Log in


Awards were presented to the following individuals at the Awards Banquet held at
Lane Community College on October 11, 2019

We are very proud to have these educators as members of the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

OSTA would like to thank
for hosting the OSTA Awards

Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

The Presidential Award is the nation's highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The following teachers have been selected as national and state finalists.

Oregon Department of Education Science Specialist, Noelle Gorbett presented awards to Oregon's Finalists.

2019 State Finalists

Kerryn Henderson
Parkrose High School, Portland, OR

Kerryn Henderson teaches Advanced Placement Biology and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon.  
     Ms. Henderson received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Oregon (Clark Honors College) in 1996, and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) from Northern College of Education (Scotland, UK) in 1997.  She began her teaching career at The Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. She moved back to Oregon in 2000, and received her Oregon Teaching License through Portland State University’s International Teacher Education Program (ITEP).  Ms. Henderson earned her Masters of Education (with a STEM focus) from Concordia University in 2016. 
     At Parkrose High School Ms. Henderson has developed an AP Biology course that serves the needs of all students and represents the diversity within the school.  She believes strongly in open access to rigorous courses, and is committed to creating equity by scaffolding instruction and support so that all students can succeed.  In her classroom, students work collaboratively to build understanding of advanced concepts by engaging daily in hands-on activities and simulations, and support each other in collaborative study groups and in afterschool study club.  She keeps students motivated by using an additive gradebook, where students monitor their progress as they earn badges and “level up,” moving closer and closer to their desired AP Biology grade. For her work in AP Biology, she received a Henry Ford Innovative Teacher Award in 2019.
    Through AVID, Ms. Henderson supports first generation college students in reaching their dreams for the future and is energized by the continued success of her AVID graduates.  For her work in AVID, Ms. Henderson was named the 2015 Kaiser Healthcare Teacher of the Year. She has been the student-selected keynote speaker for Parkrose High School’s graduation ceremonies for the last two years.
     In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she serves as an AVID Site Coordinator and the district’s Instructional Coach for Science, where she works with teachers in grades six to twelve to implement equitable practices and increase engagement and learning within Parkrose STEM classrooms.   In 2018, she helped open access to computer science for girls and students of color by bringing Exploring Computer Science to Parkrose through the CS for all Initiative. Ms. Henderson is a member of Portland State University’s CyberPDX cohort, a member of the East Metro STEM Partnership, and is Parkrose High School’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) club advisor.  In 2017, she was selected to be a MESA lead teacher, and has helped to develop annual curriculum that has reached students all over Oregon. She is delighted to have been selected as a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching finalist, and is grateful for the support and acknowledgement provided.

Sarah Carlson
Condon High School, Condon, OR
Sarah Carlson has been teaching science in rural eastern Oregon for over 30 years.  Her career in education began with formal training at Oregon State University where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science education.  Upon graduation in 1983, she married her husband, Clint, and took her first teaching position at Heppner Junior High in Heppner, Oregon. Throughout her career, Sarah has been involved with a variety of educational experiences including:  coordinating informal pre-K Hands on Science Outreach programs in several eastern Oregon counties, conducting riparian entomology research at the Hermiston Agriculture Research Center as a lab manager and research assistant, and teaching science online through the Oregon Connections Academy.  She is in her 10th year of teaching at Condon High School in Condon, Oregon where she is responsible for the high school science classes, art and photography electives, and serves as the senior class advisor.  She is a Regional Director for OSTA, and trained facilitator for the Oregon Science Project.     
     Sarah and Clint have two adult children, Alex and Julianne.  Alex is an MD/PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Julianne is an account manager for Expeditor’s International.  Sarah and Clint live on and operate the Carlson Family ranch where they grow dryland wheat annually. Sarah has a passion for bringing the highest quality science education to rural students and strives to ensure her students have the most relevant educational experiences.  “I have just always loved science and have wanted to share that love with others. I am particularly interested in continuously improving my teaching and in helping other students and teachers be more successful in the science classroom.”

