Teachers

The Michigan Tech GlobalWatershed GK-12 Fellows program currently includes the following partner-teachers.
Click a link to read about a partner-teacher.

 

 
  Sara Beiring        
 


Sara Beiring is from Houghton, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A.in History, and then earned a B.S. in Social Sciences and her teaching certificate from Michigan Technological University. She has been a teacher for 11 years.

The GK-12 Global Watershed Program will give Sara the opportunity to plan and implement hands-on activities for her students. She is particularly excited to explore the school forest using the knowledge and experience of her fellow Matt VanGrinsven. The GK-12 program will bring real world experiences to students as they study the interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

Sara Beiring is starting her 8th year teaching Earth Science at Houghton Middle School. She also teaches 8th grade Social Studies and a 6th grade Home Economics class. She lives in Calumet with her husband Damon and four children.

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Sara Beiring
 
 
 
       
  Heather Bradway        
 


Heather Bradway has taught 8th grade science at Hancock Middle School for the past seventeen years. She also currently teaches a 7th and 8th grade class called "Self & Community." Heather has her B.S. in Biology from Michigan Tech and her M.S. in Biology and Education from MSU.

Becoming involved with the GK-12 Watershed program is a perfect fit for Bradway and her science students. Connecting students with a scientist who has become a familar face and who is committed to helping them understand the importance of the scientific process as it relates to water and directly to people is AWESOME! The relationship between Val Gagnon, Ph.D. fellow, and Bradway is a true partnership where students, fellow, and teacher all benefit.

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Heather Bradway
 
 
 
       
  Loretta Cox        
 


Loretta Cox earned Her B.A. from Olivet College with concentrations in Biology, Environmental Science, Organic Chemistry and secondary teaching. Prior to teaching she worked as a chemical lab technician for 6 years in the petroleum business. This was a great job but not as fulfilling as she had hoped. She decided to become a high school science teacher. Since then she has worked at several schools in the state of Michigan but always with an at-risk student population. She finds them to be a rewarding challenge.

She has had the privilege of working at the Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy (also called Hannahville Indian School) in Wilson, MI for the past 5 years as their high school science teacher. She teaches Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and an ACT prep course. She is an active member of the athletics department acting as the female sports chaperone due to the nature of travel required in the Northern Lights League. She manages to stay very busy by working on several committees at school including the school improvement team, the teacher evaluation process, ACT testing supervisor, and the Power of Teaching success program.

Outside of her school work life, she lives on a dairy farm with her fiancÚ and her "furry-pack" of kids (two dogs and two cats). She works part-time as a short order cook and enjoys traveling, reading and gardening in between all of her other activities. She recently became a member of the Heart of the North Ladies Lions Club and enjoys working with her other community members.

The GK-12 program is going to be a great way for her to establish better relationships within the Hannahville and surrounding community in terms of watershed science. She looks forward to working side by side with her fellow Emily Gochis to create exciting and meaningful activities for her students in all subject areas. The GK-12 program work will be an excellent way to bridge all of the subject areas by incorporating common goals. She also will work with Emily to help strengthen her students abilities to collect, analyze and interpret meaningful data.

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Loretta Cox
 
 
 
       
  Lauri Davis        
 


Lauri Davis currently teaches 9th Grade Physical Science, 10th Grade General Biology, and is piloting a mixed grade, high school level semester-long class in Environmental Ecology and one in Forensic Science. She currently sits as the Chairperson of the Science Department (grades 6-12). Lauri holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology/Environmental Sciences (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, 1988) and a Master's of Science degree in Wildlife Biology (Washington State University, 1991ipf). After working as a research scientist (1988-1999), she obtained her teaching credentials in Secondary Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, General Science) from Eastern Michigan University, and currently is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescence and Young Adult Science (2009).

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Lauri Davis
 
 
 
       
  Jean Dunstan        
 


Jean Dunstan is a middle school teacher for Stanton Township Public School, where she teaches 6th and 7th grade Social Studies, 8th grade Civics, 7th and 8th grade Earth Science, and 6th, 7th and 8th grade Computer Applications. She also partners with the 1st and 4th grade classes to conduct science investigations as part of the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

Through the GK-12 Global Watershed Fellowship Program, students will gain an understanding of how science plays a role in all aspects of life. Students will work with Hans Lechner, the GK12 Fellow, to investigate and map local watersheds and local water resources. We intend to extend this knowledge of water resources (or the lack thereof) to other areas of the world. Natural hazards and their impact on humans and the environment will also be a topic of discussion in our Earth Science class. Hans' first-hand knowledge of volcanoes will be a great addition to our class discussions. I am fortunate to have Hans Lechner in the classroom. I look forward to all the experiential learning Hans and I will carry out during the course of the program.

