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TAG Members 2016

Carolyn M. Banks, PhD

Carolyn M. Banks, PhD, is a teacher at Spring Hill Middle School in Laurinburg, North Carolina. She earned a BSAS degree in Business from the University of North Carolina in Pembroke (UNCP) and a master’s degree in Technology Education from North Carolina A&T State University. Banks earned her PhD from Capella University in Leadership in Education Administration. Her dissertation, “STEM: Integrative Instructional Strategies Used by Effective Teachers in North Carolina,” focuses on five National Board-certified teachers in North Carolina and their instructional practices used to inspire and motivate their students to learn. Dr. Banks’ background includes working in the personnel/engineering departments of a local manufacturing plant. This experience has given her a unique understanding of how important it is for students to have twenty-first-century skills that will prepare them for the world of work.

Dr. Banks has served as a past president of the North Carolina Technology Educators Association (NCTEA). She is the TSA advisor and a national events coordinator. She is a National Board-certified teacher and will be recognized in Washington, D.C., as an ITEEA Program Excellence Award recipient in 2016 for her work with ITEEA, NSF, and Hofstra University, “Water Scarcity: A World in Crisis.”

Eliza Battles

Eliza Battles is from Southwest ISD in San Antonio, Texas. She’s married with three boys. Eliza taught in elementary for nine years, seven years with SWISD, and is now the district STEM specialist with SWISD. Southwest ISD is the district she grew up in and graduated from. It’s also the district her children are attending.

She is excited to be working in conjunction with Pitsco and Southwest ISD so that her children can have the opportunities that our future STEM workforce will provide. STEM is a passion for Eliza, and she is eager to share that passion with the administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community. The more exposure and opportunities we provide for our students, the better prepared they will be to be our future leaders.

Jonathan Boykin

Jonathan Boykin is a high school engineering teacher at Somerset High School in Texas. He has taught a wide variety of STEM courses, which include Algebra I and II, Geometry, Math Models, Graphic Design, Concepts of Engineering, Robotics, and Engineering Design & Presentation. Six years ago, he created a robotics program that has since gone on to receive multiple state awards and place at nationals on three occasions.

In addition to coaching his students to win, he has won several state and national awards in STEM competitions. Mr. Boykin has helped write district graduation plans that include multiple pathways to graduation, providing students in Somerset a multitude of choices that prepare them for their own individualized pathways. As the district’s STEM initiative has grown, he's had the privilege to watch the benefit those programs have provided to the district’s students. Mr. Boykin is currently finishing his master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is looking forward to helping increase students’ access to and opportunities in STEM education.

Paul Casey

Paul Casey is a Grades 6-8 STEM teacher at Norwayne Middle School in Fremont, North Carolina. He holds a BS in Technology Education from East Carolina University and has taught technology for more than 13 years. Paul is the advisor for the Norwayne Technology Student Association chapter and was named North Carolina State TSA Advisor of the Year in 2014, following a very successful year for his students.

He is currently working on a project with STEM East to set up a regional TSA competition. The focus of the project is to increase the number of eastern North Carolina TSA chapters. Paul also serves on the planning committee for the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce annual STEM Fair and facilitates problem-solving competitions at the STEM Fair. He has written several grants to bring new technology into his classroom. The latest was a $3,300 grant for 3-D printing in 2015. Paul and his wife, Michelle, have been married for 18 years. They have 14-year-old twin sons. Other than teaching and tinkering with technology, Paul enjoys coaching soccer. He is also an active member in his church, where he serves on the planning committee and as a traditional computer service operator.

Michael Clark

Michael Clark is a husband, father of one, STEM teacher, and assistant director for Volusia County’s CTE (Career and Technical Education) Program. Promoting hands-on, project-based learning is truly his mission! Michael’s passion for STEM education began when he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and was driven by his time spent working for an engineering company that manufactures and tests advanced underwater electrical and fiber-optic communication systems. Michael’s time at this company proved to be invaluable as he was working to solve real-world problems on a daily basis.

