2020 NCSLA Election Candidates

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Carla Billups

Short Biographical Statement:
Carla Billups has been the Elementary STEM Coach for Buncombe County Schools for the past six years where she has implemented and designed curriculum for 24 elementary STEM labs. Prior to this work, she was and elementary Math and Science teacher for 6 years of her 26 years as an elementary school teacher. Carla has also been an adjunct instructor for Western Carolina University where she taught Elementary Science Methods. She was an instructor for the ExxonMobil Teachers Academy for 14 years and for AIMS Education Foundation for 23 years. Currently she is serving on NSTA’s Best STEM Book Committee and in her third term as Secretary for NCSLA where she, as a previous fellow, serves on the fellows committee. The book she co-authored, the Fungus Among Us, the Good, the Bad, and the Downright Scary made NSTA’s Outstanding Science Tradebook list in 2017. She received the North Carolina SMT’s Outstanding Instructional Leader Award, NCSLA’s Michael C. Jackson Distinguished Service Award, and NCSTA’s Jo Duckett Wallace Elementary Distinguished Service Award.

Position Statement:
As President Elect for NCSLA, my goal would be to continue to support Science and STEM educators based on the needs of the membership in areas of science and technology. With Science Standards Course of Study beginning the review process, I feel it will be important for NCSLA to keep the membership up to date on the process and help in the implementation of new standards as they released not only in the core content, but also in the practices and cross cutting concepts that were laid out in the DPI K-12 Framework for Science Education Webinars. As with previous presidents, I feel that working to increase the membership of NCSLA will also be important while focusing on instruction presented in the Membership Summits.


Director (2)

Jessica Croson

Short Biographical Statement:
I am a member of both NCSTA and NCSLA. I am a NCSLA Fellows for the 2018-2020 cohort. At this time I do not serve in any leadership roles within these professional organizations. I do serve in science leadership within my district by participating in writing county assessments, curriculum framework, mentoring our feeder school Science Olympiad teams. On the school level, I serve as the site coordinator for internships, mentor new teachers, coach Science Olympiad, and am an advisor for NHS. I have been the recipient of numerous Bright Ideas grants, selected as my school’s Teacher of the Year twice, and won the Jack Hall Coach’s Award for Science Olympiad. I have also had the opportunity to present at numerous local, state, and national conferences. In the summer, I am fortunate enough to serve as a Master Teacher for the Summer Ventures in Science & Math program at UNCW. I also am actively participating in action research regarding promoting STEM education in traditionally underrepresented populations.

Position Statement:
Prior to my experience in the fellows program, I had never really considered running for any type of office in a professional organization. Over the past several years, I have realized that I am passionate about sharing my love for students and science education with others not just in my district but potentially on the state level. I believe by serving as a NCSLA Director at Large I could have a voice in promoting science education across the state. I believe every student deserves a teacher who truly cares about him or her and wants to show them potential future opportunities. I am extremely passionate about increasing underrepresented students involvement in STEM and STEM related careers. I believe that if we implement some non-traditional ideas we might be able to increase teacher involvement. One of the biggest obstacles teachers face in participating in professional organizations is the ability to leave the classroom and/or travel to conferences because few counties have the budget to support their teachers in this endeavor. It would truly be an honor to serve as an NCSLA Director at Large as my first state leadership position and help find solutions to these issues.

 Jamie Smith

Short Biographical Statement:
I am a wife and mom of three (ages 6, 5, and 3 years) and a dedicated science educator. I taught in the classroom for 8 years, all forms of biology from applied to AP, and online through NCVPS for 5 years, teaching AP biology, earth and environmental science, and anatomy and physiology. I was also a curriculum developer for NCVPS. I have been an instructional coach in Brunswick County Schools (BCS) for 6 years now. I work with approximately 40 science teachers and love what I do! Additionally, I was on the advisory board of the Brunswick County STEM Council, a partnership between community members and BCS that strive to provide STEM opportunities to all students. I recently completed my doctoral degree in educational leadership with a concentration in curriculum and instruction at UNCW.

Also, I am a current NCSLA Fellow. A more recent opportunity that I have had for the past 2 years is teaching a first-year seminar class at UNCW for incoming freshman that focuses on STEM.

Additionally, I am a member of NCSTA and presented numerous times at the annual conference as well as the AESA Conference. Also, I have one publication that is currently in the revision stage. This year, my goal is to submit more articles for publication.

Position Statement:
My goals in this position are to further my own leadership skills through being a director in NCSLA. As a current NCSLA Fellow, I know the values and mission of the organization and am positive that I can contribute my own expertise to NCSLA. I would like to work with the fellows program in some capacity, as I have a passion for working with educators and am skilled at forming relationships and connections with these professionals. The talents I have honed as an instructional coach allow me to help educators reflect on their own practice while in a collaborative environment. The NCSLA Fellows program is a unique opportunity for educators to work together and explore their own roles as leaders. Growing leaders is very important to me as I work with teachers day-to-day, and I would relish the opportunity to continue this work through NCSLA.

Overall, I would still like to network with other educators in this position, as well as learn from others in the organization. I hope to make more educators aware of NCSLA and as well as the Fellows program in this position. Ideally, our membership would increase and more educators would be able to be involved in NCSLA through different avenues.