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Jean Dunstan
 
 
 
       
  Darrell Hendrickson        
 


Darrell Hendrickson has served as a 7th grade science teacher at Washington Middle since 2001. Darrell has been the lead teacher and serves as an advisory board member for Washington Middle School for its part in The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative that involves teachers, students, and community partners in environmental stewardship projects in the Lake Superior watershed. Darrell has also been active in starting up and coaching the Calumet High School and Washington Middle School Science Olympiad teams at the CLK schools since 2002.

Through the Global Watershed program Darrell with fellow Jason Reinhardt hope to create new and enhance current place based projects like managing the CLK school forest, addressing invasive species locally, and environmental stewardship projects that incorporate a cross curricular approach in Washington Middle schools 6th and 7th grade classes.

Darrell receied a BS in Forestry from Michigan Technological University in 1977. He received his Secondary Teacher certification from Michigan Technological University in 2001. The Copper Country Association of Schools Boards, Michigan Alliance of Environmental and Outdoor Education, and The Sigma XI the Research Society at Northern Michigan University have recognized Darrell for his service to public education.

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Darrell Hendrickson
 
 
 
       
  Mary Markham        
 


Mary Markham received her BS in Science at Michigan Technological University in 1981. She then went on the complete a teaching certification in Secondary Education also at Michigan Technological University. She substitute taught in the area schools before teaching and tutoring at Finlandia University (formerly Suomi College) until 1995. In 1995, she worked for the Baraga Houghton Keweenaw (BHK) Head Start program developing an after school program called Great Explorations which is still currently in existence. In the fall of 1996, Mary started teaching at the Chassell Township Schools, teaching math and science in the junior high and high school. In 1999, Mary received her Master of Arts in Secondary Education with a Biology emphasis at Northern Michigan University. Mary Markham created the Science Methods for Elementary Teachers at Finlandia University and piloted it in the spring of 2002.

Currently, Mary continues to teach at the Chassell Township Schools while coaching two levels of Science Olympiad, the National Honor Society, the Bio-Athlon team, a Nanotechnology High School Enterprise team, and the freshmen class. She has mentored numerous student teachers and has developed numerous new courses. There have also been a great number of grants that she has procured for the Chassell Township School. Mary is published in the Science Teacher February 2000 and has presented at MSTA and NSTA conferences as well as area inservices. She also participates in programs such as Adopt-a-Beach, Adopt-a-Stream and the EPA monitoring of the Torch Lake Superfund sites.

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Mary Markham
 
 
 
       
  Cindy McCormick        
 


Cindy McCormick has been an educator at Jeffers High School for five years. She teaches a variety of English and Science classes including English 9, Composition/Speech, Biology, 8th Grade Science, and 9th Grade Science. Cindy has a bachelor's degree from Michigan Tech. She plans to start working on a master's degree in the summer of 2013.

Over the next two years, the GK-12 Global Watershed Program will meld perfectly with the Jeffers High School Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative Project at Lake Perrault. Through team-teaching and collaboration with Ashley Coble, Ph.D. fellow, McCormick envisions that the students will have more opportunities for hands-on, practical science that is rigorous, yet exciting, meaningful, and impactful in their own backyards. In addition, the program will provide her students with access to a real visiting scientist, which McCormick hopes will inspire her students to become more interested in pursuing science careers.

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Cindy McCormick
 
 
 
       
  Chuck Palosaari        
 


Chuck Palosaari teaches Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, American History, and Local History at BRIDGE Alternative High School in Hancock, Michigan. The school's curriculum addresses each student as an individual in an environment designed to support learning. The philosophy is to nurture the spirit of the student as well as the mind.

Through the GlobalWatershed program, Chuck and his partner-Fellow plan to conduct hands-on learning through community service activities that will engage at-risk students and increase their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields of work and study. By connecting students with the natural world through science and technology, they hope to inspire students to enter 21st century, cutting-edge STEM fields of work and foster their sense of civic responsibility to their community and environment.

BRIDGE High School students are currently working on educating the public about their local watershed through the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative and increasing the energy efficiency of homes for the elderly with the Michigan Tech High School Enterprise Winterization Program.

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Chuck Palosaari, right, works in the BRIDGE Alternative High School's "rain garden," which will filter rainwater runoff from a neighboring parking lot before it enters the groundwater system.
 
