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2017 Board Election

GSTA Members may now vote in our 2017 board election.  Please review all information below before casting your ballot.

The following positions are open for 2017 voting.

  • President Elect
  • Vice President
  • Middle School Representative
  • College Representative
  • District 1 DirectorBartow, Bremen City, Calhoun City, Cartersville City, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Chickamauga City, Dade, Dalton City, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rome City, Trion City, Walker, Whitfield
  • District 3 DirectorCobb, Douglas, Marietta City
  • District 5 DirectorButts, Carroll, Carrollton City, Coweta, Fayette, Harris, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Newton, Pike, Spalding, Thomaston-Upson, Troup
  • District 7 DirectorBibb, Bleckley, Crawford, Dodge, Dublin City, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Laurens, Monroe, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Twiggs, Wheeler, Wilcox
  • District 9 DirectorBaldwin, Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Lincoln, McDuffie, Putnam, Richmond, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson
  • District 11 DirectorBaker, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller,  Mitchell, Muscogee, Pelham City, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Terrell, Thomas, Thomasville City, Webster, Worth
All GSTA members should vote for President Elect, Vice President, Middle School Representative, and College Representative.  Only votes coming from members in the respective districts will be counted for the District Director positions.  Please identify your new district by finding the county in which you work on the list above.

CAST YOUR BALLOT HERE!

(Election runs February 1st-28th)

Please review the candidates' information below before casting your ballot.

Candidates for Board of Directors

The candidates for office have expressed their commitment to and concerns regarding science education in Georgia.  These are their statements for your consideration as you choose the next members of the GSTA board.

President Elect

Sarah Eales is an 9-12 Science Instructional Coach, AP Physics 1, Engineering Concepts, Engineering Applications teacher at Peachtree Ridge High School in Gwinnett County. 

Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she would like to have GSTA focus on creating a database to support the GSE and increasing online support, especially for teachers in rural areas.

Background that can help support new standards: My experience as the VP with GSTA has allowed me to see how membership in a large organization works. This experience will allow me to provide resources for teachers throughout the state. My experience working as an instructional coach in the 9-12 setting provides me with experience in a variety of content areas in addition to my work with the elementary MSP program. The training as a science ambassador has given me the opportunity to see how the state is working towards spreading the new GSE in science.

Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. GSTA should be providing teachers with the resources and training to implement the new GSE in science.  2. GSTA should be advocating for funding with the new ESSA and should be working with STEM areas to ensure that we have what we need to meet the needs of our students.

Vice President

Donna Barrett-Williams is a K-12 STEM Director for Fulton County Schools. 

Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected she would bring her understanding of the latest research in science education and her extensive experience as a teacher and professional developer to the organization.

Background that can help support new standards: I have worked to stay up to date on the latest research in science education research including 3-Dimensional learning and the integration of science & engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and content. I have lead professional development in my school district to prepare teachers for the revised standards. This has included the development of 3-D performance task and lessons that follow a conceptual storyline. My experience leading curriculum development and professional development would help me be a leader in preparing teachers for the new standards.

Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. GSTA should continue to provide leadership in the area of curriculum and professional development for the revised science standards and advocacy for science education.  2. GSTA should also continue to provide opportunities for meaningful professional development through the state conferences and district 3D Saturdays.


Gretchen Torbert is a Math Specialist, Grades K-8th, and an Academic Data Coach, Gifted and ESOL at Hicks Elementary School in Rockdale County. 

Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she would bring her insight as a teacher of the year and conference presenter.

Background that can help support new standards: I would assist in consulting and coaching educators on how to use best practices in the instructional environment, how to engage into project based cross curriculum learning, and also how to submerge themselves into meaningful and reflective practices.

Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. GSTA can assist in providing project based learning experiences to students and teacher embedded coaching to the educators. 2. GSTA can aid in helping the educator to continue to engage in collaborative and vertical planning to explore ways to engage in reflective and meaningful instructional practices.

    Middle School Representative

    Donita Legoas is a science teacher and science fair director at Pine Hill Middle School in Richmond County.

    Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she would bring her insight as a twenty year teacher at both middle and high school as well as her experience as a presenter at state and national conferences to the work of the board.

    Background that can help support new standards: I am very happy to have had the opportunity to assist in the standards revision process for the new GSE. I have also had extensive training in the 3d science teaching process. I am a current middle school teacher, and I am already integrating the practices into my daily routines.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. Providing a well-rounded annual conference where teachers are able to learn new techniques and stay current in order to provide the best science education to their students. 2. PRovide ongoing resources for GA science educators to utilize in their daily classes.


    Clay McElheny works with Engineering, Chemistry, AP Physics, Automation and Robotics MS and HS and is PLTW coordinator at Lake Oconee Academy in Greene County.

    Future contributions to GSTA: If elected he would bring an understanding of rural science education and new curriculum initiatives like PLTW.

    Background that can help support new standards:  My unique experience teaching in rural central Georgia will help Georgia's increasing rural students have a voice in connecting and achieving results with the new science standards.  I also have grant writing experience along with implementation of STEM curriculum in my current school.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. Writing and getting grants to support the implementation.  2. Gathering and using data to support the work GSTA advocates for in standards implementation.

    College Representative

    Amanda Glaze is a professor in Grades 4-12, Undergrad/Graduate Science & Science Education at Georgia Southern University.

    Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected she would bring experience both in Georgia and other states working on the issues facing science education as well as experience in advocacy for science education.

    Background that can help support new standards: I have served on review teams for state and national standards as well as implementation for state standards in Alabama. I also have teaching experience as a mentor/professor using UBD Backward Design and Depth of Knowledge.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. Support and preparation to improve STEM teaching and integration of engineering practices/cross disciplinary focus in schools and classrooms. 2. Create cooperative partnerships to enhance teacher content and pedagogical training that occur at schools and create lasting learning communities that can help navigate changes in expectations, support new teachers, and increase resources.


    Alice Hunt is a professor of both undergraduate and graduate level engineering, chemistry and physics at the University of Georgia.

    Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she would bring her understand of the need for stronger pre-college science experiences for students as well as her understand of the latest STEM teaching pedagogy.

    Background that can help support new standards: I have taught STEM at all levels (elementary-college) and am passionate about applying my skills and knowledge about teaching STEM at the collegiate level to help K-12 teachers make the new standards relevant and exciting.  Examples of how I am already doing this include: working with SciREN to develop curricula; authoring a bilingual STEM comic book series; serve on the Local Governance Team at a CCSD Middle School; working with Americore VISTA to develop STEM classroom materials; serve on the Athens Regional Library Board.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation: 1. We need to look at where the jobs are going to be in the next 10 years and make students aware of these opportunities. 2. By increasing STEM literacy across the State we are preparing Georgia for the future.

    District 1 Director

    Marc Pederson is a science teacher (many content areas) at Paulding High School in Paulding County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected he would bring his background as a biologist researcher prior to teaching and his services on advisory boards in the past to support the work of the board.

    Background that can help support new standards:  As a published scientist, I have professional experience as a molecular ecologist.These experiences align well with the learning goals of NGSS and the GSE, with an emphasis on connecting content from all sciences while also integrating the engineering design process. I am certified in all AP sciences and I have experience teaching all sciences.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Promote authentic, experiential learning opportunities in science by providing support and modeling best practices to new teachers. 2. Provide training opportunities that enable teachers to use lab skills that integrate concepts across content areas.

    District 3

    Chinita Allen is a teacher at Chalker Elementary School in Cobb County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected she would bring both her global and local creative thinking to the board discussions.

    Background that can help support new standards:  My experiences as a PAEMST finalist, GA DOE STEM Laureate and GYSTC new science standards curriculum developer will help GSTA lead with the new science standards.  My knowledge related to education policy and grassroots advocacy should also help the GSTA lead with the new science standards.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:   1. GSTA should provide leadership in inclusiveness to increase the science and STEM pipeline for rural students and those economically disadvantaged.  2. GSTA could lead in offering web-based staff development.


