CEF’s Certified Instructors are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and attend the Certified Instructor Training Conference in Washington, DC, in July each year. Once trained, Instructors organize and lead Essential Elements workshops in their local communities. Our goal is to build a nationwide network of Certified Instructors who can provide high-quality, hands-on education across the US!

Do YOU want to be a Certified Instructor? Learn more here and email essential.elements@chemed.org to be added to our priority consideration list!

Certified Instructors: Click here to log in to access our Workshop Resources.

Meet CEF’s Current Certified Instructors

Amy A.

Chicago, IL

Amy is a National Board Certified Teacher, specializing in Middle Childhood Education. She has been teaching at Lincoln Elementary School for ten years and with the Chicago Public Schools for the last 20 years (with the exception of a year abroad at the American School of Warsaw, Poland). Her favorite work activities include teaching the You Be The Chemist Club after school program, and running the school gardening and environmental program. Reading, biking, hiking, stargazing and trying new restaurants are her favorite personal hobbies. Amy received a master’s degree in Science Education from DePaul University and has recently taken several math courses at the University of Chicago. She very much looks forward to her involvement with CEF and cannot wait to spread the love for hands-on science in Chicago and beyond!

Gabriella A.

Hollister, CA

Gabriella, currently an administrator for the Hollister School District, has been an educator for 15 years. She has worked as a middle school teacher, mathematics coach, and a professional development presenter. She is passionate about bringing as much hands-on science as possible to San Benito County educators and students. Her love of science has grown through watching educators and students get excited about the annual science fair and bringing home several acknowledgments. She is looking forward to bringing the You Be The Chemist Challenge to her county this year!

Rachael B.

Sioux City, IA

Rachael has been teaching for 19 years, and 17 of those years were spent teaching high school science. Currently she is an Instructional Strategy Coach in the middle school. She has her BS in Science Education with endorsements in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, Masters in Education, and is currently working towards her Doctorate in Administration through the University of South Dakota. Her teaching experiences have led her to becoming an Essential Elements Certified Instructor to share outstanding strategies with teachers.

Kevin B.

Knoxville, TN

Kevin is a Global Quality Systems Specialist/Analytical Chemist for The Dow Chemical Company in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has taught Chemistry and Physics at the high school level and Chemistry at the college level. Kevin has participated in STEM outreach by doing local elementary school science demonstrations under the stage name of “Dr. Beaker.” Kevin is the Tennessee You Be The Chemist Challenge Organizer. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Chemistry from LaGrange College and Middle Tennessee State University respectfully, and a master’s degree in Training and Development Leadership from Northcentral University.

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Amy B.

Hartman, AR

A National Board Certified Teacher with her Master’s in Instructional Improvement, Amy has been teaching for 19 years, and 17 of those years were spent teaching middle school science. Currently a gifted and talented teacher, Amy is the local and regional You Be The Chemist Challenge organizer. Her experience teaching has given her a passion for sharing outstanding strategies with other teachers, leading her to become an Essential Elements Certified Instructor.

Ed B.

Philadelphia, MO

Ed is a Chemical Engineer who now works in Agriculture for Dow AgroSciences. After obtaining Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering, Ed spent several years designing, building, and operating chemical plants. He now works in Quality Assurance supporting field and laboratory processes for Agriculture. He has spent time during the last 10 years supporting science outreach to various schools in Missouri. Ed has been involved with CEF since organizing the first Missouri You Be The Chemist Challenge in St Louis County in April 2015. 

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Molly B.

Florham Park, NJ

Molly is responsible for the development, management and implementation of BASF’s community-based science education programs. She joined BASF in April 2011 after successfully launching Kids’ Lab (BASF’s educational program for children 6-12 years old) in North America at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. Working at Liberty Science Center for more than six years, Molly has a great deal of experience working with K-12 students. In addition, while in graduate school, Molly taught several Geology Laboratory courses for undergraduate students. Molly has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Geoscience from Montclair State University. Her master’s thesis research includes extensive field work in Antarctica. Additionally, in 2015, Molly became a member of the Board of Trustees for the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey.

Valarie B.