For example, much of his work consisted of testing and designing products that function for years in harsh environments such as the ocean floor. Needless to say, the transition into the classroom from the private sector was an easy one when the objective was getting students to see the real-world application of state standards and concepts. Through his classroom experience, Michael has discovered the need students have for materials that support STEM topics. His most successful lessons have involved Pitsco Modules, underwater and land robotics, Rube Goldberg contests, CO2 dragsters, and model rockets. These resources facilitate learning from a new perspective and provide an exciting hands-on approach. This approach is one that embodies his educational philosophy. As a middle school STEM educator, Michael will continually strive to bring content to life by providing students with the latest and greatest Pitsco resources!

Jackie Derr

Jackie Derr is in her 19th year of teaching in Ohio and is absolutely loving it! She began teaching late and worked in a medical office for several years while attending school in the evenings. This was a valuable experience, as Jackie designed education materials, websites and doctor presentations. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo in Business Education with Computer Emphasis and Vocational Certification. She received her master’s degree from the University of Toledo in Educational Technology.

While teaching business and technology for 12 years at the high school level, she started a multimedia class along with an end-of-year showcase. She’s currently in her seventh year at the junior high level and was chosen to teach the STEM program. Jackie is the codirector of WPJH (closed-circuit news broadcast), adviser of HIPP (High Impact Peer Program – a leadership and anti-bullying program), and a member of the safety and Jacket Way committees. She’s been a high school basketball coach and currently volunteers with youth travel basketball. She enjoys woodworking, playing in a church softball league, sports, spending time with family, and being by the water. Most recently, Jackie was featured in an article in the Oct-Nov 2015 edition of The Pitsco Network magazine.

Joan Gillman

Joan Gillman has had the pleasure of being a teacher for more than 30 years. Most of her experience has been in the middle school grades. She began her teaching career in the South Bronx, where she taught fifth grade. Other experiences included teaching fourth- and fifth-grade science at a public school in New Jersey. In the past eight years, Joan has been a middle school science teacher at the Calhoun School in New York City.

Throughout her teaching career, Joan has been highly involved in curriculum development. Because she is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary education and STEM learning, she always tries to implement these philosophies into the courses she teaches. Throughout her teaching career, Joan has given workshops at professional teacher conferences run by NSTA, STANYS, and ATIS.

In addition, she has had several articles published. “Constellations Are Out of This World – A Historical Look at Constellations and the Stories Behind Them” was published by STANYS. “Straw Rockets Are Out of This World” was published by NSTA in their magazine Science and Children. Joan also taught an astronomy workshop to middle and high school teachers at Math for America in New York City. As she continues her teaching career, she looks forward to instilling a love of learning in her students as well as the teachers she meets at professional conferences.

Karn Gustafson

Karn Gustafson is a teacher at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He teaches a Computer-Aided Drafting for Engineers, Computer-Aided Drafting for Architects, and Digital Film Production. Karn has been teaching for 20 years. He is currently the department chairman for the Career and Technical Education Department (CTE) and has actively participated in the Perkins Grant Program, which has allowed him to bring upwards of $50,000 worth of equipment to enrich his classroom and his students' learning. The Perkins grant has allowed him to begin development of a makerspace at Volcano Vista High School, which includes four 3-D printers, a laser cutter, and numerous power and hand tools. He is hoping to add a couple of desktop CNC mills next school year. He will also begin implementing student-led project-based learning classes next year. Karn has a bachelor’s degree in Health Education from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Learning Technologies from New Mexico State University.

In addition to being a CTE teacher, Karn is the father of two teenagers and has been married to his wonderful wife for 20 years. One of his favorite things to do is to watch students engage in classroom projects, especially when they find success and complete something they never thought they could do. He hopes to expand his engineering and architecture programs and is always looking for new and exciting ways to spark interest in his students.

Andrea Jaramillo

Andrea Jaramillo has been honored and peer-elected as Forman Elementary’s Teacher of the Year for 2013 and 2015 with an honorary distinction by Plano ISD for an Excellence in Teaching Award. Her areas of instructional expertise encompass the integration of academic language development through purposeful STEM projects enabling students to communicate, create, collaborate, and critically think to solve complex, meaningful problems that can be applied to our real world.

