Science Leadership Fellows Program

The North Carolina Leadership Association (NCSLA) is proud to lead an initiative to foster the development of science education leaders in North Carolina. The purpose of the NCSLA Science Leadership Fellows Program is to enhance professional competence and develop the leadership abilities necessary for science smtlogoleaders to operate effectively in various leadership positions in science education. This newly revised program is supported by the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center.

Download a SLFP Brochure (pdf)

Download the presentation by SLFP alumni at the 2013 NSTA Conference in Charlotte (pdf)

IMG 81952018-2020 Science Leadership Fellow Cohort

Read comments from previous Science Leadership Fellows.

NCSLA PromoPoster Fellows Program

About the Program

The NCSLA Science Leadership Fellows Program

• Fosters the development of science education leaders
• Enhances professional competence
• Develops leadership abilities

05slfp3Science Leadership and Professional Development Activities

  • Tailored to the needs of each cohort
  • Instructional and assessment strategies
  • Facilitating reform and change
  • Building leadership capacity
  • Conflict resolution and consensus building
  • Networking and building partnerships
  • Effective use of technology
  • Processes for text/materials selection
  • Grant writing

Who Can Become a Fellow?

  • Classroom teachers and science lead teachers/department chairs
  • LEA science supervisors 
  • LEA general supervisors whose duties include science 
  • Informal and out-of-school educators
  • Other administrators 
  • Individuals in business and industry who work in science education  
  • Anyone who is in or may be in science leadership in NC

What Does the Program Involve?

  • Cohorts of 12 to 15 members formed every two years
  • Cohort meets four times per year including attendance at the NCSLA/
    NCSTA professional development institutes held in November

How is the Program Funded?

  • North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
  • Applicant’s LEA, university or business must commit to financially
    support attendance at the NCSLA/NCSTA professional development
    institutes in November
  • NCSLA covers other expenses

What it means to be a Science Leadership Fellow

In February 2012 the new cohort of Science Leadership Fellows (SLF) met at the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence (CCEE) in Chapel Hill to facilitate professional development in fostering effective change in educational policy and identifying key concerns in science support for teaching professionals within the cohort.  In addition, we utilized team building activities to construct norms for communication and promote a sense of community among the members of the cohort.

Upon completion of the weekend, the fellows wanted to articulate their appreciation to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund that was possible through their generous support.

Thank you for your support of the NCSLA Fellowship Program, I'm looking forward to learning so much about how to become a more focused science leader in my school, district and the state. Your continued support of this is much appreciated.


Carla Billups

I really enjoyed the NCSLA Fellows meeting/session.  Due to the generosity of the sponsors, we were able to come together and network and brainstorm the various ways we could go back to our schools and counties and impact science education.  This group consists of extremely gifted and talented leaders in science education and I am excited to be a part of this group and look forward to future events.  I am sharing with my colleagues the impact that participation has had on me as well as encouraging them to participate as members of NCSLA and to support the businesses and efforts of our generous sponsor.


Lesley Brickhouse

The thing  from our last meeting that will help me more than anything in the immediate (and already has) future is the collaboration for some of our materials.  I have been able to help give guidance to two people how to use the calendar program more effectively to complete follow through.  Making sure others do what they do in a group setting to get tasks done on time.  I have also benefitted in gaining a mentor for my national boards! In one session, I have been blessed and have been able to be a blessing to others,

Mark Case

I would really like to thank the sponsors for providing the location and resources for us to begin this process. I’ve already used some of the ideas from the “Change” game when I taught a PD session on a potentially stressful concept to science teachers (including literacy).

Melanie Rickard

What I liked the most was the Change Game.  I learned about looking at change from different perspectives and how it can affect  individuals in ways that you had not previously considered.  This reminds me to try to look at the big picture when making decisions that affect many people.
Thanks for doing this for us,

Tonya German

Thank you so much for funding the NCSLA Fellows Program.  I am a new fellow this year and have already been positively affected just by the first weekend session.  NCSLA helped me discover some of my leadership potential and where I may be lagging.  With this information I have already taken action steps to be a positive leader in the NC science community.  And for that I just wanted to say thank you.  Without you this experience and learning could not have happened.


