Report to Members 2015 – from Fernand Brunschwig
2015 has been a tremendous year for STEMteachersNYC. Our explicit goal has been to move from an ambitious, young startup, entirely dependent upon voluntary effort, to a sustainable, staffed organization that can support our rapidly growing membership (532 on Dec 28) and level of activity (more than 20 weekend workshops and 7 summer workshops in 2015!).
I am very pleased to report that we have accomplished a lot in that direction. But continuing to do so requires additional private support, including from you – our members. If you haven’t already, please make a gift of whatever you can afford before the end of the year.
A key requirement for sustainability is a well-defined, smoothly-functioning mechanism to make the transition to new leadership. As the result of a lot of work, we have such a mechanism in place, and we are poised to actually make the transition for the first time!
As specified in our Bylaws, on January 1, I will be rotating out of the position of Chairman, in which I have served (initially unofficially and then officially) since the organization got started in the Spring of 2011. The Board of Directors voted at our December meeting to offer me an unpaid staff position as President, which I have accepted. I will be serving at the pleasure of the Board and will be an ex-officio member of the Board with no vote. (In accordance with our Conflict of Interest Policy, I recused myself from this decision, and after responding to questions, I was not present for the discussion and vote.)
Mark Schober, who has served as Chair-Elect throughout 2015, will become Chair on Jan 1 and will serve throughout 2016. The other Officers and Directors for 2016 are as follows:
Chair-Elect: Donghong Sun
Secretary: Patricia Bauer
Treasurer: Zhanna Glazenburg
Communications: Lisa Ammirati
Members-at-large of Board of Directors
Megan HL Zacks
In 2015 we hired staff for the first time. I would like to express my sincere thanks, as an individual and on behalf of STEMteachersNYC, to the individuals who have served on our staff in 2015 and who have been such an important part of our success and growth:
Karen Page – our redoubtable part-time Director of Operations who built our new website, defined and developed our media presence, and handled the myriad details of our summer lodging arrangements, as well as enrollments, payments and reimbursements. Karen has agreed to continue with us in 2016 as a Creative Associate, with responsibility for updating the website and for special projects utilizing her creative talent and her digital and media expertise.
Yi Li – our amazing part-time Coordinator of Operations, Equipment Manager, and “doer of whatever needs doing.” Yi, a PhD student at TC, came into her own this year. She monitored our Google Group, inviting new members; she watched over our weekend workshops, printing out the participant lists and other materials, checking participants in, setting up before and straightening up after…. Yi was an extremely effective liaison with TC and especially with the faculty and students of our host, the Dept. of Math, Science, and Technology; she was also an extremely effective fundraiser, collaborating with a younger student to organize the “Young Talent” performance in Greenwich Village and raising over $10,000! Yi has agreed to assume a new position as Operations and Research Coordinator, with most of her existing responsibilities, plus driving our social media presence and carrying out research related to modeling and how teachers are implementing it in their classrooms.
Erin Conrardy – our brand-new part-time Program Manager. Erin has already done a terrific job writing and editing the workshop descriptions, preparing the invitations, and setting up and maintaining the registration info on EventBrite.com. You may well have already noticed her deft, inviting and clear style in the invitations I’ve been sending out. Erin is now taking on responsibility for the function of Registrar (workshop enrollments and payments, …), and, as the individual behind the “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” email addresses, she will be the one responding to your questions from now on. I also must mention that Erin is an experienced middle school science teacher, expert modeler, and developer of the AMTA’s Middle School Modeling Workshop. Finally, I am thrilled to say that (drum roll), Erin has accepted our offer and will be leading the Middle School Modeling Instruction(TM) Workshop this summer.
Stephanie David – our new part-time Bookkeeper. Stephanie will be working closely with our Treasurer, Zhanna Glazenburg, mainly coding our debits and credits so that our finances stay orderly.
Rex Knowlton – our rock-solid accountant. Rex closes our books every month and at the end of every year, and he does our federal tax return. He helps with the preparation of our yearly budget, and he prepares reports at the end of every month and every year so we can update the Board about how we are doing relative to the budget. Rex also generates the data needed for funding proposals, and he provides extremely useful advice about financial matters in general based on his experience with non-profit organizations.
Yes – we are definitely making progress as an organization!
- 501(c)(3) status since Jan, 2015;
- A new 2-year signed agreement with Teachers College;
- A recently-announced renewal of a gift from a major foundation (based on last year’s successful private, individual fundraising campaign)
- A Contract with the University of Bridgeport to help them develop a grassroots teacher support organization in Connecticut;
- Co-facilitating two workshops this spring at MfA for their teachers.
- Plans to organize even more workshops this summer (9) than last (7), and
- Membership continuing to go up, at a steadily increasing rate,
- and so on. . . .
BUT what we are NOT going to do is become impersonal or stray from the mission in our Bylaws. More than ever, we will dedicate ourselves “to interchange and interaction among teachers of STEM…. to cultivate excellence in STEM teaching and to promote learning, self-confidence and success for our students.” We will continue to strive to be “by teachers, for teachers, about teaching.”
In closing, I remind you about the importance of contributing something, whatever you can afford, to STEMteachersNYC before the end of the year. You can simply write a check to “STEMteachersNYC” and put it into the US mail addressed to: STEMteachersNYC (c/o F. Brunschwig), 245 West 107th Street, Suite 10B, NY, NY 10025. Or, if you prefer to contribute online, go to our website: http://STEMteachersNYC.org and click on the “Donate” tab.
Fernand Brunschwig, President
P.S. Please save the date of Sunday, June 5th for our Annual Members’ Show and Tell, followed by our Annual Meeting and Election. Please – do start thinking about what you could contribute to the Members’ Show and Tell – it was a real extravaganza of teaching and learning last year, and it led to some excellent workshops!