She earned a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis on English as a Second Language, from the University of North Texas. This has provided her with the foundational knowledge that she joins with her varied instructional experiences to deliver engaging workshops to other educators at conferences such as TABE and CAST and for LEGO® Education in which she highlights how she uses varying instructional materials across the curriculum to enhance all content areas.

An advocate for the development of the whole child, Andrea is the coordinator for several extracurricular clubs, for which she has written grants to receive funding, such as Beautiful Me, Boyz 2 Men, Future Engineers, and Junior Einsteins. She was also one among 50 educators nationwide who were selected by the NASA LiftOff Summer Institute for professional development on space education and engineering.

Lilly Jensby

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard. Lilly Jensby is a STEMthusiast who currently serves as a math instructional coach for a Title I elementary campus in Plano, Texas. She has worked with students in all grade levels, kindergarten through fifth, as well as with teachers as the campus New Teacher Mentor and the chair of the Technology Professional Learning Community (PLC). Her passion lies in the conviction that fostering creativity, critical thinking, and innovative practices helps prepare students for success. To this end, Lilly has cofounded Gadget Girls, an engineering initiative raising interest in STEM disciplines particularly for girls in Grades 3-5. She has also transformed her room into a math learning lab – a space filled with math-focused STEM activities. She is actively involved on her campus by contributing to the Learning Commons, after-school coding class, and technology workshops. One of her favorite endeavors has been developing and teaching STEMtastic Challenges, a district summer school course. In 2014, she was honored to present at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), and she was one of 50 educators selected nationally to attend NASA’s LiftOff Summer Institute.

Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter (@lillyjensby).  

Rob Jernigan

It all started with a hug and a handshake, like most departures. Rob received love from his mom and wisdom from his dad at his high school graduation. His mom told him to apply to a college and they would find a way to afford it. His dad said, “Join the Army and pay your own way through college.” Like any good son, he tried to make them both happy. Rob went to an Army ROTC camp during the summer and was awarded a scholarship to college. He just had to serve for eight years in order to repay them upon graduation. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science. His plan was to attend law school.

Graduation came and went and the Army, in its wisdom, assigned him to Infantry Officer Basic. The dream of law school died but not why you think. He fell in love with operating all the cool Army equipment and his job of training others in their use. After an honorable discharge and with too much time on his hands, Rob went back to school at the University of West Florida and graduated with a degree in Computer Science/Programming. He spent some time as a website administrator before the company was sold. It was time to make a decision and find a job. He decided to try teaching, as he has always had a knack for helping people and explaining new technologies. No real computer science teaching jobs were available at the time, so he started teaching math. Like many first-year teachers, he found himself teaching the struggling learners. It was hard but rewarding and he found his true calling.

Rob spent seven years learning the craft of teaching those that struggle to make it to school, much less focus on the task of learning. He doesn’t know to this day if what he did was the best way to teach struggling high school students (hands-on curriculum), but it was working and grades were improving. He was offered a job at his present middle school to teach gifted students Honors Math and Robotics (his dream job). He has taught at the Okaloosa STEMM Academy for three years going on four and gets up every morning trying to think of new ways to get kids to understand programming algorithms and math concepts. He can’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else but helping kids learn.

Mario Malabunga

Mario Malabunga is a CTE-STEM teacher in Sandy Grove Middle School, Hoke County, North Carolina. For the past year, he has been teaching STEM to students as well as other teachers. After graduating from college with a BS in Elementary Education, he began teaching STEM in many ways. With his passion for STEM, he continues to pursue a master of arts in education with a major in Educational Technology. This has helped him a lot, not just for his own professional development but also by enabling him to help aspiring teachers from different universities such as the University of North Carolina and the University of Phoenix as a supervising teacher for college interns.

Mario has traveled, giving free professional development about the use of technology in the classroom to teachers in rural areas. He has also been very involved with robotics as a coach for teams competing in WRO™, FLL®, Science Olympiad, and other robotics competitions. When he moved into his current county a decade ago as a teacher, STEM and robotics were unheard of. He immediately initiated a group of students to compete in robotics, where they were recognized for the first time. His initiative bloomed from a simple robotics event to a free statewide STEM competition focusing on robotics. Currently, he is leading STEM teachers in his district to participate in STEM competitions that he organizes annually and where hundreds of students compete in robotics games that he personally designed. Some of the awards he has received are Best Coach in FLL, Visiting International Faculty Cultural Ambassador Program Award, and Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service.