Jason Gallbraith
Sunset High School, Portland, OR
Jason Started his career with a Master's Degree in Artificial Intelligence, but then realized he enjoyed teaching more than research. After getting his teaching degree, he landed a job at Sunset High School, where he has been since 2007. In that time, he has taught a huge variety of technology classes for all levels of students, from technology introductions for middle school students to college-level computer science classes. At Sunset, his classes include 3D modeling, video game creation, web design, robotics, Java programing, C++ programing, and data structures. He also coaches video game teams, mentors robotics teams, runs a few after-school clubs, and runs girls-only technology camps. In his spare time, he helps teach for Saturday Academy, runs workshops for the Oregon Computer Science TEachers Association, and attempts to make a professional level computer Go player with Professor Peter Drake of Lewis & Clark College.

2019 OSTA Outstanding Teaching Awardees

One of the most important functions of the Oregon Science Teachers Association is to recognize outstanding science educators across the state.  Each year the OSTA Executive Board selects several individuals for statewide and regional awards.  The Awardees are selected by committee from individuals nominated by members of OSTA.

Presenting the awards is OSTA President Connie Robbins.

Statewide Awards

Duane Marshall Special Service to Science Education Award
Duane Marshall was an outstanding career teacher from Newberg High School, active in OSTA, and an important contributor to science education in Oregon. This award in his name in intended to honor those individuals who, as classroom teachers, have made significant contributions to science teaching in their own classrooms and beyond. The awardee was selected based on career longevity and body of work, statewide and regional influence, enthusiasm for science, and the ability to motivate students and colleagues alike.

Cindy Drouhard, Greater Albany Public Schools, Albany, OR

Cindy has done amazing work with science curriculum at all levels.At the middle level she has helped to create commonality in sequence and assessment. She has put together an amazing outdoor school for sixth grade students. All of this on top of being an awesome teacher! Cindy was instrumental in moving GAPS science to the NGSS.  She was the driving force to get 4 middle schools in line with common assessments.  Here work with Outdoor school is far above and beyond any other district I have heard about.  While Cindy was still in the class she took on student teachers and helped guide them through the new standards and teaching.  Her outreach and collaboration with Calapooia Watershed, Oregon State Extension, and the local ESD has extended her impact far beyond GAPS. Cindy has done amazing work with science curriculum at all levels.At the middle level she has helped to create commonality in sequence and assessment. She has put together an amazing outdoor school for sixth grade students. All of this on top of being an awesome teacher!

Fred Fox Distinguished Service to Science Education Award
This award is named in honor of Fred Fox, a distinguished and well-loved teacher educator from Oregon State university (1957-82). The award is intended to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to mentoring and developing new teachers. It is intended for nominees involved in teacher training programs at the college level, ESD, district administrators or other administrative positions. The awardee is selected based on career longevity, breadth of influence, enthusiasm for science and the profession of science education, and the demonstrated ability to motivate.

Adele Schepige, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR

Adele has been a Science Teacher educator at WOU for more than 30 years and has participated in a number of national and statewide initiatives to better prepare both elementary and secondary teachers and promote science education. She has been a previous OSTA board member and has partcipated in many joint OSTA teacher development projects.

The Sunrise Scholarship

The Sunrise Scholarship Award was established by long-time OSTA Board Member, Lynn Mitchell.  Lynn was a science teacher at Hood River High school, and spent many years on the OSTA board in a number of capacities.  His vision for this scholarship was to support early career teachers to get involved with their professional organization, take advantage of the resources available through being a member, and setting the stage for the next generation of science leaders in OSTA. The Sunrise Scholarship is used to pay registration to attend the next two (2) OSTA Statewide Conferences, and a 2-year membership in OSTA.

Blake Poynor, Crook County Middle School, Prineville, OR

Blake is committed to the profession and is always searching for opportunities to improve his practice. He is dedicated to his students and would be a likely candidate for working with OSTA on statewide initiatives. Blake shared reflections on his teaching practice with OSTA last year, when he wrote an article that appeared in the November 2018 edition of The Oregon Science Teacher entitled “Grounding the Next Generation in Place.” In the article, Blake shared his experiences at the conference and how he planned to take what he had learned into his classroom.

