CSTA logo CSTA - California Science Teachers Association
California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association California Science Teachers Association

Board of Directors Election

2014-2016 Term

The Nominations Committee of the California Science Teachers Association presents the following individuals for election to the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2014-2016 term.

The election is being conducted electronically and will open April 15, 2014. CSTA members eligible to vote will be emailed links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who requested a paper ballot will be mailed a ballot.


Intermediate Director

4-Year College Director

Region 2 Director

Region 4 Director

Voting will close on May 15, 2014 .


Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine has been teaching science for 14 years and currently teaches science at Gardner Middle School in the Temecula Valley USD. This past year she was recognized as the TVUSD middle school teacher of the year. Prior to teaching, Jeanine was an accountant for a major cosmetics manufacturing company. She has presented at several CSTA conferences, served on the 2013 CSTA conference committee, the CSTA publications committee, the legislative oversight committee and is the current CSTA Region 4 Director.

Quality science education is vital to our state’s success. In today’s world, students must be problem solvers in the workplace, champions for their own health, and advocates for the integrity of our planet. In the science classroom, an educator’s charge is to inspire students to wonder, question, research, and push the boundary to learn more about themselves and the world around them. As a community of science educators, our responsibility is to ensure quality instructional practices to support inquiry, problem solving, and communication skills vital to student success.

As a CSTA member, I am committed to scientific literacy for all students. Despite funding and political obstacles, CSTA must continue to be a collective voice for California science educators. In these tumultuous times, it is imperative that we creatively continue to empower, inspire, and advocate for science education as a collective community. CSTA must continue to be a catalyst for educational innovation, sharing of best practices, problem solving, decision-making, and lobbying for legislation to support our shared vision.

Intermediate (Grades 3-5)Director

Joanne Michael

Joanne has been working as a science specialist at Meadows Elementary School (Manhattan Beach USD) since 2008. She initiated and continues to chair a school-wide Science Night every spring. Joanne also is the science chair of the elementary school science specialists and leads monthly collaboration meetings within her district. She is a member of CSTA and NSTA and has presented workshops at conferences for both organizations.

Science education is an incredible medium—a student truly discovers how and why the world behaves the way it does by interacting within it. It is my goal as a science teacher to light that fire of curiosity within each student, for them to discover more about the world, as well as about themselves. By using hands-on lessons, interactive technologies, and exciting discoveries happening every day around them, students are exploring science like never before. Installing a love and knowledge of science within them will help us send a generation into society, armed to make this world the best that it can be.

I focus my teaching on many of CSTA’s goals. I feel that students, no matter their age or ability, can find wonder and succeed in science. By “encouraging the natural curiosity of learners”, as stated in the vision statement, we can guide our students into this incredible world, and make it an even better place. With work, adaptability, and collaboration, I can see CSTA leading the way in science achievement.


Barbara Woods

Barbara is currently a District Curriculum Coach with an assignment to plan and coordinate the district-wide Professional Development related to implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. As a classroom teacher, Barbara taught third through sixth grade for many years where hands-on/minds-on/inquiry science instruction was one of her specialties. She is a member of CSTA and recently participated in a review of the ELA/ELD Draft Framework.

Science education should ignite the curiosity of young people and inspire them to seek for new ways to understand the world, solve problems, and create opportunities to improve people’s lives while maintaining the integrity of our Earth’s systems. The careful, well-thought out application of scientific thought is critical to society as it is and as it will become.

CSTA is a vehicle for promoting and ensuring high quality science experiences for all California students. To accomplish this, CSTA must continue its careful and mindful monitoring and advocacy in all state decisions impacting curriculum and instruction. We stand at a critical juncture in time when Common Core Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are emerging for implementation. I envision an organization whose diligent persistence in integrating scientific cross-cutting concepts, technology, and engineering practices with Common Core reasoning, analysis, argument, and communication will enhance scientific literacy beyond the textbook. CSTA’s diligence now will ensure that generations live the spirit of inquiry that embodies both the CCSS and the NGSS.

4-Year College Director

Susan Gomez-Zwiep

In 2005 Susan took the position of an Associate Professor at CSULB in the Science Education Department In addition, she has served as a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance since 2007 and has overseen several large grants providing professional development for teachers at the elementary, middle, high school, and university level. Susan is a lifetime member of CSTA and has presented numerous workshops and short courses as well as being a featured focus speaker at the annual California Science Education Conference.