Jessica Malloy

Jessica Malloy is a STEM specialist at Christie Elementary in Plano, Texas. Jessica has worked on her campus to bring STEM to life for all students by being involved in a variety of grants that have brought materials to her students. Jessica has helped transform her school library from a traditional hushed vault of books into a vibrant and bustling collaboration hub now called the Learning Commons. She is obsessed with Learning Commons transformations, makerspaces, her Gadget Girls group, technology, and making.

The ongoing challenge for Jessica is to cultivate a creative climate for innovative thinking. Showing students how to solve complex problems in alternative formats using unexpected tools and techniques is where real learning happens. Jessica is passionate about defying stereotypes and changing educational definitions. She strives to think outside the box and break the mold of what a teacher is supposed to be.

Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter (@jess_malloy).

Aaron Maurer

Aaron Maurer is an instructional coach for Bettendorf Middle School. He has been in education for more than a decade teaching sixth-grade social studies, literature, and computer science as well as spending many years teaching gifted education in Grades 4-8 before taking on the new role of instructional coach.

Aaron is a member of the Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert program and was a finalist for the Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2014. He is an avid fan of STEM, makerspaces, and project-based learning. He has launched a new engineering program called Young Engineers of Today and also coaches three robotics teams.

In his free time he loves to spend time with his three kids, Aiden, Addyson, and Ava, and their new bulldog, Frankie May, and act like the fourth child to his wife, Amanda. Last, he is an avid coffee consumer frequently spotted wearing bow ties searching for the perfect cup of joe. You can find all his work on his website, www.coffeeforthebrain.com. Tweet him at @coffeechugbooks.

Holly Neill

Holly Neill was born and raised in the Oregon Willamette Valley, where she attended George Fox University. In 2012, she finished her master of science in Environmental Science, studying air quality in the Columbia River Gorge. The study looked at the effects of Portland’s air pollution and how transport of the pollution affects secondary organic aerosol formation. As Science Department chair, she is active in grant writing and professional development for the school. She has received several grants, including two American Chemical Society-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grants for research on nitrogen deposition in local water bodies and a Toshiba grant to support water-quality analysis in a local water body.

Holly began teaching at Life Christian School in the fall of 2012 and has volunteered as the Science Olympiad co-coach since 2009. She teaches high school science classes and college-credit environmental science and coaches Science Olympiad, Chem Club, and National Honor Society. As coach of the science team, she helps her students compete in You Be The Chemist, eCYBERMISSION, Science Olympiad, Team America Rocketry Challenge, MATE Underwater Robotics, and Envirothon. In 2014, Holly was selected as a Siemens STEM Academy Fellow. Holly loves hiking and camping, especially in the Pacific Northwest. She is married to Erik Neill, and they live in Hillsboro with their dog, Tesla, and cat, Schrödinger.

Sandra Parker

Sandra Parker has 19 years of teaching experience including middle school, fourth grade, and fifth grade. She has taught in Texas, Georgia, and Alabama. She received her bachelor of science in Interdisciplinary Studies in Elementary Education from Texas State University and received a master of education in Early Childhood from Piedmont College in Georgia.

Currently, Sandra is teaching third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade STEM at Highlands School in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the department chair for Science. This is her first year to teach STEM using Pitsco products, and it has been a fabulous experience for her and her students. She hopes that through STEM, we enable our students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers by collaborating with others to build a better tomorrow. She is married with one child. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Jerry Peterson

Jerry Peterson graduated from Thayer High School in Thayer, Kansas, in 1992. He then went on to Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kansas, where he completed an associate’s degree. From there, he transferred to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, graduating with a BSEd in 1997. During his professional semester, he was able to gain valuable teaching experience at Pittsburg Middle School working in the Synergistic (Pitsco) Modules lab, where he greatly enjoyed facilitating student learning and watching students learn.