Marty Creech

Being a part of the NCSLA Fellowship Program is already helping me connect with other leaders in science education, while giving me the skills and experience to become a leader myself. Thank you for sponsoring this wonderful opportunity,


Nicolette Cagle

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work with this leadership team. I look forward to developing a strong working relationship with all of these people over the next two years. They have several different strengths to offer. I really enjoyed working with them this past weekend, particularly in the "Making Change" game. I began to truly understand the process we need to use to accomplish our goals.

Once again, thank you,

Nancy D Clark/Gaston

2018-2020 Cohort

Ryann Battle

battleMs. Ryann Battle is a science teacher at Mallard Creek High School. She has been employed with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for eleven years. She was previously a teacher, mentor, and academic coach at Garinger High School of Charlotte, NC.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Battle began her educational career as an instructor with the Carnegie Science Center. She also served as Staff Educator, and later becoming Curriculum Coordinator for an outreach program between the Science Center and Hill House Association. Afterwards, Ms. Battle
transitioned into the GED Educational Coordinator for the Hill House Association.

Ryann holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Teaching Certification from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her course work hours for a master’s in secondary science education from the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, Ms. Battle is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership at Winthrop

Sebastian Byers

byersSebastian Byers is a science teacher with  Union County Virtual in Monroe, North Carolina. He teaches Earth and Environmental Science,  AP Environmental Science, Biology, AP Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology. He is a 2018-20 PBS Digital All Star, North Carolina PBS Digital Innovator 2017. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He received his teaching certification from UNC Charlotte and his  Master of Educational Leadership from Queens University of Charlotte. Sebastian has been featured in a recent PBS Blog on Climate Change. He was a panelist for the PBS Climate Conversations webinar series (Sept-Oct 2017) featuring Frontline/Inconvenient Sequel producers and NASA Climatologist. Sebastian is a master teacher trainer for UNC-TV,  a NC DPI Digital Ambassador. He has been an instructor at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, a member of Kappa Delta Pi Educational Honors Society and a ListenWise Digital Advocate. Sebastian enjoys family time, cycling, kayaking, hiking and model rocketry.

Jennifer Carson

carsonJennifer Carson is an English as a Second Language teacher at Grady A. Brown Elementary, part of the Orange County Schools system. In this role, she teaches, supports, and advocates for children and their families. Focused on the challenges that English Language Learners encounter at school, she is an advocate for STEM-integrated learning and its role in increasing student engagement, self-efficacy, and proficiency across all content areas.

Because of her knowledge and advocacy, 1) she is a member of the district’s STEM Leadership Team, Instructional Design Collaborative, and Superintendent Teacher Advisory Committee, 2) she collaborated to envision and build an indoor/outdoor STEM lab, where she co-teaches science and engineering, 3) she continually seeks out community partnerships and funding opportunities that enhance her students’ learning experiences, and 4) she leads professional development to deepen colleagues’ understanding of this work.

Jessica Croson

crosonJessica Croson is a science teacher at Heide Trask High School in Rocky Point, North Carolina. She received her B.S. with teacher licensure and M.Ed. in secondary science education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is also Nationally Board Certified in Young Adult Science. In addition to teaching, she is a coach for the school’s Science Olympiad Team, and a co-adviser for the National Honors Society.

Jessica enjoys creating a variety of hands-on opportunities to enhance learning and student engagement. She enjoys teaching a wide range of learners from ELL to AIG and everyone in between. She believes that all students are unique and should be challenged to grow from wherever he or she begins. She is eager to collaborate with other educators in her building and across the state in order to design innovative lessons and opportunities for students. She values continuous education and is constantly looking for new ways to get her students interested in science where they may seek out STEM related careers.