Science teaching involves developing students’ understanding about scientific concepts as well as their ability to “do” science. Both types of knowledge are necessary to make informed decisions about personal and political issues. Students need to engage in discourse and argumentation about what data reveals about the natural world and how it fits with our current scientific explanations. Understanding how science knowledge is generated is essential to understanding science, including how debate and modification are inherent to the scientific process.

I grew-up in CSTA, at least professionally, and owe the organization a debt of gratitude for helping me become the science educator I am today. CSTA was my first professional organization. I made my first presentation at a CSTA conference. CSTA is still my primary information source for what is happening in science education. CSTA supports all levels of science teachers. The recent NGSS adoption creates an exciting opportunity for science teachers and CSTA will provide the leadership and resources necessary to support science teachers as we all move into the next generation.


Virginia Oberholzer Vandergon

Virginia is a Full Professor of Biology at CSUN where she has held various positions including being the current chair of the department Curriculum and Assessment committee. She has also been actively involved in Professional Development for LAUSD science teachers for the past 13 years. Virginia is a member of several associations including the Society for the Study of Evolution, Botanic Society of America, Association for Science Teacher Education, NSTA, and CSTA.

Teaching science today is exciting but challenging. I work with a variety of students destined to become teachers, doctors, and researchers. My priority for these students is to show them that science is a process of discovery where there is beauty in the interconnectedness of math, physics, engineering, chemistry, and biology. I strive to show them the critical importance of public science literacy. With the adoption of NGSS we are entering an exciting time when science can be taught as science is performed. Teachers must be using engaging tools and technologies that can reach ALL learners. Our commitment to strong formative assessment will ensure that future generations will understand and excel in science.

I am passionate about science and education. CSTA’s mission is to create a community that supports passion and life-long learning in science. The primary challenge for CSTA will be to promote and integrate NGSS into the K-16 curriculum. It is an exciting time for CSTA to be involved in framework and assessment development as well as showing leadership in science education in California through conferences and awards.

Region 2 Director

Minda Berbeco

Minda is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and a Visiting Scholar at the UC Museum of Paleontology. She has a PhD in Biology from Tufts University and is a member of CSTA, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the American Geophysical Union. Minda has contributed several articles to the monthly California Classroom Science newsletter, and presented a workshop at the 2013 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs.

Science isn’t just a subject in school; it is a way of seeing the world. Through science, students have the opportunity to answer questions about human origins and explanations for the Earth’s processes. Science tells us why we breathe and how our hearts beat; science can even tell us why it is we feel love, sadness or joy. Science education though is not just about providing answers. It is about exploring our environment, being creative about ideas and generating hypotheses to help explain what we observe. Science and science education are opportunities to explore and understand the world, with important implications for students and society as a whole.

Through their determination and hard work, CSTA has provided educators around the state with the vision and inspiration necessary to engage students from many different backgrounds and interest levels. It would be a delight and honor to be able to further CSTA’s mission of engaging and supporting educators, disseminating science to all students in the state and encouraging a future where all citizens of California understand and support science.

Region 4 Director

Peter A'Hearn

For the past 8 years, Peter has been the K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist at Palm Springs Unified School District and previously taught science at Desert Hot Springs High School for five years. He has served as Region 4 Director on the CSTA board, presented at fiveCalifornia Science Education Conferences, was co-chair of the 2013 conference, and is a regular contributor of articles for the California Classroom Science newsletter including a monthly NGSS Blog.

Science teachers know that science is a subject that can excite and inspire and blow kids minds. By engaging students in hands-on science, projects, and real world problem solving we can inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and scientifically literate citizens. Too often the demands of testing have turned science in a dull march through the standards. With the shift in standards, there is a brief window of opportunity to get it right and make science as exciting as it should be. CSTA is the voice of California teachers who want to make sure that the policies in Sacramento support the best kind of science education that our children deserve.

CSTA’s most important role is in providing a community for California science teachers to share ideas and energy. With the coming transition to the NGSS this role will be more important than ever. California science teachers are an amazingly creative group and CSTA through its conferences and newsletter is the place for them to share. CSTA also plays an important role as the voice of California science teachers in Sacramento. With NGSS being implemented this role will be more important than ever. Science teachers need to make sure that the coming changes represent the best for California students.