Trabuco Canyon, CA

Valarie has been teaching high school chemistry and physics for ten years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, and has a Secondary (Specialized) Credential in Chemistry. She has earned certification in Robotics and Engineering from Georgia Tech, and uses her love of STEM education to coach Robotics, First Lego League, and Jr. First Lego League teams. Valarie is a Tier II Educator for several NASA Educator programs including MAVEN’s Atmospheric Space Physics, coaches the after school ACS Chemistry Competition Team, and MESDT Authentic Research Team. Valarie has a passion for hands-on science education, and is excited about bringing You Be The Chemist to both formal and informal educators in South Orange County, CA.

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Charice C.

Hampton, GA

Charice is an experienced science educator within the Atlanta Metro area who has been teaching secondary education for over ten years. In addition to teaching, Charice is also a Professional Development STEM Facilitator for YELL! Academy. As an experienced Gifted Science Instructor, Charice believes in providing creative, strategic learning modules within the classroom and creating and building positive relationships with her students and peers. Most recently she began working with the Georgia STEAM Alliance Network and the FDA/NSTA Teach Food Science Professional Development Program that has enabled her to be a great asset to Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Public Schools. Charice has a Masters in Teaching with a Gifted-in Field Endorsement. She is currently a Gifted Science Teacher in Clayton County Public Schools at Eddie J. White K-8 Academy, where she serves as the Science Department Lead. Charice truly believes that we are all lifelong learners and it is her goal to utilize her range of knowledge and expertise to become a Master Teacher Leader, making a positive contribution to her educational community.

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Theresa C.

Macomb, MI

Theresa, currently a fifth grade teacher for the Grosse Pointe Public School District, has been teaching for 11 years. She has been involved in the You Be The Chemist Challenge with her students for five years, and enjoys providing and creating a variety of science opportunities for her students. In addition, as a recent alumna of the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership, she looks forward to working with educators to enhance science instruction.

Jerry C.

Torrance, CA

Jerry has been teaching middle school science in the South Central Los Angeles area for eight years. He is currently working on being a National Board Certified Teacher and finishing his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. His students have participated in the You Be The Chemist Challenge at the state level for the past two years. His experience teaching students and collaborating with teachers from underrepresented communities and his passion to lead others has led him to become an Essential Elements Certified Instructor.

Cathi C.

Lincoln Parish, LA

Cathi currently serves as the ACHIEVE Coordinator for Lincoln Parish Schools. She initiated the region’s premiere STEM program in partnership with Louisiana Tech where she also serves on the Advisory Board for the nationally recognized UTeachTech program. The co-author of three teaching engineering guides, Cathi currently serves as the Louisiana Director for ITEEA’s Engineering by Design Consortium. She was named by Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White to serve on the state’s Louisiana Believes Advisory Committee and recently tapped to serve on the Louisiana Science Standards Review Committee. Selected for Louisiana’s LPB STEM Forum, she was honored in Baton Rouge with the Claudia Fowler Distinguished Service to Science Education Award, recognized with the national Outstanding Leadership in Science Education award, and named among the 2015 Louisianians of the Year by Louisiana Life Magazine. Listed among Delta Style Magazine’s “Sweet Sixteen” Most Influential Women, Cathi was honored with the national Kappa Delta Sorority Order of the Pearl Award for her prominence in professional and civic service at the national, state, and local level.

Alex E.

Memphis, TN

Alex has a master’s degree in Education and has worked at the Pink Palace Museum for over 20 years. Life as a “non-traditional” educator allows her to devote a significant part of her workday toward bringing exciting professional opportunities to teachers, as well as providing engaging and educational opportunities to students in the Memphis region and beyond. Alex is currently a MESSENGER and New Horizons Educator Fellow and has been a NOAA Teacher at Sea and PolarTREC participant. She is now excited to be working with CEF to bring the You Be the Chemist programs to the Memphis area.

Barbara F.

Bedford, MA

Barbara has master’s degrees in both Elementary Education and Science Education. She has been teaching middle school since 2000. For the past eight years she has acted as the State Organizer for the Massachusetts You Be the Chemist Challenge and is a member of the National Organizer Committee. Additionally, she is adviser to the John Glenn Middle School science club, environmental club and she runs the school recycling program.

Rebecca F.

