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Carla Billups  
Carla is currently a 5th grade teacher at Jonathan Valley Elementary School where she teaches science and technology. Along with being a national trainer for the AIMS Education Foundation, she has written inquiry based activities for the North Carolina Department of Instruction that will be available online this year. She is a regional trainer for the North Carolina Math and Science Education Network through Western Carolina University. In 2004 she was a Toyota Tapestry Grant winner in Science Literacy. She also has her National Board Certification, has been Haywood County Math Teacher of the Year as well as Haywood Soil and Conservation District's Conservation Teacher of the Year. She has been recently appointed to NSTA's/Children's Book Council's Outstanding Science Trade Books selection committee. She will begin her summer in Yellowstone traveling with fellow teachers with North Carolina's Museum of Natural Science Educators of Excellence program before coming to the Houston Academy.

Sharon Bowers
Sharon is an Educator-in-Residence working for the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) and Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She has taught science for more than 25 years and her work with children earned her recognition as a Secondary Science Presidential Award Winner for Virginia. Sharon also writes activities and trains teachers for the AIMS Education Foundation and has been a writer and reviewer for Harcourt Science.

Crystal Brookens
Crystal is currently an instructional resource teacher/math coach in a 6-8 middle school. She provides staff development and support in the implementation of district-wide mathematics programs at school, district, and administrative levels. For the past 15 years she has worked in St. Mary's County, MD, as an elementary school teacher, math coach, and district math coordinator.   She has worked at the state level on Maryland’s Voluntary State Curriculum and setting the standards for the Maryland State Assessment. Crystal is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Mathematics.

Ramona Chang

Dr. Ramona Chang currently serves as Curriculum Director for the Torrance Unified School District, where she oversees professional development projects for both teachers and administrators focused on improving student achievement district-wide, a position that requires her to keep current her knowledge of best educational and pedagogical practices.  To this end, she has served as a faculty member for the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher Academy since 2008, as well as a consultant and faculty member for The Sally Ride Science Academy since 2009.  She is a proud graduate of USC, where she completed a doctorate of education in instructional leadership.  Dr. Chang used her STEM Education expertise when appearing as a witness before the Congressional Committee on Education and the Workforce.      ( has also been recognized for her educational leadership by the Association of California School Administrators (ASCA) as Region XIV Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year.

Marilyn Griego

Carrie Hill

Carrie is currently teaching at Highcrest Elementary School in Wethersfield, Connecticut. This will complete her ninth year teaching fourth grade. Prior to teaching fourth graders, she was an adjunct at Central Connecticut State University, teaching Algebra to freshman. Carrie was a 2009 participant at the New Jersey Academy before becoming an instructor at the 2011 New Orleans Academy. In July 2008, she was selected for the Science Inquiry Literacy Learning Community Grant sponsored by Central Connecticut State University. Through the Grant, Carrie was able to develop inquiry-based lessons to enhance her school’s Science Curriculum.


Rich Hogen

Rich is currently full time faculty at Arizona State University in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education  As a site coordinator for the iTeachAZ program, he supervises 35 teacher candidates in addition to teaching classes in elementary science methods, elementary math methods, classroom assessment, and student teaching in special education. He earned his National Board Certification (Middle Childhood Generalist) and was the National Science Teachers Association Division Director for Preschool/Elementary Science. Rich is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, CESI/CIBA National Exemplary Elementary Science Teacher, and was the Arizona Elementary Science Teacher of the Year. He was a finalist for Arizona Teacher of the Year and is a member of the Arizona State University College of Education Hall of Fame.

Annita Lakey

Annita has been an educator for more than 25 years. She currently is the manager for the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Induction program for the West Contra Costa USD (WCCUSD) in Richmond,CA. Annita began her career as a mathematics teacher in alternative education and middle school in Tulsa, OK. After moving to California, she continued teaching 7th and 8th grade mathematics in Pinole, CA. She has participated in a number of mathematics projects including the Equity In Math Education Leadership Institute, The Algebra Project and Girls & Math Project and has facilitated district/regional workshops on building community/classroom management and coaching/mentoring.


Nancy Low

Nancy currently works as a part-time instructor for Math Solutions and also works as an independent math education consultant providing professional development in mathematics in school districts across the U.S. She recently retired from her position as an Elementary Math Specialist for Portland Public Schools where she worked for 22 years. Her positions included classroom teacher, Title 1 coordinator, and a teacher on special assignment providing math support to individual teachers, school staff teams, administrators, and parent groups.

Nicole Martin
Nicole is an Elementary Science Specialist with the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI).  AMSTI is a K-12 statewide initiative that promotes hands-on, inquiry learning.  As a speciaist, she provides on-site teacher support, designs and facilitates content specific professional development, and serves as liason to the Alabama State Department of Education.  She is a science content writer and on-line facilitator for MEMTA.  She has a master's degree in elementary education and 12 years of elementary teaching experience.

Rose Palmer

Rose has been in education for 19 years. She is currently a mathematics specialist for Portland Public Schools. She has taught grades 3-8 providing math support for students, teachers, school staff, community members, and administrators. In her current role, she designs curricula, presents at workshops, and provides professional development for teachers and administrators.

Sherry Parrish

Sherry is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and began her career in education in 1979.  She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama in Birmingham where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in mathematics and curriculum and instruction.  Sherry Parrish is the author of Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies, Grades K-5, which received the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers. Sherry is a national board certified teacher and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Sharon Pearson
Sharon is a fifth grade teacher at Sandy Searles Miller IB Academy for International Studies in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching and was named Teacher of the Year for the Clark County School District. She was a Teacher Argonaut for the JASON Project and recently received her National Board Certification.

Stephanie Sheffield
Stephanie, an elementary-school teacher for more than 20 years, is the author of two teacher resource books: Math and Literature (K–3), Book Two (Math Solutions Publications, 1995) and Teaching Arithmetic: Lessons for First Grade (Math Solutions Publications, 2001). She is a workshop leader and a speaker at state and national math conferences, and she is currently a mathematics specialist in Spring Independent School District in the Houston, Texas area. Stephanie has written for Creative Classroom and Instructor magazines.


Gene Williams   

Gene is the science lab instructor at Carver Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He began his career as an elementary school classroom teacher. However, throughout his career Gene has taught mathematics and science to gifted and talented students, while additionally providing intervention services to at-risk students. Gene volunteers as a board member for Arkansas’ Destination Imagination and has been a Destination Imagination Team Manager for students in the Little Rock School District for over 10 years. Over the years his teams have attended the Destination Imagination Global Finals which compete with students in over 30 different counties. In 2001 he created a small chess club which has now expanded to include over 300 students throughout the state of Arkansas.  Gene attended the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy with a team of teachers in 2008 and in 2009 he became part of the Faculty. 


Tony Zini

Tony is currently working in an administrative role as teacher on special assignment.  He oversees various school programs and supports teachers, students and staff in various capacities.  Tony has been teaching for 11 years in Huntington Beach, California.  He taught third grade before accepting his current position. Tony works as Beginning Teacher Support Provider where he coaches and supports new teachers.  As a Technology Coordinator he supports teachers through regular training and works with the community to bring technology to the classroom.   Tony developed and implemented an after school science program that utilizes hands-on, inquiry-based methods.  Tony is a writer who frequently contributes to the Huffington Post on education issues.