THE AMBASSADOR GROUP

TAG Members

Select or hover over the member you want to learn more about.

Adam Brown teaches kindergarten at Lakeside Elementary in Pittsburg, KS. He also assists with after-school programs and summer camps. Adam is most passionate about providing hands-on learning for his students and building relationships with them. He’s a past USD 250 Rising Star Award winner and a Crawford County Educator of the Year nominee. Adam is a big advocate for project-based learning (PBL) and hopes to use his previous PBL experience to bring PBL opportunities to his kindergarten students.
Jim Brown is a Grade 5 and 6 STEM teacher at Sand Creek Middle School in Albany, NY, and coach for a FIRST® LEGO® robotics team. He helped create the STEM program for South Colonie Central School District, which impacts every student in the district. For Jim, the best part of teaching is sparking curiosity in students and empowering them through education. He’s passionate about energy and problem-based learning and, as a certified energy manager, often conducts energy audits of educational facilities for the National Energy Education Development Project.
Michael Clark is a STEM teacher and assistant director for Volusia County’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. Promoting hands-on, project-based learning is truly his mission! Michael’s passion for STEM education began when he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and was driven by his time spent working for an engineering company that manufactures and tests advanced underwater electrical and fiber-optic communication systems.
Susan Gaboriau is the district technology integration specialist for the Putnam County School District in Palatka, FL. She heads up the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), FLL Jr. robotics teams, and the Dash n’ Dot robotics clubs for Putnam County, FL. Susan is passionate about STEAM, actively engaging students in hands-on experiences, and helping teachers properly integrate technology so that it enhances hands-on learning. In 2017, she introduced robotics in the district with one Dash n’ Dot club. The district now has 20 FLL, three FLL Jr., and three Dash n’ Dot clubs.
Chris Gibson is the STREAM lab teacher for Grades K-6 at S.F. Austin STEM Academy in Jones Creek, TX. She is currently in her 17th year of teaching and is passionate about providing hands-on STEM and 21st-century learning experiences for every student at the school. Chris served on the committee responsible for changing S.F. Austin to a STEM academy and loves seeing her students reap the benefits. She was a presenter at the 2017 Texas State STEM Conference and was named the S.F. Austin Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Teresia Harrison is the Library Media Specialist and Director of the Chandler-Watts Memorial Library as well as Co-Director of the Stratford Schools 21st CCLC Safe Program in Stratford, OK. Her role includes providing STEM and hands-on learning for students through an after school program and serving as the district’s librarian. Teresia has been teaching for 25 years and especially enjoys learning and growing along with her students and coworkers. In her new role as co-director of the Safe Program, she looks forward to hosting STEM and makerspace events for the entire community.
Everton Henriques has a passion for learning – and teaching – outside of his comfort zone. He fell in love with teaching when he served as a teaching assistant studying engineering, and he switched to a teaching career. He currently teaches engineering and technology at Staten Island Technical High School in Staten Island, NY. Everton believes that growing, helping people grow, and forging solid relationships is what life is all about. He holds degrees in Chemical Engineering, Ceramic Engineering, and Adolescent Education and was published in Solid State Ionics.
James Jones has been teaching science and engineering for more than 24 years and working with and teaching robotics for the past 22. He currently teaches at Wedgefield School in Orlando, FL. James has been a LEGO® Education trainer for the past 20 years and was a charter member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel. He was instrumental in the writing of the Florida state standards for high school robotics and helped start the Summer Robotics Institute at Mid Florida Technical College. James’s awards include three Disney Teacheriffic awards and two Epsilon Pi Tau awards.
Lisa Lewis is the gifted intellectual instructor at Lafayette Upper Elementary in Fredericksburg, VA. She is also the district STEM coordinator and an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington (UMW). In addition to her teaching roles, Lisa is also a Pathways to Excellence teacher mentor, a practicum facilitator for UMW, and a STEM instructor. She is passionate about all things STEM and believes children deserve opportunities to be exposed to the possibilities of life one idea at a time.
Keri Litewski is an early childhood teacher for USD 469 in Lansing, KS. She has been in education for 26 years and is extremely passionate about providing her students with materials that will expand their knowledge and skill set. Keri loves finding ways to adapt activities to meet the needs of her students with special needs and looks forward to working with Pitsco to bring hands-on STEM/STEAM materials into preschool classrooms.
David Lockett is the STEM/IT/robotics teacher at Edward W. Bok Academy in Lake Wales, FL. He is also an Einstein Fellow at the NASA Office of STEM. David is passionate about technology, aerospace, astronomy, and robotics and enjoys helping students become independent, confident learners through programs offered by NASA’s JPL Education and by teaching programming skills. He has also written articles for STEM Magazine, USA Today, and NSTA Reports.
Jessica Malloy is a STEM curriculum specialist and consultant on the topics of makerspace, space transformation, and STEM. Her library transformation was featured in Diana Rendina’s book, Reimagining Library Spaces. Jessica is a cofounder of Gadget Girls, a consultant for Construct Learning, and a global trainer for STEM Revolution. She serves as a collaborative leadership team leader on the National Girls Collaborative Project, is an ExxonMobil STEM Academy Alum, and has presented nationally to share her passion for STEM and making.
