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2017 OSTA Awards

Celebrating Excellence in Science Teaching

Awards were presented to the following individuals at the Awards Event held at Theory, the Cafe at OMSI on Thursday, October 12, 2017.  We are very proud to have these teachers as members of the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

OSTA Thanks

For sponsoring our Awardees

Presidential Awards 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 state finalists.   

State PAEMST Coordinator and ODE Science Specialist Jamie Rumage presented the awardees at the event at OMSI.

Chris Bartlo

Wilson High School


Chris Bartlo teaches Computer Science at Wilson High School, where he has helped develop a comprehensive 4-year CS program that focuses on student-generated projects. He is passionate about spreading Computer Science throughout the K-12 space and regularly offers professional development for teachers who want to bring coding to their classrooms. He works with Oregon CSTA, and numerous state and local initiatives to give young people more opportunities to code. Chris brings his academic background (Masters Degrees in Systems Science, Education and Mathematics, with a stint as an AI researcher), industry experience (as a developer, tester and entrepreneur) and love of gaming (having held a top-10 world ranking in several games) to developing curriculum that resonates with students of all ages. Chris was recently selected as a Paul Allen Distinguished Educator, honored with the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator award and is a past recipient of the Oregon Technology Educator of the Year award.

Greg Smith

West Salem High School


Greg Smith teaches computer science at West Salem High School, where he has developed the CTE program in computer science.  He continued with robotics and after helping with West’s FRC robotics team was able to run an FTC Robotics program (2007-2015) and a VEX Robotics Competition program (2010 - present). Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Education he brought Engineering Design back to West Salem and helped this program grow to three full sections this year. He has served as Salem-Keizer’s high school representative to the South-Metro Salem STEM Hub (2013-2016), acted as Oregon Commissioner for VEX Robotics (2010-2017), worked with the Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association in training teachers on how to run a VEX Robotics team, and coached a few of his students in kids youth soccer, football and basketball teams.

2017 OSTA Award Winners

OSTA President Jomae Sica, and President-Elect Dara Brennan, presented the OSTA Awards. 

The 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 is intended to honor those individuals who, as classroom teachers, have made significant contributions to science teaching in their own classrooms and beyond. The awardee will be 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. 

Nominated by: Carolyn Koskela

Connie Robbins

Crane Union High School


Connie Robbins has been teaching at Crane Union High School since 2010. In 2014, Connie was a co-author for the Stem/Steam grant that brought $160,000 to Harney County for Science Education, including development of a science trailer, professional development for teachers and a full day of Science Exploration for elementary students in Harney County at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  She has participated in ODE provided science PLT’s, is currently a part of the Oregon Science Project as a Learning Facilitator, and has been working with a core group of teachers in Harney County to develop a Multi-Grade NGSS Science Curriculum at the Elementary Level for Harney County Rural Schools which she will be presenting at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting. Connie has brought her Science Journal’s to other Eastern Oregon teachers in trainings. She has taught Chemistry, Biology, Biology 101/102, Physical Science, Elementary Science, Health, Forensics, and Art. Connie creates an exciting learning environment in every class she teaches from creating the HMS Beagle, real life experiences in ballistics, investigating invasive species, to collecting data on wells in the Harney Basin to assist development of mapping aquifers.  Connie is a dedicated teacher of teachers and students.

The Fred Fox Award for Distinguished Service to Science Education

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 or 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. 

Nominated by: Micki Caskey

Sybil Kelley

Portland State University


Sybil Kelley is an exemplary teacher educator and leader. Not only does she teach elementary science methods coursework for the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP), but she also teaches science and sustainability system courses in the Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE) program. In these teaching positions, she emphasizes the role that educational partnerships play in fostering science literacy for all learners, particularly teachers and K-12 students. She is dedicated to advancing educational systems that can help to build a sustainable future.

The Sunrise Scholarship

For teachers who have completed less than five years of full-time teaching, this scholarship is used to pay registration to attend two consecutive Oregon-hosted OSTA Conferences. Other expenses of attending the conferences are not covered. Recipients agree to volunteer to help out in some way at the second of these conferences, and are encouraged to attend OSTA board meetings to learn more about the organization. Scholarship winner will receive a free two-year membership in OSTA.

Early Career Teacher

Nominated by

David Hurley

Cascade High School


David has amazing energy working with freshman.  He brings tons of excitement about science into his classroom and his enthusiasm is contagious.  Students love him and so do teachers.  He works late every night to make his lessons entertaining and educational and highly adapted to his students needs.  He is also a highly independent new teacher and needs very little assistance from the rest of the department.  His positive attitude is refreshing and is passed onto his students which raises the general excitement about science school wide.

The OSTA Outstanding Classroom Teacher Awards

These awards are meant to recognize and honor the work of outstanding classroom teachers in the categories of Early Career (1-3 years of classroom experience), 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, community and administrative support, ability to support and mentor new and pre-service teachers, and overall contributions to the profession.

Region 1

Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia & Clatsop Counties

High School

Nominated by: Jeffrey Crapper

Doug Smith

Health & Science High School


Doug has spent the nearly 40 years as a dynamic Science teacher.  He is a master of student engagement, finding ways to hook nearly every student with high energy inquiry-based learning.  He exhibits an energy and enthusiasm rarely seen as an educator, and he willingly shares his expertise to others in our Science Department, finding ways to simply labs activities and obtain better results.  Even though he is late in his teaching career, it is amazing to see how Doug integrates technology into his instruction.  He also creates an amazing rapport with all students, helping them perform at their best.

