2018-2020 Election Winners

Upper Elementary Director

Alyssa Nemeckova-Fairfield
Alyssa is an upper elementary classroom teacher in Palm Springs. She has spent the past four years teaching fourth grade. This year she is teaching a combination of fourth and fifth graders. Alyssa is on the Core Leadership team for the NGSS Early Implementers. She is a co-author of the 4th grade Learning Sequence: Rube Goldberg. Alyssa has been appointed to the Instructional Materials Review Committee for the state adoption of science materials.

High School Director

Gail Atley
Gail began her teaching career in 2002 in high school chemistry (General, Honors and AP) and engineering. She has served as Science Department Chair, Professional Development Curriculum and Workshop Leader (including NGSS trainings), MESA Advisor, Activities Director, Accreditation (WASC) Chairman. Gail was a semi-finalist for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program and is a candidate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). She is committed to providing high-quality science education for all California K-12 students. Prior to teaching she worked in aerospace as a Materials and Process Engineer, then as a Marketing Director in the telecommunications industry.

4-Year College Director

Edward Lyon
Edward Lyon is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at Sonoma State University. A former high school biology and chemistry teacher, Dr. Lyon teaches secondary science candidates and conducts research on how science instruction and formative assessment can support English Learners, often collaborating with local science teachers. In collaboration with other science teacher educators, he has redesigned science method courses and analyzed how candidates are prepared to teach science to ELs through NGSS and Common Core. Dr. Lyon has published 15 articles/book chapters, published a book on teaching science to ELs, and given 40 presentations, including at CSTA and NSTA.

Region 4 Director

Debbie Gordon
Debbie Gordon is invested in quality science education for all students at the classroom, district, region, and state level. She has been a classroom teacher and is currently a district TOSA specifically focused on science. An avid proponent of the NGSS shifts to a more student driven paradigm, Ms. Gordon has presented short courses and workshops at CSTA conventions; collaborated with regional and state-wide professionals as a co-project director for CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative, as a member of the Community of Practice for Science, and on CSTA’s Convention Planning Committee; written and presented assessment sessions for CA NGSS Rollout 4.


Dr. Virginia (Gini) Vandergon
Dr. Virginia (Gini) Vandergon is a full professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. Her research is in Plant Genetics. Before becoming a College professor she was a High School Biology Teacher. At CSUN she is also a K-12 science education liaison. In that role she is the San Fernando Valley Science Project director and PI, the PI for the CSU Noyce grant and has been involved in many grants involving science teacher professional development. She also was one of the writers of the High School Frameworks for NGSS in California. She is currently serving as the Treasurer for CSTA.