    Jordan Tidrick is a teacher of Chemistry, Forensic Science; BS Chemistry, MS Forensic Science at North Cobb High School in Cobb County.

    Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she would bring her ability to plan large & long term events, and her experience presenting at conferences to support board activities.

    Background that can help support new standards:  Because of my involvement as a Noyce II/I-IMPACT Master Teaching Fellow, I have had many opportunities to learn from science teachers locally & nationally via presentations & conference attendance.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Support teacher evaluation of quality, meaningful use of standardized tests and classroom observations to provide valuable feedback that can lead to teacher improvement & accurately represent teacher quality.  2. Teacher training on safety & advocating for smaller, safer class sizes.

    District 5

    Stephanie Miles is a science teacher at Villa Rica High School in Carroll County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected she brings her experience as a curriculum writer for the state as well as science ambassador involved in GSE training.

    Background that can help support new standards:   As a member of the team responsible for the writing of the GSE and as a Science Ambassador, I feel like I will help teachers around the state be better prepared to implement the new standards.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Provide training on the new standards.  2. Create resources for teachers.

    District 7

    Nicole Page is the Science Instructional Specialist (Grades 6-12) for Houston County Schools.

    Background that can help support new standards: I have 20 years of experience in science education as a teacher and leader.  I have participated in EOG and EOC Data Review and Item Analysis for the GaDOE.  I served on the working committee for the development of the GSE for science. As a Science Ambassador and member of one of the working committees that developed the new standards, I can offer insight into the development of curriculum, instruction and assessment resources aligned to the GSE.

    Future contributions to GSTA:   If elected she brings her understanding as both a teacher and leader of the instructional shifts that are going to be necessary to engage students in thinking, practicing, and communicating like a scientist in the classroom.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. GSTA should be the lead voice and advocate for science education in Georgia. 2. Provide teachers with access to vetted resources and professional learning opportunities.





    Eric Thompson is a teacher of 9-12 science and STEM at Westside High School in Bibb County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:   If elected he will bring his understanding of STEM and also the perspectives of a Title 1 school to board discussions.

    Background that can help support new standards: Representing a district with two of the state's largest districts as well numerous other districts of various size has allowed me to reach numerous teachers and help to ensure they understand the new standards.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. GSTA needs to continue to push STEM education. 2. Be a source of teaching resources for teachers in the state.

    District 9

    Kristina Istre is a 6th grade science teacher at Pine Hill Middle School in Richmond County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:   If elected she will bring her experience working with educators on the local and national level as well as her enthusiasm for science to the board.

    Background that can help support new standards: I have attended GSTA's 3D Learning Saturdayworkshops, and I am on my county's professional learning team to present workshops to educators in my district about the new standards.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Provide staff development and resources for the new standards. 2. Provide a network of educational experts throughout Georgia.

    District 11

    Deb Baltenberger is a Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher at Lee County High School in Lee County.

    Future contributions to GSTA:  If elected she will bring SW Georgia needs and concerns to the board.

    Background that can help support new standards:  I am passionate about making science education meaningful and not "just" concepts students have to learn. Because of this, I have been trying, for years, to find phenomena to use to get students saying "wow" and "why?" and "how?" in order to find meaning for what they are learning. The new standards embrace this philosophy.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Advocacy for science education.  2. GSTA needs to continue building resources and support for teachers to use to develop lesson plans that meet the new standards.


    Jenna Rhodes is a 6-12 Science Consultant for Chattahoochee Flint RESA.

    Future contributions to GSTA: If elected she brings her experience of working with multiple counties which enlarge her perspective on science education needs as well as a degree in science to support the work of the board.

    Background that can help support new standards:  As a science ambassador I was trained for the new standards. As a science consultant I have worked hard on developing professional learning for teachers in my area to transition to the new standards. I have also reached out to other specialists/consultants and used their expertise as a guide.

    Two areas GSTA can support new standards implementation:  1. Provide more science training for the lower grades.  2. Obtain partnerships with local colleges for schools to borrow equipment etc, for schools to use.

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