2022 WSST Board of Directors  Candidates 

 

 

 

 

 

RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT: Kristin Michalski, Big Bend

Position Statement and Vision

This is my 29th year teaching science and 25th year as a WSST member. In that time, I have served as secretary on WSST’s executive board, presented at conferences, and co-chaired a con- ference. As the 2015 conference co-chair, I arranged our statewide conference for over 550 participants and modernized our organization by setting up online conference registration for members. In addition, I built our first conference mobile app and have done so every year since. This allowed participants to view the conference schedule digitally and receive real-time announcements.

These activities positively impacted me as a learner and educator. My participation in WSST keeps me up to date on emerging technology, educational practices, and how to analyze and reflect on my teaching, increasing the equity of access for my rural students.

Budgets in many districts are shrinking and WSST is one of the most valuable, little to no cost resources for teachers. I would like to bring new insights to WSST and continue to find ways to involve our members in new (low cost) technologies such as podcasts and/or webinars. Finally, students’ problem-solving skills are the forefront for tomorrow’s careers. As your presi- dent, I would support inquiry/phenomenon- based curriculum development and experiences to develop the problem solvers of tomorrow. I would be grateful for the opportunity to contin- ue contributing to our organization as your president of the WSST organization.

Background Education

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, BS- Broadfield Science, University of Wisconsin- River Falls, MS-Physics Teaching

Present Teaching Assignment

Physics and Foundations of Chemistry and Physics Teacher, East Troy High School, East Troy, WI

 

Professional Activities

WSST Conference Planning Committee; Conference App Chair 2015-present; WSST Conference Planning Committee 2015 Co- chair; Presidential Award in Excellence in Science and Mathematics State Finalist, 2017 and 2021; National Board-Certified Teacher 2008-present; and Co-facilitator of Milwaukee Area Physics Share (MAPS)

Professional Organizations:

WSST, Milwaukee Area Physics Share (MAPS), NBPTS (National Boards), Wisconsin and Association of Physics Teachers (WAPT)

Interests:

Drawing pet portraits

RUNNING FOR SECRETARY: Stephanie Baker, Wonewoc

Position Statement and Vision

I have served on the WSST board as secretary for the past 3 years and I have really enjoyed it. WSST has long served as an advocate for

science education, and I hope to contribute to positive changes and maintenance of science education in the state of Wisconsin by serving as secretary. I would like to give something back to an organization that has helped me increase my content knowledge, improve my methods, and meet many positive energetic professional teachers, etc. I have multiple teaching experi- ences in grades K-8 ranging from urban settings in Knoxville, TN, and La Crosse, WI, to rural Wisconsin that will help me relate/help WSST continue to help science teachers. I believe that being a member of WSST is valuable because it allows greater access to teaching resources, including convention sessions, professional development opportunities, and other teachers who can share their ideas.

Background Information

Bachelor of Science from UW-La Crosse, Master of Arts in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Reading Specialist 317

 

Present Teaching Assignment

Middle School Science at Wonewoc-Center Schools, grades 6-8 in earth, life, and physical science, Technology teacher

 

Professional Activities

WSST Secretary (2019- present), A LOT of Science physical workshop (2012-2014), UW-La Crosse physical science workshop (2015-2016), iTEAMS physical science work- shop (2017-2018), TAP mentor teacher (2009-2012)

Professional Organizations

WSST, ISTE, MESTA (Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association)

Interests

Hiking, camping, reading, yoga, triathlons, travel, spending time with my family

RUNNING FOR SECRETARY: Kathy Biernat, Franklin

Position Statement and Vision

Yeats wrote, “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire”. Perhaps it sounds cliché to say that I dreamed of being a teacher all of my life- yet there is truth to that statement. While it took me a few tries to finally find my vocation, nothing matches the feeling when you see the fire passed to a student who is engaged in a lesson. I do not have science students. I have student scientists. This is an important difference. One student explains, “A science student sounds like someone who is reading a textbook. A student scientist is someone who is doing science”. I agree! I give students opportunities to be scien- tists as they learn problem-solving skills, practice teamwork skills and think outside the box. I am a facilitator - I help students make meaning out of their world and better understand nature, their bodies and the universe.

I give students tools that they can use through- out their lives, no matter what direction or field they may enter. I strive to achieve a balance between engaging their hands to create and engineer and engaging their minds to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. Students must expe- rience both success and failure. They must have the time and freedom to find their strengths and the encouragement to over- come their weaknesses. Science doesn’t always turn out the way you had hoped, but learning from a failure teaches students they don’t have to be “right” to be learning. Hands on...minds on, that’s my classroom! I have served on several national boards and 

just completed a six year term as Secretary of the National Middle Level Science Teacher Association. I have received five national teach- ing awards and do professional development every chance I can. I love to present (53 local, regional or national presentations in the last 10 years) and I love to share my love of learning with everyone - from preservice and new teachers to “seasoned” teachers.

