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Dennis Kubasko

Short Biographical Statement:
Dr. Dennis S. Kubasko, Jr. is an associate professor responsible for secondary science education and instructional leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). He had taught middle school science and high school Biology in the Philadelphia area public schools. He currently teaches secondary science methods, instructional design for undergraduates, STEM leadership in schools and districts for doctoral candidates, and a summer island ecology for educators’ course that is cross listed in both the Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences. Dr. Kubasko has authored book chapters, publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings pertaining to issues and topics in science education, teacher education, supervision and instructional technology. Dr. Kubasko is active delivering local, state, national and international presentation at professional conferences. He is the past director (2011-2016) of UNCW’s Center for Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CESTEM) in the Watson College of Education (WCE). He co-directed the Wilmington Regional Science Olympiad (2005-2018) with public school partners across five counties. Dr. Kubasko has led international multiple field experiences to Belize (2008-2016) for college of education students. He has directed numerous professional development opportunities in science education for teachers.

Position Statement:
I am excited to potentially take an active leadership role with NCSLA. I have always valued our organization as THE forum for professionals to have engaging conversations about relevant issues in our field, to identify issues where advocacy is needed and to collaborate across different stakeholders thereby generating statewide solutions. I'm so proud to currently serve the organization as a Board of Director for a 2nd term. NCSLA is one of the few organizations that celebrate the accomplishments of all science leaders! As a former middle school and high school teacher leader, I was never fortunate to have an opportunity to engage in professional organizations like NCSLA.\nAs a science teacher educator at UNC Wilmington, I am directly involved with the recruitment, development and retention of our best teacher candidates and across the state of North Carolina. As a past STEM center director, I appreciate every chance to professionally serve our practicing teachers in the region. I believe my greatest strength is empowering STEM leaders from schools to informal educators to business leaders and community volunteers. I enjoy promoting STEM education in all aspects of our communities. I would truly value the opportunity to serve the organization as its President-Elect!

Christi Whitworth

Short Biographical Statement:
Christi Whitworth attended Tennessee Technological University and holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.A, in Curriculum and Instruction. She has developed preschool through adult learning experiences throughout her career. She has been an American Red Cross instructor since 2003 and has advanced as an Instructor Trainer. Christi is one of twenty-five American Red Cross Instructor Trainer Educators in the United States. In 2018, she developed national level training for Red Cross instructors. She worked with gifted students and science education in Tennessee public schools before moving into informal education in 2005 while living in Texas. Christi was Director of Learning Experiences at the Learning Center at PARI, located in Rosman, North Carolina for twelve years. At the Learning Center at PARI, she maintained, managed and created programming for all portable planetarium, student and educator science education, and public outreach programs. With Duke Talent Identification Program, she instructed residential student research programs. She has been the Primary investigator on two NSF funded programs as well as three Burroughs Wellcome Student Science Enrichment Programs. Educators can train with her in citizen science programs, cryptography for afterschool programs, and SciGirls curriculum from the PBS television show. She serves as the collaborative lead for the North Carolina Girls STEM Collaborative in affiliation with the National Girls Collaborative Project.

Position Statement:
Christi Whitworth believes equity builds sustainability in every facet of society. The United State faces a shortage of educated workers in STEM fields today and the foreseeable future. Education leaders must build and promote strategies for educators to use that allow every student to see themselves as able and successful in those fields. Advocacy for science education in North Carolina and across the United States has obstacles but also many supporters. Organizing and informing those supporters is a prime responsibility of the NC Science Leadership Association. The organization can innovate better ways to inform the membership and empower each one to lead other educators in their communities to be better science educators. Many educators express their appreciation and enthusiasm for science education as being restored when they spend time learning from other science leaders. NCSLA provides a vital route for this exchange twice each year. NCSLA should have a directive to emphasize equity in every membership meeting and in the information it shares annually. The best strategies for engaging and sustaining North Carolina students in science should find the advocates’ voices buoyed in NCSLA. Educators in North Carolina should find a connection to those best resources in every NCSLA member.



Carla Billups

Short Biographical Statement:
This is my 31st year in elementary education and for the past five years I've been the Elementary STEM Coach for Buncombe County schools. My introduction to NCSLA was through the Fellows Program as part of the 2010 cohort. I'm serving in my second term as secretary for NCLSA and find this is a way to keep me involved in advocating for elementary science. Early in my career, I was involved with the California Science Implementation Network (CSIN) and the early development of that program. During this time, I became a facilitator for the AIMS Education Foundation and for twenty-three years presented professional development across the county. This lead to becoming senior faculty for the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy (MEMTA) from the beginning stages of the program through its completion. Currently I am on the Best STEM Book committee for NSTA and have also been on the Outstanding Science Trade Book committee. Serving on these committees lead me to becoming an author and with my co-author, our book The Fungus Among Us, The Good, The Bad and the Downright Scary was published in April 2016. The networking of NCSLA continues to broaden my horizons in science education in North Carolina.

Position Statement:
Science literacy at all levels is vital of education. I believe that starting in pre-k and kindergarten through high school all students need to have science as part of their regular curriculum. I have advocated for this for most of my teaching career. In my current position as the Elementary STEM Coach for Buncombe County Schools, I spend each day working towards this goal. In establishing STEM labs in all of our elementary schools, I have developed curriculum, engineering and design challenges, that tie to the NC Science Standards. For students to be successful with the challenges, having science instruction to back it up is crucial. With the Science Specialist for BCS, we worked to make sure science came out of the literacy block and became part of the content block. To support this, we have worked diligently with teachers to promote the best practices in science along with resources for teachers to use. We have seen an increase in the amount of science elementary students are receiving but we are not done yet. We continuously brainstorm ways to work towards the goal of making all of our students in Buncombe County, scientifically literate citizens.