Aaron Maurer is the STEM lead for the Mississippi Bend AEA, serving 21 school districts in Iowa in all things STEM, makerspace, and computer science. Aaron is a member of the Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert program and a PBS Digital Innovator and All-Star, Skype Master Teacher, and Minecraft Global Mentor. He was a finalist for the Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2014 and recently won the 2018 ISTE Making IT Happen Award.
Jill McClain teaches fourth grade at Bryant Ranch Elementary in Yorba Linda, CA. She also coordinates the school’s TinkerLab, a makerspace she created in an unused space next to their Pitsco STREAM lab. Jill loves the creative aspect of teaching and writing curriculum that engages her students and ignites their passion for learning. Her current passion is the TinkerLab, for which she is developing curriculum for projects at each grade level. Jill is most proud of her job as a teacher when her former students remember school as a fun and exciting place to learn new things.
Matthew McGuire says the best thing about his job is being able to expose students to new things and ways of learning. He worked hard to transform the wood- and metal-fabrication program previously at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School in Elwood, NY, into the Technology and Engineering Education program his students enjoy today. He currently teaches Design and Drawing for Production, Robotics, Production Systems, and Architectural Drawing and Construction. Matt is passionate about learning and teaching so he can give students a solid hands-on education.
Dave Shafer is the STEM teacher for Grades Pre-K-6 at the Skiles Test School of STEM in Indianapolis, IN. He is the eCoach STEM specialist and the science fair coordinator. He also coordinates the school’s six-acre outdoor lab. Dave became a teacher because he wanted to see students who struggle in traditional school settings be successful and feel valued. He is passionate about equity in education and believes all students deserve the best that we can offer. Dave has been in education for 31 years, 11 of those as a STEM specialist.
Joe Slifka ends every day excited for what the next day brings. The technology teacher for LaBrae Local School District in Leavittsburg, OH, Joe is passionate about integrating robotics in his daily lessons and helping students become creators through technology. He created an after-school robotics club, was honored as a 2011 Siemens STEM Institute Fellow, and was a state-level finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Joe is in his 14th year of teaching and loves the freedom he experiences teaching everything from robotics to 3-D printing.
Emma Smith is a K-5 STEM specialist and resource teacher at Broadway Elementary in Broadway, NC. She is also the small group teacher for fifth-grade math and fourth-grade science and the yearbook editor, among other roles. Emma enjoys finding ways to get her students excited about learning. She is passionate about STEM and letting children learn naturally through play, exploration, and discovery. She loves seeing kids try new things, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes, which is why she’s so excited about Broadway’s new elementary STEM lab, the first in the district.
LeAnne Steelman is a STREAM teacher at T W Ogg Elementary School in Clute, TX. She also works as the school’s STEM coordinator and helps with the gifted and talented and after-school programs. In her 11 years of teaching, LeAnne has taken on several roles, including being part of the PreK Curriculum Coalition, being a robotics club leader and the STEM Night coordinator, and mentoring other teachers. She has a passion for showing non-traditional students how to use their strengths to succeed and loves being able to create hands-on activities to encourage students to learn by doing.
Dwayne Taylor teaches kindergarten at Frank Layden Elementary in Frontenac, KS. He’s passionate about making a difference in the lives of each of his students and enjoys helping them grow both academically and socially. During his 18 years in education, Dwayne has been named a Clyde U. Phillips Outstanding Teacher, a Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year, and a Pitsco Teacher of the Month and has been nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year award. Through TAG, he hopes to empower other teachers to embrace the tools and resources available to enrich classroom learning experiences.
Natalie Vanderbeck had the pleasure of teaching ESOL classes at George Nettels Elementary in Pittsburg, KS, for nine years. Now the school’s K-5 title math teacher, she looks forward to finding new ways to help her students succeed. She has a bachelor of science in Education and a master’s degree in Science with an ESOL emphasis. She is an ESOL mentor and practicum supervisor, has lectured part-time at Pittsburg State University, and coauthored The Reality of Teaching Young ELLs in a Pull-Out Program. Natalie is motivated by her students every day to share her love of learning with them.
Matthew Way is the STREAM lab teacher at Sweeny Elementary in Sweeny, TX. Now in his fifth year of teaching, he has made a name for himself by writing and receiving a grant to help start a new drone program at the school. Matthew loves interacting with his students and feels blessed to be part of their learning experience. He has a bachelor of science in Education from the University of Houston and hopes to continue using it to teach and reach students for many more years.
Denise Wright teaches STEM and science at Ocean Bay Middle School in Myrtle Beach, SC. She is also the sponsor of the after-school Astro-STEM Club and the District Technology Fair. Denise truly enjoys teaching – her students keep her young and make her laugh. Her specialties include AI, astronomy, robotics, and coding. She was a nominee for VirtualSC’s National Online Teacher of the Year in 2015, a State Technology Award winner, a state finalist in the Samsung for Tomorrow contest, and a NASA Solar System Ambassador.