The Thor Sabo Special Service to the Oregon Science Teachers Association Award

This award is named in honor of Thor Sabo, a teacher at Hillsboro High School for many years who also served OSTA as President, Executive Director, and who was responsible for helping organize many annual conferences. This award will be given to an individual who has made significant and long-term contributions of time and effort to supporting the mission of OSTA and to facilitate excellence and continuous improvement in science education.

Lori Lancaster, retired educator, Portland, OR

Anyone who has been involved with OSTA over the last several years will know Lori well. Lori holds key organizational knowledge that keeps everything running smoothly. She can always be counted on to help, both in her board member roles as Registrar and Membership Coordinator, and by always being ready and willing to answer questions, make connections with community partners and educators, complete conference tasks, and more. Lori is passionate about the importance of science education for Oregon’s youth, and has dedicated her life’s work to this cause, both as a high school chemistry teacher and a tireless advocate through OSTA. We thank her for her service to our organization.

The NGSS Team Award

As Dr. Okhee Lee said, NGSS implementation is a relay, and the strongest runners - the classroom teachers - take the baton over the finish line. OSTA has created the NGSS Team Award to honor the incredible teamwork happening at schools and districts statewide. This award will be given to a team of K-12 teachers who are sharing the work of implementing NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment at their school or in their district. 

Springfield School District High School Science Team

"The process of implementing new standards is a difficult one. It’s really, really hard to align practices and instruction. It’s taken years to dig into the standards, learn them and agree on how to implement them. Change is hard for everyone, but this group of teachers worked really hard to accomplish this. I’m proud of their perseverance and working through the struggle of making change. I’m excited for them and want to help them collaborate and continue to keep going. I’m proud of our district." - Dara Brennan, OSTA President 2016-19

Regional Awards

These awards are meant to recognize and honor the work of outstanding classroom teachers in the categories of Early Career, Elementary, Middle, and High School.  From every region in Oregon, awardees are selected based on their ability to motivate student achievement and excitement in science.

Region 1: Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, & Clatsop Counties

Sara Tyler, Mountainside High School, Beaverton, OR
Early Career

Sara is an enthusiastic, dedicated professional teacher. She is collaborative and creative, hard-working and considerate, she is a great colleague. Students appreciate her and she brings out the best in them. She is beginning a wonderful career in education.

Erin McKee, Faubion Elementary School, Portland, OR
I first met Erin when she was a participant in the K-8 Instructional Specialist grant. Despite being a newer classroom teacher with a challenging job, Erin threw herself into the intensive 3-year program, which included a school year commitment and summer courses. Since then, I've seen Erin continue to push herself as a science educator by developing and implementing science units with her second grade team at Faubion School, helping to develop an Early Learning workshop for preschool teachers in Washington County, and more recently, writing second grade curriculum for the benefit of all students in Portland Public Schools. Erin shows again and again her deep dedication to science education, despite the roadblocks that she may face as an elementary teacher. She is committed to providing access to science for each and every one of her students, and inspires her colleagues to do the same.

Jessica Augden, Alder Creek Middle School, Milwaukie, OR
Middle School
Jessica effectively teaches science in a dual language immersion program. She makes science core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts accessible to a diverse group of students. She also serves as a 6th grade science teacher leader for the district. In this role, she facilitates and supports the development of instructional skills within our middle school science team.

Perry Decker, Rainier Junior/Senior High School, Rainier, OR
Middle School
Perry goes above and beyond in the classroom always helping students be successful in the classroom. Students like his classes and he has a huge group that is in his room even at lunch time. I urge the organization to consider Mr. Decker for a science award. He is an outstanding teacher!!  He does cool projects in the classroom as well.

Dionne Marshall, Warrenton Grade School, Warrenton, OR
Middle School
Dionne is the best with children. She always gives them something to think about and to figure out. She’s always striving to better our programs!