Covey Denton

dentonCovey Denton is a science teacher at Greenfield School in Wilson, NC for children in preschool through the seventh grade. Ms. Denton serves as the Wilson area director for the Elementary Science Olympiad as well as a Science Olympiad coach. She also coaches a middle school Envirothon team. Ms. Denton is on the National Advisory Board for Infiniscope and served as a judge for the NSTA Exploravision contest in 2018. Ms. Denton is a National Geographic certified educator and a NatGeo Certified Trainer for the certification program.

In 2016, Ms. Denton received the District Three Excellence in Elementary Education from NCSTA. In 2017, Ms. Denton was the recipient of the Robert E Yager award from NSTA. She attended the NSTA National Conference in LA and presented at the NSTA National Congress on Science Education in Buffalo, NY. In 2018, Covey received the Maitland P. Simmons award for new teachers from NSTA and the Paul DeHurt Hard award from the National Mid-Level Science Teachers Association.   Ms. Denton is a regular guest on the WITN News station where she and her children share science experiments on air. Ms. Denton also regularly volunteers and holds science nights at the Durham area Ronald McDonald house.

Ms. Denton came to teaching after working in the Biomedical Engineering field. She received her Masters in Biomedical Engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently Ms. Denton is enrolled in the NASA Endeavor program through Adams State University and will receive her Masters in Education in December of 2018.

Jenna Hartley

hartleyJenna Hartley is a North Carolina native with a B.S. degree in Environmental Geology from Beloit College, where she conducted undergraduate research with both the National Science Foundation-REU program and the Keck Geology Consortium.  Jenna then served as a NYC Teaching Fellow and earned an M.S. degree in Secondary Science Education from CUNY-Lehman College while teaching high school Earth Science in New York City.  She continued to teach AP Environmental Science, Biology, and Earth Science in North Carolina and received an M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences & Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Jenna has seven years of public high school classroom teaching experience, during which time she was a UNC Institute for the Environment Climate Fellow, a Climate Leadership and Energy Awareness Program teacher, and a Rural Teacher Global Fellowship recipient.

Jenna is currently an ASPPH (Association of Schools and Programs for Public Health) Environmental Health Fellow hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development.  She has developed multiple classroom-ready materials based off of the EnviroAtlas tool for grades K-12 and presented them to teachers at workshops and multiple national conferences. Jenna is also currently pursuing her NC Environmental Education certification.

Pamela Johnson

johnsonMy name is Pamela Johnson and currently I am an instructional facilitator and science content coach for Iredell-Statesville Schools. While in my current position, I arrange and lead professional development (both face-to-face and online) for my school and my district, help develop district science assessments, and offer general teacher support.

Prior to this position, I taught high school science for 14 years. During this time, I provided inquiry-based and hands-on learning for my students. I also developed and implemented an end-of-semester review plan that significantly raised EOC scores for our school. I obtained National Board Certification in 2010 and was North Iredell High School Teacher of the Year in 2012.

I have bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from UNC Charlotte and a master’s degree in Curriculum from Appalachian State University.

My future goal is to help provide early, equitable, and engaging science education to all students in my district.

My favorite pastimes are hiking, gardening, travel, and spending time with family.

Liz Jones

lizjonesI am from upstate New York originally and earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the SUNY Environmental Science College at Syracuse University. I tutored general chemistry during school, which is where I realized how rewarding teaching is.

After school, I moved to Los Angeles and went to school part time to get my teaching license while teaching at a wonderful private school with great mentor teachers and awesome students..

Ten years ago, I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, and taught at Roland Grise Middle School. I became department chair, coached Science Olympiad and SeaPerch, and started an Invention Convention and green home model competition at our school. I received the Excellence in STEM Education award from the Wilmington Business Initiative and was on the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee. During this time, I earned a master’s degree in school administration and curriculum, instruction, and supervision from UNCW.

I then taught at the Brunswick County Early College High School for two years, which is a STEM School of Distinction, and I helped develop a school-wide design challenge. I am currently the chair of the Brunswick County STEM Council and the middle grades science instructional coach for Brunswick County Schools. I’m also the mother of two spunky little girls, Eliza and Savannah who are 3 and 6 years old. Savannah is in first grade at Belville Elementary.