Bay City, MI

Rebecca has her Master’s in Teaching Natural Science. She has taught for 20 years, and almost all of that time was in the fifth grade. Currently, she is teaching fifth grade Gifted and Talented. She has been involved with the You Be The Chemist Challenge for over eight years. Rebecca is also on the inaugural board of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers as their Elementary Ambassador. She was interested in becoming an Essential Elements Certified Instructor because of her passion for engaging her students in hands-on science activities and encouraging their love of learning.

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Mickie F.

Deer Isle, ME

Mickie has been teaching science since 1983 in one form or another. She has taught middle school science classes, high school chemistry and biology, and content and methods science courses as an adjunct instructor for the State University of New York at Potsdam. Mickie was the recipient of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship award and managed Senator Durbin’s education portfolio 2004-2005. Currently, she is the 2015 Hancock County Teacher of the Year and teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade science at Deer Isle Stonington Elementary School in Deer Isle, Maine.

Bill H.

Huntley, IL

Bill has worked for over 25 years as a consumer paint chemist for such companies as Ace Hardware, Tru Value Hardware and Valspar. He is now a high school teacher, adding his professional experience and content knowledge to the classroom. He is also a US Soccer Licensed Coach, Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor and Board Member for the Chicago Paint and Coatings Association. Bill looks forward to bring his knowledge and experience to help educators get students excited about science.

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Mary H.

Coleman, MI
Mary has been teaching secondary sciences since 1994. Prior to joining the classroom she was a research scientist at Michigan Technological University. Her passion is to bring a love of science to the students through hands-on, inquiry-based learning. She has her BS in Chemistry and her masters in Science Education. For the past ten years she has also organized the statewide Michigan Association of Christian Schools Science Fair. She has been involved with You Be the Chemist for the past two years.

Tracie H.

Charleston, SC

Tracie is a National Board Certified Teacher with a master’s degree in Science and Math for Teachers. Currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Science, Tracie has been teaching middle school for 14 years in Charleston, South Carolina. Her students have participated in the You Be The Chemist Challenge for the past three years. She enjoys inspiring future generations of scientists, as well as getting other educators excited about incorporating more hands-on instruction in their classrooms.

Danielle K.

Tularosa, NM

Currently in the agriculture industry, Danielle and her family are stakeholders in pistachio production and actively serve American Pistachio Growers as ambassadors for domestic and international markets. In addition, Danielle teaches fifth grade in Tularosa, New Mexico, while coordinating after school STEM programs for K-5 students. Danielle’s passion for agriculture was nurtured at an early age being raised in agritourism and horseback in the mountains of New Mexico. Danielle received her bachelor’s in Agricultural Education at NMSU and attained her master’s in Educational Administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. While working in Oklahoma in the pork industry, she was a production trainer and volunteered as a facilitator in Pork Quality Assurance with the Oklahoma Pork Council. Her teaching experience spans high school agriculture, biology, physical science, zoology, animal science, and agricultural mechanics, to elementary second and fifth grade.

Reneé L.

Decatur, GA

Dr. Reneé L. is a veteran teacher with over 20 years experience in the classroom and in leadership roles. She is a former Gifted and Talented Education Teacher, and is currently a STEAM lab instructor at the elementary level where for the past 12 years she has pursued her passion for STEAM while engaging both middle and elementary students in science education. Dr. L. experiences significant personal gratification when students enthusiastically respond to STEAM topics: both a demonstrative physical expression of enjoyment on the part of the student (eyes light up with wonder) coupled with a behavioral response realized, as a student’s commitment to stick with the work even when it challenges them is the root of her gratification. Leveraging crowdsourcing and local sponsors to obtain needed classroom equipment and materials, Dr. L. was able to obtain needed classroom supplies in a time of challenging budget constraints. Dr. L. obtained undergraduate and master level degrees in Middle Grades Education and Educational Leadership from Brenau University.  She earned and her doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University.  Dr. L. considers herself a “lifetime learner” and seeks opportunities to continue to expand her experience, which in turn helps her to grow along with her students.

David N.

