Keynote Conversations

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2020 | 9:00-10:30am PST, 11:00-12:30pm CST, 12:00-1:30pm EDT


Adapting Lessons or Changing Practice?: Unpacking the stories we tell to advance equity in our classrooms

Dru Collins-Minch

Dru is the Director for Educational Equity in the Office of Equity and Access for the NYCDOE. Prior to joining the DOE, he has worked to support special education programming and service coordination in charter schools at the NYC Charter School Center as the Director for School Support; he was the vice principal at a charter high school in East Harlem; and, most recently, he was the principal at the Shield Institute, a nonpublic school for students with low-incidence disabilities in Flushing. Before moving to New York in 2012, Dru worked for 8 years as a teacher and then an assistant principal in Texas at the middle and high school levels. Prior to his 15 years in public education, Dru worked in mental health as a service coordinator for adults at a publicly-funded outpatient treatment facility in San Antonio.

Dr. Gloria Rosario-Wallace

Senior Director for Educational Equity and Transformation in the Office of Equity and Access for the NYCDOE, Gloria is committed to reforming and interrupting unjust systems in order to provide all students with the quality education that is their birthright; with a significant emphasis on Black and Brown students, students living in poverty, and students from marginalized communities. As a Global History teacher, Lead Teacher and Staff Developer, Assistant Principal, and Principal her focus remained on developing loving, safe, affirming, intellectually curious, and culturally reflective communities for our children. She spent the last thirteen years working in transfer high schools where she co-founded an alternative high school in Brooklyn, NY for overaged, under-credited high school students. An opportunity that allowed her to use Liberation and Critical pedagogy to design an inclusive learning community. Gloria is a proud graduate of the Vanderbilt Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the Bank Street College of Education, and the Urban School Leadership division within the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University.

Shanique Leonard

Shanique Leonard is the Science Department Head at Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas. She has been in education for 17 years. Her first 7 years were spent as a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She conducted, participated in, led and contributed to several research projects involving protein assays and analysis related to aging and age-related diseases, microarray analysis, quantitative real-time PCR, SNP analysis, banking of DNA and blood samples for population genetic study from the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging Cohort. Shanique has spent the last ten years as a science teacher and curriculum writer in Plano ISD. As a teacher, drawing upon her own personal background and professional experience in the laboratory, she focuses on making meaningful and relevant connections between science curriculum and her students’ daily lives to bolster their academic achievement and increase their interests in pursuing higher education studies in science related fields. Shanique is currently working on a masters degree from Concordia University in Educational Administration to earn her principal certification and become a future principal.

Michael Hardy

Michael’s early career focused on environmental research, which is what originally led him to education in 2011 after completing his MS in Environmental Science from the University of Texas in San Antonio. Since then he has focused primarily on instructional and SEL strategies to improve classroom engagement and performance for students with social, physical, or academic barriers to education. He believes that in order to have equal access to learning, all students must feel safe and “seen” at school. Through Gay and Straight Alliance clubs, campus conversation panels and classroom inclusion strategies, he strives to give a voice to any student who may feel marginalized within their campus family.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2020 | 10:45-12:15pm PST, 12:45-2:15pm CST, 1:45-3:15 PM EDT


STEMteachersORGS “Reflections on Starting & Nurturing a Teacher-led STEM Community”

Fernand Brunschwig

Fernand Brunschwig has been teaching ever since his high school history teacher occasionally handed over the chalk. Then he tutored a student who had failed miserably at her chemistry final exam in June, and she blasted it out of the park in September. Concluding that this was a fun way to earn a living, Fernand decided to teach physics rather than pursue research in 1964 after his undergrad degree at Harvard. He taught PSSC Physics as an intern and earned an MAT at Harvard and then taught PSSC Physics, ChemStudy Chemistry, Intro Physical Science (IPS), and middle school science for 3 years at American schools in Europe before returning to the US and earning a Master’s in Physics and a PhD in Science Education with Robert Karplus at Berkeley in 1972. Fernand then joined SUNY Empire State College as a member of the founding faculty and retired in 2012 after much successful innovation. He had added an MS in computer science at CCNY in 1987. A part-time position teaching physics to graduate students at Teachers College led to involvement with a group of TC graduates/physics teachers in 2011 who formed a support group for physics teachers, called “PhysicsTeachersNYC,” which Fernand agreed to lead. The idea took off, and the group became STEMteachersNYC, which has grown to over 1400 members throughout the NY Metro Area and has evolved into today’s thriving non-profit devoted to professional development for teachers, by teachers, about teaching.

Tiffany Taylor 

I have been in education for 11 years, teaching mostly physics and some chemistry in that time. My passion for science education has grown significantly over the past 4 years, and grew from wanting to be the best that I could be for my students, to wanting to also share and help other teachers be their best as well. After recognizing some of the other StXYZ groups (namely NYC), I called my friend Marc Reif and suggested we start one of our own groups in Northwest Arkansas. He said “ok, let’s do it”, and after some help from Michael Lerner at StCLE, we were on our way. I am currently serving as the president of STEMteachersNWA (est 2018), and to date we have held a handful of Saturday mini workshops, partnered with the UTeach program at the University of Arkansas to provide professional development for preservice teachers, and are now working with a local school district to provide multi year workshops for all middle school science teachers in what we are calling “STEM Thinking!”, which is centered around NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and student discourse.

Wendy Hehemann

Wendy Hehemann, I started to work for AMTA while in the MNS program at ASU in 2011-2012. As workshop coordinator, one of my tasks in the leadership training, which I attended myself in 2015 in NYC. Four other Phoenix people attended the LT and in a bar (name??) we started talking with Mark Schober, leader of the training and one of the founders of SLAPT and PhysicsteachersNYC. We made the first steps to creating our own chapter: STEMteachersPHX. I am the executive officer and unofficially the treasurer, as I have access to the bank account.

The first event was an un-conference in January 2016 and each year, we host several Saturday sessions and a full blown conference in 2017. STEMteachersPHX also organized the 2 Biology Modeling Workshops in Arizona. STEMteachersPHX has an active board and is working on our incorporation by the end of 2020.