The opportunity to serve as secretary of WSST would be an exciting opportunity for me. I would like to see WSST engaging more teachers with more frequent learning opportunities and social opportunities. It often feels difficult to “break in” to an organization. I would like to help teachers feel more welcome to be a part of WSST and more active in the organization.

 

Background Education

BS: Marquette University
MS: University of North Texas

Present Teaching Assignment

I teach at Notre Dame School of Milwaukee, on the Mother Theresa Campus. My direct teaching for the 2021-22 school year is for approximately 100 fifth through eighth grade boys and I pro- vide STEM lessons to the approximately 200 first through 4th grade coed students. We are proud of our school and its growth- it was founded in 1996 with only 26 girls and we now boast over 550 students in K4-8th grade. I also have my own consulting company, Zanilu Educational Services. Most recently, I have been writing curriculum for Estes Model Rockets.

Professional Activities

2016-present Secretary/ Board Member, National Middle Level Teachers Association; 2020-present Teacher mentor, Next Generation Science Teacher Program; 2018-present Teacher mentor, Supporting Teachers Entering the Profession; 2016- 2017 Chairperson, NSTA Aerospace Advisory Board; 2016-present WSST, Awards and Recognition Committee

Professional Organizations

National Science Teacher Association National Middle Level Science Teacher 

Association, Wisconsin Society for Science Teachers, Association for Middle Level Education (AME), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Interests

When not teaching, writing grants for classroom equipment or looking up at the night sky, I can be found on a boat somewhere with my family! We have sailed the Keys in Florida, the Great Lakes and the British Virgin Islands, taken a houseboat out for week long voyages and put a lot of hours on the pontoon boat and canoes - most of the summer is spent in beautiful northern Wisconsin catching rays and fish!

RUNNING FOR SECRETARY: Terry Schwaller, Appleton

Position Statement and Vision

My name is Terry Schwaller and I am running for the position of WSST Secretary, because I feel strongly about WSST’s mission to support science education and educators throughout Wisconsin.

I had the privilege of serving as the Co-Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee from 2015-2019. Over the course of those years, I was able to attend many WSST Board meetings and learn not only about the workings of our organization, but also to get to know and work with some incredible people. Since the window of operations for my committee was fairly short, I was able to spend a lot of time focused on the discussions and issues facing WSST and science education in general. When I stepped down from that position, I knew it was time not only for someone else to leave their mark on the Awards and Recognition Committee, but to also find my next challenge. Little did I know at the time that the world would get turned upside down as a pandemic swept the world. Now, as we settle into our ever changing “new normal,” I feel like it is time to go after that next challenge, which for me is seeking the position of WSST Secretary. The WSST Constitution says, “the purpose of the organization shall be the advancement, stimulation, extension, improvement and coordination of science education in all fields of science at all educational levels,”and it is my goal as Secretary to embrace the tenets of our constitution. I am a strong supporter of encouraging new educators to join WSST to help with their professional growth. I am also a strong support- er of increased access to materials and professional development for our elementary and rural educators, who often have a hard time accessing what they need to succeed in science education. And, of course, I support any ideas that advance science education that can positively impact the students in our classrooms. As Secretary of WSST, not only would I be responsible to fulfill the duties of the position, but also to help fulfill the purpose of the organization that I am passionate about.

Background Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Broad Field Physical Science Secondary Education, UW-River Falls, 2003; Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction (Physics Emphasis), UW-Oshkosh, 2010

Present Teaching Assignment: Shiocton High School (2003 - present): Physical Science, Physics, Chemistry

 

Professional Activities:Shiocton Principal’s Action Committee, Member 2019-present; ACT Practice Coordinator and Committee Chair - Shiocton High School, 2018- present; WSST Finance Sub-Committee Member 2018-present; Phox Valley Physical Science and Physics Share Group, Webmaster 2016-present; WSST Awards and Rec Committee Co-Chair 2015-2019 (Member 2014- 2015)

 

Professional Organizations

Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, American Modeling Teachers Association, National Science Teachers Association, Phox Valley Physics/Physical Science Share Group 

Interests

Hunting, fishing, hiking, reading, all things Sci- Fi!

