In The News

This year's Outstanding Administrative Support Award (OASA) recipient is Dr. Darlene C. Ryan, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary, Durham Public Schools North Carolina

This prestigious award recognizes and honors an outstanding administrator who through professional work has demonstrated exemplary support for science education at the school, district, and/or county level. This award honors an administrator whose primary responsibility is outside the area of science instruction. This year the $1000 award and plaque will be presented to Dr. Darlene Ryan virtually during the NSELA Leadership Summit on May 13 and during the Summer Leadership Institute in July.

Dr. Darlene Ryan has demonstrated outstanding leadership in science/STEM education in three North Carolina school districts starting as a classroom teacher in 1978 to her current role as Assistant Superintendent for Elementary for Durham Public Schools. Her passion and long-term support over thirty years for science, STEM, and technology education at the local, state, national and international levels is truly exemplary and serves as a model for other leaders. Dr. Ryan’s past work roles include teacher leader, STEM coach, district-level science/math coordinator, principal, and executive director for curriculum/instruction. Even though Darlene in her more recent work roles is responsible for all content areas, her support for science/STEM education has never wavered. Due to her excellent work, she has received numerous awards including these honors: North Chatham School Teacher of the Year, Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, UNC at Chapel Hill, NCSLA Herman Gatling Award for Outstanding Science Education Leadership, and Principal of the Year in Chapel Hill Carrboro City School System.

Dr. Ryan’s current supervisor states “she is an excellent leader, colleague, communicator and collaborator. Her effective communication skills allow her to facilitate principal meetings involving district staff while providing strategies to build instructional leadership.” In her work with elementary principals, she supports monitoring science data, provides specific recommendations for improvement, and pairs struggling schools with high performing schools. Her collaborative teamwork with other district leaders on equity and inclusion is showcased as a model for other U.S. districts. Dr. Ryan empowers school leaders to re-imagine science education through STEAM initiatives that have resulted in positive outcomes for students. This includes collaborating with community organizations for student-centered project-based learning. Her legacy for project-based learning continues in her previous district through an ongoing partnership with the NC State Botanical Gardens. Earlier work in her first district built a sustainable partnership with the NC Zoo. As a member of the NC Zoo team, Darlene traveled to Uganda to work with schools and national parks to assess learning needs and hosted a Uganda team in North Carolina.

Throughout Dr. Ryan’s education leadership journey, she has been and continues to be actively engaged with science education organizations and takes on leadership positions. Examples include NSELA President and Region C Director; NC Science Teachers Association District 5 Director; and NC Science Leadership Association President, District Director, and Leadership Fellows Facilitator. Dr. Ryan has given numerous science/STEM presentations at state and national conferences and is the co-author of a book chapter on “School Leadership and Politics”.

NSELA is proud to present the 2021 OASA Award to Dr. Darlene Ryan. Her over thirty-year commitment is truly exemplary and a model for other leaders. A quote from a support letter: “Darlene’s support for and understanding of the importance of science/STEM is ingrained in her entire persona: she walks the talk in every respect!”


This year's Outstanding Leadership in Science Education (OLISE) Award recipient is Dr. Meredith Bell, Secondary Science Curriculum Designer, Prosper ISD

Since 1979, this prestigious award recognizes and honors an NSELA member, who through professional work, has demonstrated outstanding leadership in science education at the school, county, regional and/or national level. This year the $1000 award and plaque will be presented to Dr. Meredith Bell virtually during the NSELA Leadership Summit on May 13 and during the Summer Leadership Institute in July.

Dr. Meredith Bell is an incredible science/STEM leader for her district, Texas, and the nation. Her career path began in a genetics research lab. Her passion for sharing the love of science with others led to teaching high school physics, launching an AP Physics program, and becoming the Secondary Science Curriculum Designer for Prosper ISD. A quote from Meredith: “The beauty of leadership is that anyone can lead, from any position, with any title. My own leadership focus is to provide support, build capacity, and advocate for changes that result in an authentic science education for all. My roles have varied over time, but my goal to build future generations of scientists and science advocates has remained the same.”

Dr. Bell’s exemplary leadership began in 2006. Here are some examples of her many stellar accomplishments. As an AP Physics teacher, a focus to increased female enrollment from 10 to 50 percent was successful, and many of these students later pursued advanced degrees and careers in STEM.  In her current district work, Dr. Bell collaborates with teachers to design curriculum documents using the Understanding by Design philosophy that is student-centered and inquiry-based with a focus on high levels of application. She participates in and supports professional learning communities that include teachers, campus administrators, directors, and other members of the design team. Through advocacy to drive change for Texas science education, Dr. Bell is making an impact at the state level.  As a member of a coalition of science education leaders, she provided testimony to the Texas State Board of Education advocating for the use of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards as primary resources during the revision of the Texas science standards. In 2020, she was appointed to both the high school physics and middle school science Texas standards work groups.