Jessyca Chamberlain, Southridge High School, Beaverton, OR
High School
Jessyca works tirelessly both for her students and for teachers across the state who have used the Patterns Biology curriculum she has contributed substantially to. Jessy has strong relationships and engages her students in the science practices every day. She also consistently provides language supports, reaches out to students who miss school or are struggling at home, and is a passionate advocate for science equity both in her school and across the state through her professional development work. Jessy is an innovator in the NGSS, and has played a critical role in developing storylines, phenomena, assessments, and discussion protocols that teachers across the state are utilizing to implement the high school life science NGSS standards in their classrooms.  On top of her science leadership, Jessy coaches softball, advises Key Club, and teaches IB Biology (where she has encouraged a record number of students to enroll in this course of rigor). She truly has an inclusive, inquisitive, and exciting classroom and is pushing science education forward.

Monica Garcia, Southridge High School, Beaverton, OR
High School
Monica has been a force for equity and science education. Tirelessly working for her all her students, she often reworks shared materials so they will be accessible for all her students. She teaches multiple preps and in multiple languages. Her work is visually stunning and she openly shares it, so many educators and students benefit from it. Further, Monica is vocal in the larger education ecosystem to challenge inequity and passionately advocates for student needs. She is a true equity champion.

Joe Minato, Lincoln High School, Portland, OR
High School
I have known Joe Minato for three years as a colleague and friend. He is one of the kindest and sincere people I’ve ever met. Students are so drawn to his magnetic personality and teaching style that he routinely teaches over 180 in AP Physics 1 each semester because he doesn’t want to turn anyone away. Our school doesn’t offer AP Physics with Calculus, so Joe voluntarily teaches the content in the evenings to students who want to take the exam. He does not get paid for this. Outside the classroom, Joe does significant community work. In just two years, he has grown an astronomy club so large that they have had to subdivide into three teams that focus telescope building, research, and outreach. Joe regularly hosts star parties on the Wilson campus, connecting students with the Rose City Astronomers who bring their telescopes and guide students to explore planets, nebulae, and galaxies. These events are critical in reaching kids who don’t see themselves as scientists. Every summer Joe runs an astronomy camp at Pine Mountain Observatory in Central Oregon. Again, he does not get paid to do this. He is a mentor for early-mid career teachers, like myself, will always take time to help brainstorm solutions to problems whether regarding a student, a lab activity, or life. He is the most loved and respected teacher I know in our community of SW Portland. I can think of no one better deserving of an award.

Dave Savage, Century High School, Hillsboro, OR
High School

Dave Savage is a true professional educator, modeling that the best educators are lifelong learners. A veteran in the classroom, Dave has brought decades of experience teaching high school physics into Oregon where he has been a foundational support for the Hillsboro School District in implementing the Patterns Approach. He has mentored and coached his colleagues, participated in regional professional learning, and serves on the Physics Council, as sponsored by the Portland Metro STEM Partnership. Dave's experience and early adoption has made him not only a popular and effective teacher, but also a teacher-leader in Hillsboro. He is very deserving of OSTA recognition!

Region 2: Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton & Lincoln Counties

Madison Delong, Silverton High School, Silverton, OR
Early Career
I have been so impressed with Madison over the past few years! She's hit the ground running like a pro and her students love her. Madison is constantly looking for ways to draw her students in and capture their interests in her courses. She differentiates content effectively by working closely with our LRC teachers and developing/overseeing our basic skills science concepts class. You would be hard pressed to find a more deserving candidate.

Danielle Flood, Stayton High School, Stayton, OR
Early Career
Danielle has a keen scientific mind and understanding of science standards. She has implemented rigorous curriculum and high expectations for her students, connecting their learning to real-world scenarios and giving them tools and strategies to think like scientists. Mrs. Flood is rapidly becoming a teacher leader and is eager to learn. She seeks out coaching and feedback from both myself and an instructional coach in our district and she rapidly responds to and implements suggestions. Last year Mrs. Flood took on a huge leadership role in her department when one of her colleagues needed to unexpectedly retire early. Mrs. Flood worked hand-in-had with a long term substitute who was not trained in science, developing lessons and assessments for him and even assisting in grading student work. She is truly a team player, dedicated to her own life-long learning and the success of her students.