Meridith Mitchell

mitchellMeridith Mitchell has been teaching since 2005. Currently she is a middle school science teacher at IC Imagine Public Charter School in Asheville, but has taught everything from 3rd through 8th grades. Meridith is also the Science Coach for Kindergarten through twelfth grade at her school. Meridith grew up in Western North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Oregon with both her Bachelor and Masters in Education.

Her current mission is to bring the world into her classroom and school. She is a National Geographic Certified teacher- which is what inspired her worldly vision. Meridith coordinates
trips for middle school to the coast, the mountains, Washington, DC each year and anywhere in the world that she can sign people up to travel. The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and Belize
are two recent places she has visited. She has also made two week-long trips to NASA for professional development and competitions.

Meridith is on the School Improvement Team, PBIS Committee, Safety Team, and is a mentor
to beginning teachers along with coaching the Girls Soccer team. She is the Director of Region 8 for the NC Science Teachers Association (NCSTA). She is aspiring to be a leader in science at her school, in the state of North Carolina, and the United States.

Among all her sciencing, Meridith has three kids. Her husband is the school counselor at the
school where she teachers. She loves to read, garden, and play outside- the mountains and the
beach are two of her most favorite places.

Britnee Reid

reidMy name is Britnee Reid and I currently teach 7th and 8th Grade Science at York Chester Middle School in Gastonia, NC. After graduating from Appalachian State University I made the move to Gastonia, where I have been teaching the last 5 years.

I am a firm believer that students shouldn’t be at a disadvantage due to their socioeconomic status. I try to close that gap with grants and opportunities that are available to teachers who are wishing to further students access to a quality education, as well as increase student achievement, motivation and engagement. This year I was able to offer my students the unique opportunities of participating in the Jason Project and Trout in the Classroom.

I am fortunate enough to live on a 76 acre farm, which provides many opportunities for classroom extensions. Having live animals and using best management practices I am able to show my students concepts such as irrigation, farming methods, air and water quality management and livestock care in a more direct, meaningful way. I love being outdoors- camping, scuba diving, hiking or sky diving are all some of the things I love to do on my free time!

Stephen Roman

romanStephen Roman received his BA in Chemistry and Physics from Dartmouth College in 1984. He did graduate work in Chemistry at the University of California Berkeley (MS in 1987) and Science Education at Rutgers University (EdS in 1997). Mr. Roman worked with science education programs as a graduate student at Rutgers University before teaching middle and high school science in New Jersey. He has taught science at Lee County High School since 2005 and is presently department chair. Mr. Roman
teaches various levels of chemistry, physics, and physical science. He is involved in various Teams, including Leadership, Saturday School, AVID, Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy Leaders, and
Graduation. Mr. Roman was a Kenan Fellow (2008-2010) and has attended institutes for training in AP Chemistry and AP Physics, IB Chemistry, AVID, Modeling in Science (Chemistry, Physical Science, and Physics) and SIOP.

Mr. Roman is active in the community as a member of the Lee County Schools PTO Thrift Store Board and as Music Coordinator for St. Stephen Catholic Church in Sanford. He lives in Sanford with his partner David Kirkland.

Tom Savage

savageI have been teaching for fifteen years and teach science at the Henderson County Early College on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock NC. I currently teach chemistry, physical science and earth sciences and serve as the department head. In 2012, I began a science olympiad team. In 2015, I was selected to participate in the “Teacher at Sea” program with NOAA. After my trip, I began a new outreach program called “Young Scientists”. This outreach effort targets elementary students in third and fourth grades and developed entitled "Sounds of the Sea”. Children explore and identify whale and other marine mammal acoustic calls. During the school year, I also offer Discover SCUBA and Flying for my students on the weekends. Before teaching at the early college, I taught in Rutherford County for six years. Prior to teaching I spent six years as a National Service Park Ranger at five national parks. These include Grand Canyon, Glacier, Aciadia, Lowell National Historical Park and the Carl Sandburg Home.

