TAG Members

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

Heather Askea is the director of STREAM Outreach at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in Wise, VA. She is also the Instructional Technology Coordinator and adjunct professor of education at UVAWISE Center for Teaching Excellence. Currently, she is the coordinator of SWVA Can Code Initiative. For Heather, the best part of her job is being creative and engaging with teachers, students, and industry leaders. Apart from winning the ISTE Advocacy Trendsetter Award, her greatest success has been a team effort working to build a quality online educational licensure experience from 100 students per year to 3,500+.
Kenny Bae is the director of STEAM innovation at Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL. Kenny struggled in his early years of education and has developed a passion for and lifelong goal of supporting underrepresented and disadvantaged students. During his 14 years in education, his work with students has been recognized by Forbes magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, the US Department of Education, and more. He firmly believes today’s youth can accomplish amazing things if given a chance. He enjoys learning from his students and working with them to make the world a better place.
Emily Bracco teaches a STEAM lab for Grades K-5 and coding and robotics for Grades 6-8 at The Christ School (TCS) in Orlando, FL. She serves on the Science Adoption Committee, assisting in finding curriculum and resources for other teachers to use. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Elementary Education with a focus on Gifted Education. She’s taught after-school programs for STEAM, coding, and robotics and hosted TCS’s first Science and Engineering fair. Emily loves being able to foster a learning environment of curiosity and collaboration among students.
Jim Brown is a Grade 7 and 8 STEM teacher, teaching CAD/CAM and Python® programming at Sand Creek Middle School in Albany, NY, and a coach for KidWind competition teams. 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 the district’s on-site energy manager, conducts energy audits of educational facilities for the National Energy Education Development Project.
Anne Culbreath is the Engineering and Robotics teacher at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, UT. While in high school, her physics/electronics teacher told her about a program where she could teach CTE classes; it just clicked, and she knew it was what she wanted to do. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Technology Teacher Education. Anne is also currently the president of Utah ACTE Tech and Engineering. She serves many advising roles for Technology Student Association, VEX Robotics VRC, and FIRST® LEGO® League.
Christine Danhoff, the technology integration specialist at North Point Educational Services Center in Graytown, OH, has a bachelor’s degree in Education K-8, a master’s degree in Education in Classroom Technology, and a Library Media Endorsement. She’s a 2022 finalist for the Ohio Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was nominated for Ohio Teacher of the Year. Her passion for augmented/virtual reality, robotics, computer science, and innovative technology inspires her to find ways to incorporate these into the core curriculum. Christine loves collaborating and exploring with, and learning from, educators across the globe.
Cindey Eckert teaches STEM for Grades K-5 and Novel Engineering for Grades PreK-5 at Union Memorial Elementary School in New Castle, PA, where she has worked her entire career. She holds a bachelor’s degree in both Special Education and Elementary Education. She’s passionate about hands-on projects, kids, and STEM – in the STEM lab they celebrate the ability to fail and start again! Cindey helps run a K’NEX Club and a yearly STEM fest, where the entire school and families can participate in fun STEM activities.
Chris Gibson is the STREAM lab teacher for PreK-5 and teaches a sixth-grade robotics class at S.F. Austin STEM Academy in Jones Creek, TX. She’s currently in her 19th year of teaching and is passionate about providing hands-on STEM and 21st-century learning experiences for every student at the school. Chris was a presenter at the 2017 Texas State STEM Conference and was named the S.F. Austin Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2021, she received the National Certificate for STEM Teaching from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE).
Anthony Grisillo is the 2014/15 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, a 2014 Making a Difference Award winner, and a Voya National STEM Fellowship Master Teacher. Currently in his 25th year of teaching, he’s the Teacher Librarian and AV Coordinator at Glenwood Elementary School in Media, PA, and an adjunct professor at West Chester University. Anthony is known for fanning the flames of curiosity in his students, and he loves witnessing their aha moments. When he’s not teaching, he likes to explore this amazing planet with his wife, Becca, and daughters, Christina and Danielle.
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 Intro. to Engineering & Robotics and Fundamentals of Engineering 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.
Stephanie Higgs is known for her contagious passion and pursuit of lifelong learning. She’s the Grades PreK-5 Gifted Educator and Differentiation Coach at Crockett Elementary School in Brentwood, TN. She has a master’s in Education in Instructional Leadership and Elementary Education as well as a Gifted Education endorsement. Stephanie also serves on the TN Association for the Gifted. Teachers are her favorite people on the planet, and she loves guesting on educational podcasts and presenting at conferences. Her greatest passion is supporting other educators in their continual growth and development.
