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Arizona science teachers chosen for leadership program

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  • Tom Safranek/Yuma Union High School District and Anna Lieggi-Nadler/Paradise Valley Unified School District


The Arizona Science Teachers Association in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education has announced that 29 teachers from around the state have been selected for the Developing Teacher Leaders Program.

Among those teachers is Kim Atkins from San Luis High School.

Arizona science teachers chosen for leadership program ScienceTeacherProject318“I am excited to be a part of the ASTA’s developing leaders program.  The program will run the course of a school year and allow me the opportunity to collaborate with science teachers and administrators around the state of Arizona to better understand A framework for K-12 science education,” said Atkins.

The science teachers will be trained to provide professional development to other teachers in Arizona. The idea of the program is for those selected to be “elements of change” at their respective districts and across the state using research based pedagogy.

“The model includes 3 parts that work together to drive student knowledge as well as inquiry to understand ideas in science.  I am looking forward to developing my 21st century skills as a teacher so my students are prepared to succeed in college and the work force when they leave high school,” Atkins said.

ASTA will couple face-to-face professional development via a science conference, Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol training,  and regional professional development meetings with on-line communities to develop relationships among ten teacher leaders (mentors) with ten novice teachers (protégés).

The program will develop capacity of regional teacher leaders by extending teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge of conference strands with on-going, on-line teacher and mentor-protégé affinity groups that are reinforced in regional face-to-face professional development programs.

Arizona science teachers chosen for leadership program ScienceTeachers318This professional development program specifically targets the vision and implementation of researched based, best practices for science education as documented in the Framework, and gives teachers the knowledge and skills to be change agents in their schools, districts, and the state.

As noted in the Framework, “science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life, and they also hold the key to meeting many of the humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges” and yet too many people do not have the skill set or knowledge in these areas.

With that challenge, the Framework has provided the structure for a new approach to K-12 science education based upon research on teaching and learning science, which includes that science education should be built around three dimensions:

1) Scientific and Engineering Practices

2) Crosscutting Concepts

3) Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following teachers will participate in the Developing Teacher Leaders Program:

Aminah Abdelahaq                                        Mesa Public Schools

Annika DiVittorio                                        Flagstaff Unified School District

Bethany Ligon                                                   Apache Junction Unified School District

Colleen Howard                                               Mesa Public Schools

Cynthia Messieha                                                        Agua Fria

Lenora Higuera                                                Yuma Elementary School District 1

Karen McGuinness                                        Alhambra Elementary School

Reiannon Metz                                                 Parker Unified School District

Christine Mendoza                                        Liberty School District

Duane Sommers                                              Charter School

Janice Enrico                                                      Charter School

Janice Mak                                                          Paradise Valley Unified School District

Jason Hall                                                            Dysart

Kimberly Adkins                                               Yuma Union

Celeste Lucier                                                   Kingman Academy of Learning

Mandy Heal                                                        Mesa Public Schools

Marie Kervin                                                      Lake Havasu Schools

Meg Gebert                                                         Tucson Unified School District

Michelle Butteri                                              Parker Unified School District

Patricia Barrett                                                Diocese of Tucson

Renu Singh                                                           Phoenix Union

Sharon Goldwasser                                       Vail Public Schools

Stuart Charlip                                                    Agua Fria

Svea Anderson                                                  Tanque Verde School District

Terri Lake                                                             Diocese of Phoenix

Kelly Tommasino                                            Paradise Valley Unified School District

Steve Wallgren                                                 Dysart

Wendy Gilbert                                                  San Carlos

Cheryl Wright                                                    Yuma Elementary School District 1

Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA)

 ASTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University. ASTA demonstrates leadership in science education in the state by organizing and participating in statewide reform initiatives and provides leadership opportunities for members who wish to serve on committees and promote quality science education in their school and community.

Visit the ASTA website ( to learn more about our organization and how you can get involved!


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Arizona Department of Education

For more information about the Arizona Department of Education and its initiatives, visit


For more information, please contact Tom Safranek, 928-502-6100,