Angie Wright, Neskowin Valley School, Neskowin, OR
Angie has created programs within our school this past year to lead her students in their own community activism projects as they have used their voices to raise awareness and analyze data about tourism and hotels, and the litter that added to Lincoln County beaches because of natural, and human made factors.

Ian Niktab, Nellie Muir Elementary, Woodburn, OR
Ian has been our ‘Science Guy’ since the very first day he started working in Nellie Muir. He has been in charge of our school garden, Smile program and school pond, among many other things. He was also part of the district workforce that piloted and picked the new science curriculum for our district. Ian, as a botanist and a teacher, has always found ways to incorporate science in his classroom. Through his lessons, he has been able to invite all his students into a magical world in which every student is able to explore their own curiosity on how our world works. How are earthquakes made? Why is the rain not salty? Why is our blood red? How do volcanoes work? How can we clean the oceans? All these questions are just a few questions that his students started asking themselves on the very first day of science this year. His inquiry based learning engages students and thanks to many hands-on activities, he has bee able to enhance student learning in a fun and interesting manner for everyone. It is not weird to see Ian wearing his tall boots in our pond fixing the filter or adding Wapato plants for our turtles to eat.

Michelle Borst, Dayton Junior High, Dayton, OR
Middle School
Michelle has been a leading force in establishing a high-quality STEM-based program at Dayton Junior High School.  Several years ago, she sought funding to start robotics programs at both Dayton Junior High School and Dayton High School.  Although both programs are new, they have become some of the better small-school programs in Oregon.  She also led the efforts to modernize the Science curriculum at Dayton Junior High, raising the bar on all of the Science Inquiry projects in the school. In addition, Michelle has started several design principle courses through the nationally recognized Innovate Dayton program.

Britton Castor, Falls City High School, Falls City, OR
High School
Britton has been teaching first at Kings Valley Charter School 5-12 science and now at Fall City High School as a Chemistry and Environmental Science teacher.  She has developed a culture in her classroom that has students seeing themselves as scientists and speaking and writing like scientists.  She has greatly influenced the science culture in her rural locations to elevate science once more as a most important area of study convincing her administration, parents, colleagues and most importantly students.

Region 3: Lane, Douglas, Coos, & Curry County

Halli Roussell, Lincoln Middle School, Cottage Grove, OR
Early Career
Halli is an inspired teacher who draws on her experiences leading summer science camp activities and conducting neuroscience research to make learning engaging, fun, current, authentic, and relevant for her middle schoolers. Halli connects with her students, their needs and interests. To engage and prepare students for a curriculum filled with student-driven investigations, Halli starts the year with labs such as “how much sugar is in your bubblegum?” and “what do scientists look like?” Sensitive to her students’ lives, Halli stocks a food pantry in her classroom to ensure no students go hungry. I see Halli as a future teacher-leader.

Angela Ruzicka, Cal Young Middle School, Eugene, OR
Middle School
Angie has been a valuable colleague for me (teaching at the community college level). She tells me about curriculum design at the middle school level that incorporates NGSS standards. I watched her teach preservice science and math teachers as part of the UO MAT program. Her careful attention to detail and planning for that level of curriculum greatly impressed me. I work at the national level on introductory biology curriculum design in higher education and Angie helps me understand the middle school science perspective and suggests readings. We often discuss interdisciplinary topics like quantitative biology. Her positive attitude towards student achievement keeps me going.

Christopher Emmick, North Douglas High School, Drain, OR
High School
Simply, Chris's enthusiasm for science and the pursuit of knowledge is contagious. Being at the ESD, I have the opportunity to work with all of the science teachers in my county. Chris stands out as a leader in the field, an inspiration to his students, and a pride to the profession.