Cynthia Hopkins has many roles as the seventh-grade science teacher, AVID Coordinator, and part-time assistant principal at Kaffie Middle School in Corpus Christi, TX, where she has taught for all 16 years of her career. She is also an Adult ESL instructor and adjunct professor at Texas A&M University. She holds three M.Ed and one Ph.D. Cynthia’s greatest success is her students – the lightbulb moments when they understand the content are the best! A proud moment for Cynthia was when her middle school robotics team won the Motivate Award at their regional FIRST® Tech competition.
James Jones has taught science, computer science, robotics, and engineering for 27 years. He currently teaches Earth/space science for 7th grade at Wedgefield School in Orlando, FL. James founded iBrick Academy, which has provided STEAM summer camps and after-school programs for 20+ years; 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 recently assisted the county’s grants dept. in providing after-school robotics programs to 23 middle schools. He has three Disney Teacheriffic awards and two Epsilon Pi Tau awards.
Kandi Hogue, currently a STEM teacher at Daves Creek Elementary in Cumming, GA, has been in education for 15 years, serving as an early childhood teacher, teacher mentor, and STEM certification liaison. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership, and STEM and ESOL endorsements. She’s proud to be an educator and bring STEM learning to her students while providing hands-on instruction that makes science come to life. Kandi is passionate about increasing women in STEM and helping students find their own passion.
Latisha King Latisha King teaches eighth grade Physical Science and STEM at Arlington Middle School in Arlington, TN, and is also the Instructional Support Coach. She holds a master of education in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to her teaching roles, she has a Gifted and Talented Youth Certification, Apple Teacher Certification, ShopBot Certification, and MakerBot 3D Printing Certification. In 2022, she won STEM Teacher of Excellence Award at the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit. In her 13th year of teaching, she enjoys coming to work every day expecting the best from herself and her students.
Isaiah Lang, the mathematics/robotics teacher at Explore Academy in Albuquerque, NM, enjoys helping students overcome obstacles. He has a bachelor’s in secondary education with a focus in mathematics. He chose his area of expertise as robotics after having joined an FRC team in high school. Isaiah’s been teaching for two years and strives to make math easier and interesting to kids and get them excited about STEM. When students learn more about advanced robots in his class, such as how self-driving cars work, they understand the world more and it gives them a greater perception of life.
Lisa Lewis teaches first grade at Salem Elementary School in Spotsylvania, VA, and teaches a STEM club for Grades 1-2. From 2019 to 2022, she was an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington. She was awarded the 2022 DoD STEM Ambassador and 2023 Mentor Teacher of the Year. As a lifelong learner, she wants to keep up-to-date with new and creative ideas that impact the future. In her 20th year of teaching, she’s passionate about all things STEM and nature and believes children deserve opportunities to be exposed to life’s possibilities one idea at a time.
Don Loving is a professor of science at Murray State College in Ardmore, OK, where he teaches human anatomy for nursing majors and Earth science for elementary education majors. He’s also faculty advisor for the student Native American organization. He has a bachelor of science in Science Education, a master’s in Natural Science, and a STEM teaching certificate. Don loves seeing disengaged students become successful through engaging science curriculum and activities. His passions include wildlife and conservation, Earth and space science, and amateur radio.
Pradip Misra teaches physics, chemistry, engineering, and robotics for Grades 6-12 at Bagdad Middle and High School in Bagdad, AZ. He has a bachelor of education degree in Science and Math Education, a bachelor of science in Physics, Chemistry, and Math, and a master’s in Physics, and is working on his doctorate in Education. In 2021, he received the Arizona Environmental Education Award and was named Chemistry Teacher of the Year. Pradip loves using hands-on activities to teach because of the exciting, engaging, and constructive ways in which students can learn about the world around them.
Christina O’Malley teaches technology and engineering at Akron Central Middle School in Akron, NY. She’s also a New York State Master Teacher, Emeritus, at SUNY in Buffalo, NY. She holds a bachelor of science degree in Technology Education, a master of science degree in Education, and New York State professional certifications in technology education and gifted and talented education. In 2022, she received a New York State Assembly Citation Outstanding Educator Award. Christina is passionate about coaching  students in building creative, critical, and self-regulated thinking skills so they can create solutions to tomorrow’s problems.