My undergraduate degree is Natural Science and Geology from Worcester State University. Earned my masters degree in Geoscience from Mississippi State University and my teacher degree from Western North Carolina University. I earned my national board certification in 2007 in high school science.

Valerie Sellars

sellarsValerie Sellars, a 21 year education veteran , currently serves as the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Program Specialist for Graham High School. In this position, she oversees the implementation of the STEM to Work Pipeline Project for Alamance-Burlington Schools.   As a result of this project, students will be able to take advanced STEM classes and community college courses that will allow them to earn a Biotechnology Certificate. Valerie creates and delivers professional development for teachers, is a liaison with business community and higher education partnerships. She also provides various opportunities for students to gain STEM exposure through classroom visits from professionals and experiential learning trips.

Prior to this position, Valerie has served as a K-12 district science coordinator with Guilford County Schools. In this role, she provided instructional science support to school administrators and assisted science teachers with building capacity in science teaching through Professional Development, Professional Learning Communities, and classroom coaching which led to increased science proficiency on end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments.

Valerie passionately advocates for science education throughout the state of NC. She serves on the governing board of the NC Science Teacher Association (NCSTA) as Director for District 5. As a board member of NSTA she facilitates the advancement and coordination of science teaching at all educational levels throughout the state. Valerie is a 2018-2020 North Carolina Science Leadership (NCSLA) Fellow. This program, develops emerging science education leaders from all sectors of North Carolina’s rich and diverse formal and informal Science Education Community.

Valerie has taught various science courses in middle and high school. In addition, she is an adjunct Biology instructor Alamance Community College. She has published research on Transition from High School to College and Student Use of Feedback. Valerie has participated in research by the National Science Foundation with Dr. Yong Zhu in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University on Semiconductor Nanowires for Stretchable Electronics.

Valerie graduated from Elon University with a B.S. in Biology, completed her teaching certification at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and graduated from Averett University with an M.Ed. in Biology. Valerie is a member of Sweet Gum Grove Missionary Baptist Church where she serves as the church greeter and adult Sunday School teacher. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Jamie Smith

smithI am a wife and mom of three (ages 6, 5, and 3 years) and a dedicated science educator. I taught in the classroom for 8 years, all forms of biology from applied to AP, and online through NCVPS for 5 years, teaching AP biology, earth and environmental science, and anatomy and physiology. I was also a curriculum developer for NCVPS. I have been an instructional coach in /Brunswick County Schools (BCS) for 4 years now. I work with approximately 40 science teachers and love what I do!  

Additionally, I am on the advisory board of the Brunswick County STEM council, a partnership between community members and BCS that strive to provide STEM opportunities to all students. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in curriculum at UNCW. A new and exciting opportunity that I will have this year is to teach a first year seminar class at UNCW for incoming freshman that focuses on STEM. In my “spare” time, though, I enjoy going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and being involved with my church and local ministries.

Jennifer Stalls

stallsJennifer is a 7th grade science teacher at Greene County Middle School in Snow Hill, North Carolina. This is her fifth-year teaching and she loves to teach science with an emphasis on literacy. At Greene County Middle School, she teachers two 7th grade science STEM courses and writes curriculum for other STEM courses at both the middle school and the high school. She graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s in Middle Grade Science with concentrations in science and language arts. She also graduated from ECU with a M.A.Ed. in Middle Grades Education with a concentration in science. She is a 2015-2016 Students Discover Kenan Fellow. During this Fellowship, she worked at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina for three weeks with Dr. Julia Stevens, a microbiologist. Together she, along with two other middle school teachers, developed citizen science lessons that allow students to participate in authentic science by researching soil microbes. She also has served as a NC Science Olympiad coach for the past five years, and coordinates a STEM summer camp for rising 7th and 8th grade students. She will begin her Ed.D in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction at UNCW in Fall 2018.