After graduating, Jerry accepted a teaching position in the Park Hill School District teaching technology education at Lakeview Middle School in Kansas City, Missouri. During his first year, the district installed its first Synergistic (Pitsco) Modules lab at both middle schools. In 2001, he completed a master’s in Education degree from Park University. In 2005, he transferred to Plaza Middle School, which was becoming a sixth-grade center. That year, a Pitsco Missions lab was implemented for their sixth-grade technology program. This is his ninth year at Plaza and 18th year in the Park Hill District. He also enjoys coaching eighth-grade girls' basketball in the district. He has been happily married since 1996 and has two great daughters, ages 14 and seven.

Tony Ponce

Tony Ponce graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, with a five-year degree in Architecture. He worked as an architect for four years, teaching architecture courses at the local community college in the evenings. Four years later, he discovered his true calling, teaching middle school students industrial arts. He finally felt at home! Thirty-eight years of teaching at the junior high school level, combined with his years of being a student, has taught him that there are two things that will excite students about learning: relevance to what is going on in the real world and exposure to the many career opportunities that are available to them.

Tony's students not only created wood shop projects, they also created a small mass production lab where they would create and sell their projects – everything from award-winning custom jewelry boxes to clocks. Later on, a plastics lab was added where the students were learning the scientific basics of plastics, various types, where they could get the raw materials for plastic, and its various uses.

Then, 15 years ago, he assisted in starting the school’s first Synergistic (Pitsco) lab. He was in heaven. He wanted his students to embrace the opportunities of education and become the professionals of tomorrow. He researched various programs before deciding to make the drastic move. He put his career at risk venturing into new waters but felt the responsibility to take the challenge. He teaches! His feels his obligation is to better students’ lives, and this surely means preparing them for their future.

Last year, his school upgraded the labs to the Pitsco ITC Modules and continually adjusts the Modules to fit the needs of the lower socioeconomic community. Tony believes that every child can succeed, and will succeed, if they are expected and allowed to succeed. He enjoys seeing students’ eyes light up as they see the relationships among the math, science, and language arts classes they have taken and how they tie in with the various technology experiences that they enjoy in the Exploring Technology Lab.

Greg Reiva

Greg Reiva is completing his 20th year teaching science at Streamwood High School in Streamwood, Illinois. Since his first day as a teacher, Greg has been committed to bringing forth a hands-on and project-based method of delivering science education to his students. Entering the field of education after 12 years in business, Greg is committed to making a difference in the lives of students. As a career-changer, Greg was at the point in his career where he felt that his abilities and interests could most effectively be utilized as a science teacher at the middle school or high school level. He took his idealistic view of progress, opportunity, and commitment and applied it to his newfound vocation, educating the youth of our country.

This idealism served him well as he progressed educationally from the bachelor level to the master level and most recently to the doctoral level at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. By far his greatest achievement to date has been the design of project-based models of learning in the science classroom as an integral part of student learning. Greg is committed to bringing forth twenty-first-century models of learning that help the students meet the intellectual challenges of this new century.

Maria Rosato

Maria Rosato has worked as an educator and robotics enthusiast since 1986, teaching all subjects, but her favorites have always been robotics, physics, and leadership. In 2009, she left the classroom and began working with the Greensboro Science Center as an instructor for the after-school program, and she went on to become the robotics coordinator at GSC.

Her desire has always been to excite children and engage them in the areas of math, engineering, technology, art, leadership, and science (METALS™). Maria has combined her interest in education and engineering with her passion for working with youth through teaching in public and private schools as well as after-school programs, running robotics teams, developing curriculum, mentoring, and developing programs for children in Grades K-12. Maria received two teaching degrees from Saint John’s University and completed her postgraduate work at State University of New York, Stony Brook. Recognizing the passion and need to empower children in the areas of METALS and the opportunity to continue to partner more extensively with the community to support educational development programs through the year for local schools, she founded e3 Robotics in 2014, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a lifelong interest in math, engineering, technology, art, leadership, and science.

Debra Rouse

Debra Rouse is currently serving as the K-6 STEM specialist, which is a newly created position, for the North Cedar Community School District in Lowden and Mechanicsville, Iowa. She facilitates the Pitsco Missions at the 3-6 levels and teaches Pitsco's Exploring Structures in Literature Elementary STEM Unit (Grades K-2) as well in both elementary facilities. She is also the assistant coach for the Grades 5-6 FIRST® LEGO® League teams.