RUNNING FOR DISTRICT 1 Erik Duhn, Manawa

Position Statement and Vision

I have been a member of WSST since 2017. As soon as I joined I was drawn into participating in the documents review committee. After a while there, I have tried to take a more active role by switching to the nominations committee. Since my very first moment of meeting

members of WSST, it has been a joy to get to know all the members. I am glad to have joined and I want to spread this enthusiasm in my district. While I am not in the district physically, I hope to get members of the district together and pro- mote the message of WSST.

 

Background Education

B.S. Natural Science-Physical Science, Minors in Physics, Chemistry, and Math: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; B.A. Physics Education: University of Northern Iowa;

M.S. Chemistry-Chemistry Education: South Dakota State University

Present Teaching Assignment

Science Teacher - iForward Charter School

Professional Activities

Science Teaching Snapshot Presenter 2019

Professional Organizations

WSST, WEAC, AAAS, Phi Kappa Phi, EAA

Interests

Running, Hunting, Outdoors

RUNNING FOR DISTRICT 1 Kevin Mason, Chippewa Falls

Position Statement Vision

My vision for the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers is to develop relationships, resources, and collaboration that supports science teachers to become effective and reflective practitioners.

Background Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, Major: Science Education, Minor:

Chemistry, September 2001-May 2009; Master of Education, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Major: Science Education, June 1996-May 2001; Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Major: Chemistry, June 1994-May 1996

 

Present Teaching Assignment

Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout

Professional Activities

  • University of Wisconsin-Stout, Professor of Education (2009-present), School of Education Assessment Coordinator (2018- 2021), School of Education edTPA Coordinator (2015-2018), Program Director of Science Education (2006-2020), Associate Lecturer of Science Education (2006-2009)

  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Rice Lake, Chemistry Instructor, June 2006- May 2011

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Supervisor of Student Teachers, August 2003-May 2004

  • Middleton High School: Chemistry and Physics Teacher (2001-2003), Head High School Boys Track and Field Coach (2001- 2004), Head Middle School Boys and Girls Cross-Country Coach (2001-2004)

  • Chippewa Falls High School, Chemistry and Physics Teacher (1997-2001), Head High School Boys and Girls Cross-Country Coach (1998-2001), Assistant High School Boys and Girls Cross-Country Coach (1997- 1998), Assistant High School Boys and Girls

  • Track and Field Coach (1997-2001), Advisor of High School Cross-Country Ski Club (1997-2001)

  • Professional Organizations

  • Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, American Associate of Colleges for Teacher Education

RUNNING FOR DISTRICT 4 Jonathan Baker, Wonewoc

Position Statement and Vision

I am currently in my fourth year of teaching science at Wonewoc-Center High School, a very rural district in the southwestern portion of the state. Here, I am the only high school science teacher in the building and am therefore responsible for a wide variety of courses, ranging from biology to earth science to chemistry. Having this diverse teaching load, in addition to starting this career later in life and in a non-traditional route, I have had to rely upon the advice and assistance of many individuals to develop and strengthen my content knowledge and profes- sional teaching practices. In particular, my experiences with WSST have provided me opportunities to meet many brilliant and enthusiastic educators and accelerated my growth as a professional.

Looking through the newsletter archives, it is clear that WSST has long served as a central resource for science educators in our state. The organization affords many opportunities to its members, such as conferences, field experiences, grants, and networking. While the past 

couple of years have been challenging to all educators, I believe that WSST has done an excellent job in navigating the hardships of this time through providing many virtual events to its members. As a district director, I would continue to promote the organization to teachers in my district and help to further develop and implement its many resources. As WSST is a solely volunteer organization, it is necessary for us as members to look towards widening the organization and involving the next generation of educators who will one day serve as our

leadership.

As part of promoting our organization, I also believe that we should strive to be fully inclusive. While WSST has become much more gender balanced, our organization is far from diverse. It is our responsibility to serve as a voice for those cultures, races, ethnicities and other underrepresented groups and advocate for their inclusion not only in our organization, but also in our classrooms and science as a whole.

Background Education

B.S. in Archaeological Studies, UW-La Crosse; M.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis in Zooarchaeology and Statistics, University of Tennessee Present Teaching Assignment

Science Teacher, Wonewoc-Center High School

Professional Activities

Instructor, FBI Human Remains Recovery Training School, University of Tennessee Participant, Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association and WSST Joint Field Geological Field Experience (summer 2021)
Collaborator, Freshwater Mussel Survey of the Baraboo River, Wisconsin DNR

Professional Organizations

WSST, Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association, Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society

Interests

Camping, canoeing/kayaking, cooking, freshwater mussels, archaeology, home brewing