science Implementation Network (CSIN), Science Partnerships for Articulation and Networking (SPAN), and Scope. Sequence, & Coordination (SS&C) program, the K-12 Alliance has impacted more than 6,000 schools, 175,000 teachers. Their current efforts focus on a dozen K-8 early NGSS implementing districts.

Throughout their two dozen years of work, several things have remained consistent. They provide high quality professional learning opportunities for educators. Their staff is well prepared, knowing content, pedagogy, and facilitation. Teachers leave having learned and with increased confidence in their abilities to teach science.

The K-12 Alliance and its staff, including statewide director Kathy DiRanna, have played a critical part in all aspects of the California Next Generation Science Standards. From review and adoption to curriculum framework development and NGSS Statewide Symposium Rollout writing and presenting, the K-12 Alliance has been there every step of the way.

California Science Project

The California Science Project (CSP) has been a major provider of science professional development and leadership in California for many years. Many of California’s leaders in science education have connections to CSP having risen through the ranks from teacher to teacher-leader to CSP Site Director or Science Curriculum Leader at a County Office. Many other science education leaders and advocates are products of CSP PD.

In addition to the countless hours of professional learning opportunities provided by CSP, the organization has been involved in all things NGSS in California. Most notably, under the leadership of Dr. Maria Simani, CSP took on the huge task of writing, re-writing and re-writing the California Curriculum Framework document. In addition, CSP has played a major role in the review of NGSS (serving on the Science Expert Panel), the development of the State’s Implementation Timeline, writing and leading sessions for the NGSS Statewide Rollouts, and more.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)

CSTA annually partners with the California Department of Education to honor the California science teacher state finalists and recipients of the PAEMST. The PAEMST are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Upon announcing the 2014 and 2015 recipients of the PAEMST, President Obama said: "The recipients of this award are integral to ensuring our students are equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are vital to our Nation's success. As the United States continues to lead the way in the innovation that is shaping our future, these excellent teachers are preparing students from all corners of the country with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills that help keep us on the cutting-edge."

This year, CSTA joins the California Department of Education in recognizing the following individuals:

2014 PAEMST Recipient: Erica Rood, CHIME Charter School (Grade K-6 Cohort)

2015 PAEMST Recipient: Michael Towne, Citrus Hill High School (Grades 7-12 Cohort)

2016 California State Finalists:

  • Dr. Susan Barkdoll, North Verdemont Elementary School, San Bernardino City Unified School District
  • Saroda Chattopadhyay, Grimmer Elementary School, Fremont Unified School District
  • Scott MacMillan, Heron School, Natomas Unified School District
  • Julie McGough, Valley Oaks Elementary School, Clovis Unified School District
  • Nancy Wright, Lorin Eden Elementary School, Hayward Unified School District