 
 
       
  Jennifer Pera        
 


Jennifer Pera has been teaching at Jeffers High school since 1995. She currently teaches Science 7, Transition Math, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra II. Jennifer has a B.S. in mathematics (minor in chemistry) from Michigan Technological University and has an M.S. in mathematics education from Northern Michigan University.

Jennifer became involved with the GK-12 Global Watershed program because she wants to work with her GK-12 fellow to develop more place-based education lessons utilizing the school's outdoor classroom at Lake Perrault and the Robert T. Brown Nature Sanctuary. In addition, she is excited about having a resource in her classroom to help her continue to implement more inquiry based learning activities.

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Jennifer Pera
 
 
 
       
  Kevin Postma        
 


Kevin Postma grew up in Port Clinton, Ohio, and graduated with a B.S. degree in botany from Miami University in Ohio. He then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, Central America, for the next three and a half years, where he worked in the natural resources sector and had the wonderful opportunity of helping to establish a national park with the Pech tribe of El Carbon. Upon returning to the States, he joined the Mississippi Teachers Corps and taught for two years at Greenville High School in Greenville, Mississippi. While teaching, he earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi). (See Kate Thomson's biography.)

Kevin is now starting his tenth year teaching high school science at Manistee High School, where he has taught mainly physical science and advanced placement (AP) environmental science. He looks forward to teaching biology and AP environmental science in 2010-11.

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  Brian Rajdl        
 


Brian Rajdl is currently teaching 9th grade physical science, 11th - 12th grade physics, and 11th - 12th grade aquatic and field ecology portion of P.E.A.K. class. Partnering the Environment and Academics on the Keweenaw (PEAK) is a two-hour, cross-curricular, project-based, place-based course that combines science and English in an outdoor setting. The PEAK class is a partnership between Hancock Public Schools, Lake Superior Stewarship Inititive (LSSI), and MTU High School Enterprise Program (HSE), where two teachers engage students in real-world learning through collaboration with local non-profits to design and implement projects that benefit local communities.

Through the Global Watershed Fellowship Program (GK12) partnership with Brenda Bergman, Brian hopes to bring more scientific and statistical rigor to their ongoing aquatic research projects at Boston Pond and Swedetown Creek. With Brenda's knowledge and presence in the classroom, they will be able to bring lessons to the next level and fully engage students in the research, the methods, and most importantly, the broader impact and reasons for aquatic research. Brenda's work in many other countries will bring a great perspective to Brian's class and help students see beyond the Keweenaw to global watershed issues and explore the solutions.

Brian Rajdl has a BS in biology and education and is an MS candidate in wildlife ecology working on the Isle Royale Wolf/Moose Project. Brian is an experienced trip guide who specializes in the Great Lakes ecosystems and Isle Royale. He is also an accomplished naturalist, which has led him to teaching wilderness survival and tracking. He is very active promoting environmental education in his community through presentations and workshops for all ages. Brian is also an avid rock and ice climber, sea kayaker, mountain biker, and Great Lakes surfer. He lives with his wife and four children, growing and raising their own food on the outskirts of town.

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Brian Rajdl
 
 
 
 
       
  Kate Thomson        
 


Kate Thomson splits her time at Manistee High School between teaching part-time - Biology and an elective called Michigan Wildlife - and serving as a guidance counselor part-time. She has taught biology at Manistee High for five years with a four-year hiatus to bear two children.

Before teaching in Manistee, Kate taught high school biology in Greenville, Mississippi. Before teaching in Mississippi, Kate served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras. And before serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, Kate was an undergraduate student of Botany and Women's Studies at Miami University in Ohio.

Does any of this sound familiar? (If not, read Kevin Postma's biography.)

Kate met Kevin via the Botany department at Miami University and, ever since, have led strangely, sometimes eerily parallel lives. Kate and Kevin have passed their DNA on to two daughters, Solana and Ceci.

Kate grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has an undergraduate degree in Botany and Women's Studies from Miami University, a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi, and is six credits shy of a second Master's in School Counseling from Grand Valley State University.

Kate is excited about participating in the GlobalWatershed Fellowship program and especially looks forward to putting her students in close, personal touch with real science that is occurring in their own community. The opportunity to work with Marty Holtgren and introduce students to him, his work, the tribal sturgeon project, and the sturgeon is tremendously exciting. She is grateful that this fellowship program will make place-based learning opportunities and hands-on scientific inquiry come to life for her students.

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Kevin Postma & Kate Thomson
 
 
 
 
       
 
 
       
 
     
   
 
 
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