Rock Hill, SC

David is entering his 31st year in education having served in a number of positions from classroom teacher to district science instructional specialist during his varied career. He entered the teaching profession as part of South Carolina’s alternative certification program in 1987 after working at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken, SC as an environmental chemist for five years. He has been involved in writing science curriculum at the state level and has among his many passions hands-on science and STEM education. David has taken several students to the SC You Be the Chemist Challenge and has also served as coach for Oakdale Elementary School’s Science Bowl team. He will be coaching the You Be the Chemist Challenge team at Dutchman Creek Middle School during this school year.

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Kathleen O.

Detroit, MI

Kathleen is a middle school science teacher at University Prep Science and Math Middle School in Detroit, Michigan. She has been teaching science at UPSM for six years and is currently earning her Masters of Science Education and Curriculum at Lawrence Technological University. Kathleen has taught science for a total of twelve years and is currently a member of the Michigan Science Teachers Association and the National Science Teachers Association.

Terisa O.

Sherman, TX

Terisa recently retired after 29 years as a K-12 educator. Terisa has expertise and leadership in professional development, and curriculum and instructional technology. She recently became a Certified Instructor and currently works as a profession development consultant for several school districts in Texas. With her focus on curriculum development and hands-on constructivist learning, she is excited to be a part of bring FREE hands-on science training to schools, educational organizations, home school teachers, and after-school programs.

Shannon O.

Milwaukee, WI

Shannon, an alumnae of Alverno College, graduated in 2011 after working as a bus driver and raising two boys. The plethora of life experiences have influenced Shannon’s pursuit of a career in education. The life experience that she brings to the classroom has increased student knowledge and understanding of science is everything in life: from the air we breathe to the food we eat. She is driven to build confidence in her students as they acquire scientific knowledge. Working with CEF to provide the  hands-on training of the You Be The Chemist programs to teachers and community members in the Milwaukee and surrounding area is an extension of her passion to build scientific confidence throughout the community.

Megan O.

Milwaukee, WI

Megan is a middle school science teacher at a dual-language immersion school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently in her sixth year of teaching, Megan is passionate about bringing quality science instruction to all students, especially English Language Learners. Megan received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and has a master’s in Education from the same university. Her enthusiasm for science education led her to become a Certified Instructor; Megan is looking forward to collaborating and sharing resources with other teachers!

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Yvonne P.

Richmond, VA

Yvonne has been involved in education for over 30 years. She has a bachelor degree in Chemistry, is endorsed is Physics, and has a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She enjoys being in the chemistry and physical science classroom. She has developed many courses with the MathScience Innovation Center where she presently works to inspire students to become creative thinkers. Yvonne has been involved with CEF since organizing the local You Be The Chemist Challenge at MSiC for the Metro Richmond area since 2014.

Paul P.

Tustin, CA

Paul has embraced informal education as a means to motivate, inspire and educate students of all ages. After beginning his education career path in environmental education, Paul joined Science Adventures a hands-on, after school/summer camp program. As Training Manager, responsibilities included curriculum development and professional development of over 300 staff nationwide. As Director of Education for Discovery Science Center, Paul works with a team to coordinate and the implement outreach reaching 250,000 students in five counties annually. Using science as a platform to make connections through out curriculum, Paul has helped to develop lasting and sustainable programs. Paul holds a master’s degree in Education with a focus on STEM.

Shawnee R.

Ogden, UT

Shawnee is a STEM Instructional Coach with 20 years experience teaching, and coaching educator, at the elementary school level. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and certifications in Special Education, Educational Technology, and STEM. Her passion is getting kids involved in experiential, hands-on investigations to help students understand the world that surrounds them. Shawnee is excited to help share CEF’s Essential Elements program.

Susan R.

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

After originally working in marketing, eight years ago Susan found her passion in teaching science. She has taught both elementary and middle school science with an emphasis on hands-on, inquiry-based activities. She received her master’s degree in Science Education from the University of Florida, where she was specifically trained as a Science Teacher Leader. Susan was the recipient of the 2015 MIT Alumni of the Palm Beaches scholarship for the MIT SEPT summer program (Science and Engineering Program for Teachers). With her Gifted Certification, she was selected to develop curriculum for SciQuest, the three-year science academy for grades 6-8. Susan also provides after school science opportunities through several clubs, including a, student run, digital science journal and The STEAM Factory. She loves to collaborate with other teachers and share best practices.

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Stephen S.