Dr. Bell is active with several science organizations including MASS, STAT, TSELA, NSELA, and NSTA, where she works to educate, collaborate and advocate for improved science education. For the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, she has served as a proposal reviewer, steering committee member, presenter, and volunteer. She served on the Sci-Tech Discovery Center Board of Directors and was also an AP Physics Reader for the College Board. An example of her many recent professional co-presentations is: Advocacy in Science Education. Further, Dr. Bell has co-authored two publications that address specific science areas involving global collaboration that enhances technological literacy and the topic of 21st century science.

NSELA is proud to present the 2021 OLISE Award to Dr. Meredith Bell. She is an exemplary role model for science/STEM leaders and continues her own learning journey to improve access to an engaging, meaningful science education for all students.


"A Safety Minute" Tips by Dr. Ken Roy - NSELA Safety Compliance Officer

Posted: February 28, 2021

NSELA Safety Minute by Dr. Ken Roy – NSELA Safety Compliance Officer - For current safety updates five days a week, follow Dr. Ken on [email protected].

“Chemical Management Resource Guide for School Administrators" Helpful EPA resource for science teachers, administrators, chemical hygiene officers and supervisors. Variety of topics critical to managing chemicals in laboratories safer! Click here for more.




Sign Up for "Teaching K-12 Science and Engineering During a Crisis" Webinar March 3 at 1 pm CT

Posted: Feb. 24, 2021

Join us on Wednesday, March 3rd at 1:00PM CST for a FREE webinar for members and non-members. The recording will be available for NSELA members only.

The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in widespread and ongoing changes to how the K–12 education system functions, including disruptions to science teaching and learning environments. In early September, 2020, the Board on Science Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Teaching Science During the COVID-19 Pandemic, to offer guidance to science educators as they take on the challenge of adapting instruction to these challenging times. The guide aims to describe what high quality science and engineering education can look like in a time of great uncertainty and to support practitioners as they work toward their goals. This session will provide an overview of the key principles in the guide and engage participants in a discussion of how these principles can guide the difficult decisions they are making day to day as they navigate complex blends of virtual and in-person learning environments.​


Jennifer Childress Self is the Science Review Lead at NextGenScience, WestEd. Her work focuses on deepening understanding throughout the education field of the features vital to implementing today’s science standards. Prior to joining WestEd, Dr. Self worked with several international organizations, promoting research-based approaches to STEM education in developing countries. Previously, she served as the Director of instructional support for science at Achieve, where she supported state and district implementation of the NGSS and other Framework-based standards after coordinating the development of the NGSS. She also led the development of the Smithsonian’s Center for Building Awareness of Science Education and served as its director for four years before joining Achieve. Dr. Self received a doctorate in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Missouri.


Heidi Schweingruber, Ph.D., is the director of the Board on Science Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). In that role, she oversees a portfolio of work that includes K-12 science education, informal science education and higher education. Dr. Schweingruber joined the staff of the board in 2004 starting as a senior program officer. In this role, she directed or co-directed several projects including the study that resulted in the report A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) which served as the blueprint for the Next Generation Science Standards. She also directed a review of NASA’s pre-college education programs completed in 2008 and co-directed the study that produced the 2007 report Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. Dr. Schweingruber is a nationally recognized leader in leveraging research findings to catalyze improvements in science and STEM education policy and practice. She presents widely on the work of the board. Prior to joining NASEM Schweingruber worked as a senior research associate at the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. She was also the director of research for the Rice University School Mathematics Project an outreach program in K-12 mathematics education, and taught in the psychology and education departments at Rice University. Dr. Schweingruber holds a Ph.D. in psychology (developmental) and anthropology, and a certificate in culture and cognition from the University of Michigan. 

 Register Here



Register Now for 2021 Virtual Leadership Summit

Celebrating Diverse Identities in Science

In a year of multiple pandemics, NSELA is excited to bring together our membership for a day of diverse, thought-provoking sessions and discourse. This year's presenters come to us from all walks of science to broaden our horizons around the topic of equity & social justice. Registration is now open!

Join us VIRTUALLY on Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 10:30AM - 5:00PM CST

For a flyer for the event, click here.

 Registration Pricing 

NSELA Member: $99

Non-Member: $159 (this includes a one-year membership to NSELA)

For more information and to register, click here



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