Director (2)

Toni Stadelman

Short Biographical Statement:
I began my career as an elementary science teacher since 2001. During my time as an elementary teacher, I was awarded funds from United Way and Bright Ideas to upgrade the nature trail at Youngsville Elementary School. In 2015 I became the K-12 Science Specialist for Franklin County with responsibilities for writing curriculum units, facilitating professional development opportunities and professional learning communities. I was selected as a Kenan Fellow in 2013 where I worked with Biogen to develop lesson plans for 5th grade. I obtained my Environmental Educators Certification in 2017. As part of the certification process, I worked with the UNC Institute for Environment ExPlore program to enhance lesson plans for the Tar-Pamlico River Basin.

In 2014 I received the Dianne Carter Massey award for my work with science curriculum and in 2017 I was recognized by the Superintendent for my work in science education. I am a member of the NC Science Teachers Association (NCSTA), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), NC Science Leadership Association (NCSLA), Environmental Educators of NC (EENC), Delta Kappa Society: International Society for Key Women Educators. I have presented at both NCSTA and EENC conferences.

Position Statement:
The quote by Carl Sagan-"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." sums up my position statement. Science is discovery that leads to a body of knowledge. Discovery leads to inventions and innovations and all of this comes from a different ways of thinking. I provide professional development to teachers in order to help them approach their science lessons differently so that students are solving problems and discovering different solutions on their own rather than copying notes and answering questions from a textbook. Our jobs are to teach students how to think so they can be prepared for their futures. Helping legislators, administrators, teachers, and parents understand this is what I hope to accomplish as a member of the board.

 Beverly Owens

Short Biographical Statement:
I am an 8th grade science teacher at Kings Mountain Middle School. I have been an educator for 15 years, working in various capacities – 8th grade science teacher in Cleveland County Schools, Program Specialist at the Schiele Museum of Natural History, and Program Manager of Professional Development at Discovery Place Education Studio. I am a National Board Certified Teacher, and received my Master of Arts degree in Middle Grades Education from Gardner-Webb University. In my downtime, I like writing curriculum, going on scientific adventures, drinking coffee, painting, reading, and spending time with my family.

Position Statement:
I believe the North Carolina Science Leadership Association (NCSLA) has the capacity to grow future leaders, and impact science education across the state. As a former NCSLA Science Leadership Fellow, I know that this organization offers great programs and opportunities for both formal and informal educators. In the past I have enjoyed participating in NCSLA committees, and I would love to be able to serve science educators again. In my school, I serve on numerous committees including the Multi-Tiered System of Supports School Leadership Team, the countywide Strategic Planning committee, and I am the 8th Grade Science Department Chair. I love sharing science with others, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be involved with the North Carolina Science Leadership Association as Director-at-Large.

Mark Case

Short Biographical Statement:
Bachelor and Masters of science in southern Illinois University, 1988
Certified environmental educator and certified camp director
Informal educator from 1988 through 2007
High school science teacher 2017 through present
President North Carolina science teachers association 2014
First Robotics tournament host, announcer for state playoffs
Discovery Education network leadership council 2008 through present
National science foundation research experience for teachers to 2015-2016

Position Statement:
Science education should be fun. Educators should enjoy what they do and that enjoyment will flow to the students. Science is everywhere, every day in our lives. Not only should we be Educating students we should be educating the public. \n\nWe need to incorporate science in every area of every curriculum.

Cheryl Horton

Short Biographical Statement:
My previous position was the Teacher Education Coordinator/Licensure Officer at North Carolina Central University. My former positions were Clinical Assistant Professor of Science Education and former Director of the Carolina Teaching Fellows program in The School of Education at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to my twelve years of higher education teaching experience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I also taught for four years at NCCU. I have public high school teaching experience and research experience in both university and private sector laboratories. I believe my experiences and qualifications make me ideally suited for this position.

Upon graduation from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a BS in Biology and receiving a Master’s Degree in Biology from UNC Greensboro, I worked for four years in scientific research laboratories at Winston-Salem State University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The experience of working in these laboratories provided insights into the world of biological research, critical thinking, and how science practice is related to science principles and concepts. I completed my Ph.D. in Science Education from N.C. State University.

Position Statement:
I have over 24 years of practical teaching experience in higher education and public school teaching. My experience includes teaching the sciences in High School on all levels. I taught using a hands-on inquiry-based methodology for years at Summer Ventures, an intensive 4-week high school math/science enrichment program. I taught Elementary and Middle Grades Science methods courses along with other educational courses. Teaching high school science taught me the efficacy of hands-on activities as a method of facilitating the understanding of specific content. I also learned to break down complicated concepts into more readily accessible chunks by relating them to the students’ real-world experiences. I was a Biology Lab Teaching Assistant at NC State while in graduate school. I had an opportunity to set up and teach labs to undergraduate students. This gave me insight into the logistics of setting up lab work to ensure student success. As a part of university service, I have had several opportunities to teach hands-on activities in elementary schools. I assisted the teachers with science activities while they taught the conceptual aspects. I used this experience to inform my instruction of pre-service teachers taking the elementary science methods courses.


Join NCSLA today! 


NCSLA is seeking new members interested in

  •  increasing the number of students entering science careers
  •  improving teacher preparation in science fields
  •  advancing the future of science education in NC
  •  opportunities to demonstrate leadership

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