Cranston, RI

Stephen has taught middle school science for 15 years. He has taught professional development in curriculum and technology in his district. He also is a Science Olympiad Coach and currently is the Science Program Supervisor for Cranston Public Schools.

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Larry S.

Indianapolis, IN

Larry retired in 2014 from Dow AgroSciences where he worked for over 25 years as a Canola Breeder and Project Manager in the Seeds and Traits business unit leading teams in the development of healthier vegetable oils and insect resistant cotton. He was very involved in STEM education outreach during his career at Dow AgroSciences and helped with the formation and leadership of the Science Ambassador program for Dow AgroSciences. In retirement, Larry continues to be very involved in STEM education outreach serving as Vice Chair of the Science Education Foundation of Indiana and is very involved with SEFI’s Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair and Celebrate Science Indiana science festival. Since 2007 he has served as a core volunteer and judging co-chair for Plant Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. His real passion though is for the Chemical Educational Foundation’s You Be The Chemist programs. Larry first got involved with the YBTC Challenge in 2011 as the State Challenge organizer in Indiana and over the years has worked to grow the Challenge in Indiana to eight Local Challenges across the state. In 2014 he became a certified instructor for CEF’s Essential Elements professional development workshops and has done numerous workshops in Indiana and other states. He is also part-time contractor with the Chemical Educational Foundation supporting the Dow Chemical sites involved in the You Be The Chemist programs.

Danielle S.

Allentown, PA

Danielle has taught K-12 science over 20 years. She enjoys bringing hands-on, minds-on experiences to students and teachers alike. She has a Biology degree, a Secondary Science Education degree, a School Administration degree, and is finishing the doctoral journey in Educational Leadership. From ImClone Technologies, to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, to Biochemistry at Thomas Jefferson University, Danielle has had opportunities to bring real-world research to teachers and students nationally as well as internationally. Currently, both a teacher and administrator at a progressive private school, she looks forward to introducing educators to the Essential Elements model within the tri-state area surrounding the Lehigh Valley, PA.

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Anna S.

Riverdale, MD

Anna has taught middle and high school science for 4 years, in both public and private schools. She graduated from Clemson University with degrees in Biological Sciences (BA) and Secondary Science Education (BA).  Anna is passionate about supporting science teaching in the homeschooling community, and currently teaches elementary school science for a homeschooling co-op.

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Janice T.

Hockessin, DE

Jan recently retired after 41 years with the Christina School District. She holds a Master’s of Instruction degree as well as National Board Certification. As an elementary classroom teacher, she has experience in 1st through 6th grade. For the past six years, she has worked as the district’s science specialist responsible for developing curriculum, providing professional development and organizing science fairs and after school You Be The Chemist programs.


Thank You to CEF’s Former Certified Instructors!

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Gene E.

Tallmadge, OH
Gene has been teaching for 36 years. He is currently an adjunct professor at Kent State University where he teaches conceptual chemistry for elementary and middle school teachers. Also he is an instructor for Operation Physics for elementary and middle school teachers. He is well-versed as professional development instructor and also helped develop the Operation Primary Physical Science Materials.

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Dawn H.

Malcom, IA

Dawn is currently employed at BASF as quality assurance lab technician. She serves as the director for the Malcom Youth After School Program where she mentors students in a variety of subjects. She has been advocate for all of CEF programs since 2014. She also serves on the Malcom City Council.

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Ann I.

Kokomo, IN

Ann has been involved in education for over 25 years. She has a masters degree in materials engineering and currently owns her own lab that does EPA certified water testing. She has developed many ways to get her community involved in understanding the chemistry of water, she often works with home school students, and is also working to develop a science fair curriculum based around water. Her lab helps to sponsor the a local You Be The Chemist Challenge.

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Glenn J.

Tinely Park, IL

Glenn recently retired after 20 years as a middle school science teacher and consulting teacher with the Chicago Public Schools system. Glenn is currently employed at ScienceSmart, a non-profit organization that provides exceptional hands-on, project-based, and problem-based science curriculum for intermediate and middle school students. He also contributes to ScienceSmart as the director of weekly in-class instructions and after-school programs. Glenn has been serving as a You Be The Chemist volunteer since 2012.



Get in touch with us at essential.elements@chemed.org.