Ruthelen Robinson is a CTE STEM-Engineering teacher at Dulles High School in Sugar Land, TX. She has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a master’s in Business Administration. She’s a member of the Texas Education Agency STEM-Engineering Curriculum Work Group and was named the 2021 Willowridge High School Houston Area Alliance of Black Educators Teacher of the Year. Ruthelen loves seeing the lightbulb turn on when students grasp a concept and encourages her students to let their work speak for them. She’s viewed as a positive, impactful resource among students, teachers, and community members.
Heather Russell teaches fourth grade at Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a bachelor’s in English, and a gifted endorsement. She also serves as the Girls on the Run coach, Girls Who Code coach, and Robotics Club organizer. Even though she has won many teaching awards, her greatest success is designing her county’s first elementary robotics tournament. In her 12th year of teaching, she enjoys seeing students get excited when they learn something new or when their faces light up when they’ve made a connection.
Randi Schmidt teaches Special Education Technology/STEAM at The South Bergen Jointure Commission in Maywood, NJ. Her current role as the elementary-high school STEAM teacher includes working with adult students ages 18-22 for enrichment. Randi loves the creativity STEAM brings out in her students and how the hands-on aspect of it sparks curiosity on all levels. Her favorite lesson is learning that making mistakes is inevitable and we can always try again. She holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Rowan University and enjoys learning from her students on a daily basis.
Dierdre Shetler is a STEM instructional technology specialist for the Cartwright School District in Phoenix, AZ. She’s a Google Product Expert for Google Classroom, a Google Certified Trainer, and an ITEEA Authorized Teacher Effectiveness Coach and holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Technology. Dierdre won the 2017 ITEEA Prakken Award for Professional Cooperation and the 2018 Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. She loves bringing new possibilities to students through STEM and getting new teachers hooked on STEM in the classroom.
Joe Slifka ends every day excited for what the next day brings. As the physical science and robotics 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 16th year of teaching and loves the freedom he experiences teaching everything from robotics to 3-D printing.
Mark Spore teaches physics, physical science, and robotics at Fort Scott High School in Fort Scott, KS, and started the robotics program there. He has a bachelor of science in Education from Emporia State with certifications in physics, chemistry, and physical science. Mark is passionate about robotics, drones, and aerospace, and he finds developing positive relationships with his students to be the best part of his job. He loves seeing the spark in students’ eyes when they believe in themselves and realize they can be successful.
Wendie Turner, the media tech specialist at Stanton-Smith Elementary School in Whitehouse, TX, provides innovative lessons to students in Grades PreK-5 through STEM and literature. She earned an interdisciplinary studies degree with specializations in English and reading and a UTeach Blended Learning Certification. She has won Whitehouse Education Foundation Innovator of the Year twice. Her greatest accomplishment in education is being able to see so many students grow up to be successful in life. Her makerspace is a safe learning environment where failure is expected as long as they don’t quit!
Gina Wenzel teaches science for sixth grade at Fernwood Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and previously taught math. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education and a master’s degree in School Counseling. Passionate about bridging the gender gap in STEM, she developed and organized a middle school Tech Girlz program and STEAM Night for Girls and won a grant for Self eSTEAM Initiative. She also runs STEAM summer camps in shore towns. Gina loves building relationships with students and giving them a positive and safe place to learn.
Debra Wood is the Gifted and Talented teacher for Grades 1-5 at Orvis Risner Elementary in Edmond, OK. She has a master’s in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s in Elementary Education. As a Breakout EDU Ambassador, she believes learning should be fun, hands on, and full of excitement and encouragement. Currently, she serves in a cohort program with the Oklahoma Department of Education as a virtual instructional coach to early-career teachers. Presenting professional development workshops on agriculture and science is a new passion of hers. She finds success in offering students amazing activities and learning opportunities in her classroom.
Nicole Yemothy is the STEM Exploratory teacher for Grades 6-8 at Gettys Middle School in Easley, SC. As the AE Fellow for the DoD Air & Space Forces K-12 STEM team, Dr. Yemothy is responsible for STEM outreach and training on the national stage. She has a doctorate in Education for Teacher Leadership and PLTW certifications in Flight & Space, Medical Detectives, and Design & Modeling. As the 2022-23 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, her greatest success has been hosting 16 STEM professional development workshops for educators to infuse STEM supplies in their classrooms.