High School

Nominated by: Jeff Crapper

Carlie Harris

Health & Science High School


Carlie has a radiant positive attitude and a sense of optimism that inspires not only her students, but also her peers as well. She is a Master Teacher through Project Lead The Way, a nationally recognized STEM organization.  She has transformed our Health Science CTE program at Health & Science HS, creating a nationally recognized program. Carlie also serves as the HOSA advisor at HS2, developing a program that has been recognized as a model school in Oregon.  She is a dynamic Anatomy & Physiology instructor, teaching several students who were later recognized as Ford Scholars and Gates Millennium Scholars.

High School

Nominated by: Bradford Hill

Matt McCollum

Southridge High School


Matt is among the most committed educators I have ever worked with. When not coaching he can often be found before and after school working one-on-one with students. He is reflective in his practice and when he identifies something that will benefit students he makes it happen. One example of this is when we had students struggling in science because of gaps in the mathematics, he collaborated with a math and another science teacher to revamp a math workshop class to make it more student centered and relevant through contextualizing the math with the science. This has lead to great success for these students in both their math and science courses. In addition to his teaching, coaching, and collaboration among our peers across our district, he facilitates professional learning experiences for teachers across Oregon.


Nominated by: Michelle Brock

Kaela Munoz

Sexton Mountain Elementary


Kaela is an amazing teacher who brings science to life for her students.  She helps create and foster a life-long love of learning in all areas, but her science lessons are spectacular and help the kids shine as scientists.  Her units bring out her students curiosity, giving them the tools that are necessary to be strong, successful learners and they have an incredible desire to continue asking the why. 

Region 2

Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton & Lincoln Counties


Nominated by: Stephan Price

San Juana Acosta-Gonzalez

Washington Elementary


San Juana excels at engaging students and making learning fun, using science as primary vehicle to accomplish that goal.  She is very quite and works from behind the scenes, and rarely gets any recognition for her efforts.  Her students are largely second language learners and economically disadvantaged, yet she finds creative ways to support their learning and growth despite those challenges.  Please consider San Juana Acosta-Gonzalez as a top nominee for this recognition.

Region 3

Lane, Douglas, Coos, & Curry Counties

High School

Nominated by: Chris Roe

Lindley Ballen

Phoenix School of Roseburg


Lindley is an exceptional and innovative science educator that focuses on student-centered activities and supports students in developing their own internal drive to lead to success. She makes a difference every day for students and makes a real commitment to go far above and beyond to help students reach their full potential. Lindley continues to focus on experiential and playful learning that fosters curiosity, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and reasoning.

High School

Nominated byChristina Geierman

Erica Street

North Bend High School

North Bend

Erica is a rock star teacher. After joining our department in 2014, Erica immediately recognized that our science curriculum was antiquated and rather boring to teach and learn. She helped lead the charge to adopt Beaverton’s Science for the Next Generation Curriculum, putting our high school at the cutting edge of NGSS adoption in the state. In 2015, she attended the training and helped our wonderful PLC adapt and implement Bradford Hill’s physics curriculum. In 2016, she did the same for chemistry. Due to difficulty scheduling courses in our small department, Erica will also be adapting and implementing our biology course this year. Tackling three new courses in three years is a tall order for any teacher, but Erica is a seasoned veteran and is doing a fine job. In addition, she has served on the committee to hire three of our five person team, has presented impassioned presentations to our school board to adopt the new textbooks we need, and helped purchase and organize the myriad supplies necessary to switch from a lecture-based to a lab-based curriculum. I’d hate to think what our department would be like without her!

Region 4

Josephine, Jackson, Klamath & Lake Counties

Middle School

Nominated by: Beth Anderson

Kirstin Johnson

Hedrick Middle School


Mrs. Johnson is an extraordinary Science teacher. She makes every lesson fun and engaging. Her commitment to student learning is above and beyond. She is always upbeat and positive. She spends a lot of time finding extremely creative ways to challenge and engage kids. Walking into her classroom and seeing students so involved with their learning is refreshing. We are so lucky to have her on our staff.

Region 5

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


Nominated by: Kathryn Davis

Holly Lavoie

Parkdale Elementary School

Hood River

Holly has worked hard to incorporate the NGSS into her elementary school classroom. She has inspired her students love of science through engaging curriculum and project based learning. Holly was awarded local grant money to support science extensions for her students. She has also provided guidance for other educators, leading professional development on the NGSS for her fellow elementary teachers and serving as a leader on the district science curriculum renewal team.

Region 6

Jefferson, Cook, Dechutes & Harney Counties


Nominated by: Connie Robbins

Linda Pelroy

Slater Elementary School


Linda has been teaching for almost 30 years.  Her passion is teaching geology and other earth science topics to her 5th grade class.  Mrs. Pelroy makes science come to life for her students.  Her method of teaching has always been to engage her students with interesting stories or phenomenon and then explore the science behind it.  So when it came to adapting to the new Oregon standards (NGSS) it was a natural fit.  For several years, she has been using the local geography to teach science. She plans a field trip every year to visit the local Diamond Craters, explaining how volcanic activity have helped change the land. Recently, Linda with our core group of teachers have been helping to reorganize the NGSS to fit a multi-grade classroom for our county rural schools.  She has contributed much to this curriculum and our teachers will begin to implement this NGSS aligned curriculum this year.  Her dedication to science education is evident in her classroom as well as her community.


4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd, #1025
Portland, Oregon

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