Region 4: Josephine, Jackson, Klamath & Lake Counties

Nicole Spangler, Eagle Rock Elementary, Eagle Point, OR
Nicole makes science learning fun and engaging in her classroom. She knows that the curriculum doesn’t have the material needed to master the standard, and takes the steps to supplement with other materials. She is an amazing educator with a passion for her students.

Region 5: Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, Marrow Umatilla & Grant Counties

Amy Foley, Hood River Valley High School, Hood River, OR
High School
Amy has played an integral role in bringing computer science courses to Hood River. She proposed the first ever "computer science for all" course, titled Exploring Computer Science, and successfully recruited a diverse group of students to take the class. Now she has worked hard all summer to prepare to teach an AP Computer Science Principles course. Amy does not come from a computer science background and has worked to teach herself as well as take professional development courses in CS in order to benefit the students in our community. In addition to computer science, Amy is also teaching a variety of life science courses such as Biology and Research, Genetics and Bioethics. She works hard to engage all students and provides create ways to learn challenging material.

Region 6: Jefferson, Cook, Deschutes, & Harney Counties

Raleigh Shepler, Crane Elemetary, Crane, OR
Early Career
Raleigh is a young, energetic teacher, who has stepped up to making time for science in her busy second and third grade classroom. She makes it fun for the kids and includes engaging strategies that is NGSS aligned to help students learn and think like scientists. She has expressed a need for more science support, therefore I feel she is a great candidate for this award!

Jennifer Hauser Stacey Moser

Fields Elementary, Fields, OR
Jennifer along with her colleague Stacey work as a team to incorporate their science instruction within the K-8 classroom.  They work hard to provide the best science opportunities in their very remote (frontier) school district in South Harney, taking field trips to explore sun stones, caves, hot springs, etc. that are natural and abundant.  They provide intriguing phenomena in every unit and teach students how to critically think about science.  They work hard to understand how to teach NGSS and ask for help when needed.  As a team, their science instruction is stellar!

Region 7: Wallowa, Union, Baker & Malheur Counties

Sarah Jacobson, Grande Ronde Academy, La Grande, OR
Early Career
Sarah is a teacher who believes in hands-on and experiential learning for her middle school students. She searchs for meaningful lessons, borrows materials and ask for ideas from other educators. Sarah is recognized as the science "go to person" in her school. It is great to see a teacher, from a non- public school, working to ensure that her students have a quality science education.

Lena Wheeling, Island City Elementary, La Grande, OR
Lena is a second grade teacher at Island City Elementary School in La Grande. Students in Lena's class experience exciting science units that involve them in hands-on, active lessons. Her science units are designed in a way that help students build conceptual understanding of the content while being fully immersed in the activities. She has inspired her students to love science. Lena cares strongly about the students’ learning and retaining the information. She works hard to incorporate the NGSS and science practices into her elementary school classroom and s believes in the abilities of second grade students to learn and do real science.  Lena is a teacher who goes the extra mile for her students. She is very deserving of this award.

Nancy McDonald, Imbler Middle School, Imbler, OR
Middle School
Nancy teaches middle school science as well as Engineering Design at Imbler MS/HS. Nancy continually finds ways to keep students actively involved in learning science and engineering. She seeks out lessons and experiences for her whole class as well as for individual students. Nancy knows her students well and is committed to providing them with effective and engaging lessons aligned to NGSS. She emphasises problem solving, inquiry and project based learning in her classroom. Nancy has been teaching for many years but she continues to seek out new teaching ideas and new opportunities for her students. She is an accomplished and dedicated science teacher and deserves to be recognized for all of her hard work.

Annetta Evans, Baker High School, Baker, OR
High School
Annetta has taught science to a variety of students throughout her teaching career. She has recently taken the teaching position at Eagle Cap Innovative High School in the Baker School District. Annetta understands that the best way to engage students is to give them hands-on, interactive experiences that capture their curiosity. She continually searches out new science lessons to keep her students involved and learning. Annetta freely gives her time to attend professional development opportunities and makes sure her students have the chance to participate in science challenges and experiences. Annetta deserves to be recognized for all she does for students. She is a great science teacher.


4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd, #1025
Portland, Oregon

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software