In 1994, Debra Rouse graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her degree in Elementary and Middle School Education. In the fall of 1995, she took a position in the newly formed North Cedar Community School District serving Lowden, Clarence, Stanwood, and Mechanicsville, Iowa, teaching Title I Mathematics at both elementary centers. She has also taught third and fourth grades at the Lowden and Mechanicsville Elementary Centers.

She has served on various committees for improving curriculum and instruction, enhancing the learning environment, and integrating technology into the classroom. Debra and her husband of 20 years, Tyler, have a 16-year-old son who takes classes for high school and college credit and a 10-year-old daughter, both in the gifted program, and two rambunctious dogs. Debra enjoys reading and helping care for and show their small herd of Miniature Hereford cattle.

Gary Scholtens

Gary Scholtens loves facilitating innovative classes, curriculum that works well, and really good pizza. As a Pitsco Synergistic lab instructor for the past 17 years, he has had the privilege of working with thousands of students and seeing what an excellent curriculum can do to trigger those lightbulb moments. Gary also teaches Digital Learning classes to fifth and sixth graders. Units include digital citizenship, augmented reality, coding to create games and programming drone flights, and going deeper into Google Docs.

He also is a building-level tech integrationist that helps his school’s staff to be better in their 1:1 setting. Prior to his current loves, Gary taught instrumental music at the middle school level for 17 years and still keeps active playing in a band. When he’s not teaching students and staff, you can find him creating woodworking projects, biking, volunteering for nonprofits, or answering the question “What?” for the eleventy-bajillionth time.

Sheryl Sotelo

Sheryl Sotelo has been teaching for 31 years, seven years in Arizona and 24 years in Alaska. She has taught intermediate elementary grades, middle school and elementary special services, and the intermediate level in a Montessori school. She has taught in the rural Alaskan villages of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island and Unalakeet in the Bering Strait School District. Sheryl and her husband, Ed, taught at a two-teacher K-8 school in Cooper Landing, Alaska.

She utilizes a science thematic approach and project-based learning in her teaching. Projects include citizen science and environmental monitoring programs, robotics programs, interpretive archaeological trails and student digs, outdoor education programs, a student-written and student-published trail guide to Kenai Peninsula plants and animal signatures – a trail guide to animal tracks and scat, Cooper Landing Museum brown bear articulated skeleton in a permanent display, and Bear in a Box – a traveling brown bear skeleton that can be assembled and taken apart for reassembly. Sheryl holds a bachelor of science degree in Education with a content emphasis in Science, a dual teaching certification in K-8 education and K-12 special education, and a Montessori Intermediate Level Certification. She has also received a masters of arts in Teaching and a School Administrative credential.

Charlotte Waddell

Charlotte Waddell, a North Carolina native, lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her husband, Wade. She has a son, Andrew. Charlotte received a master’s degree from Appalachian State University in Instructional Technology and has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Winston-Salem State University.

Before becoming a teacher, she worked in sales and marketing. She is a member of Kernersville Lions Club and Alpha Delta Kappa, Pi Chapter. Charlotte is a past member and treasurer of the Forsyth County Reading Association. She has been active in the North Carolina Association of Educators and served in multiple executive board offices of Forsyth County Association of Educators. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her almost two-year-old grand-angel, Emilee.

Monica Whitehead

Monica Whitehead was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she attended North Carolina State University. She earned a BEDA (bachelor of environmental design – architecture) from NCSU in 1987 and a master’s degree in Technology Education from North Carolina A&T State University in 1992. She became a National Board-certified teacher in Career and Technical Education in 2006.

Monica’s been teaching STEM for more than 24 years at the middle school, high school, and community college levels. Over the years, she has written several successful grants that have enabled her to do in-depth, hands-on activities with her students. Monica’s favorite times in class are when students are so excited about the projects they are working on that they lose track of time and say, “Is class over already?” She’s been a TSA advisor for more than 12 years, traveling to numerous regional, state, and national competitions with her students. She currently teaches in the STEM cluster at Scotland High School in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Her hobbies include traveling, snow skiing, water skiing, reading, and spending time with her husband, James, and daughters, Olivia and Isabella.