gina barrierHello NCSLA members! I’m Gina Barrier, newly-inducted NCLSA President. For the past 13 years, I’ve worked at The Science House’s Northwestern Outreach Office in Caldwell County. In this role, I taught teacher professional development, delivered equipment, and conducted lab safety inspections. I’ve been in many counties, many schools, and many classrooms over the years.

On a daily basis, I see the struggles and frustrations of teachers, administrators, parents and students on many levels. They need support - support for curriculum, pedagogy, resources, student projects or competitions. They need support to be leaders in their schools and communities.

NCSLA is not only about supporting teachers, we are about developing teacher leaders! As a former Science Leadership Fellow, I’ve seen how our program provides leadership skills, knowledge of the change process, a self-awareness of my capabilities that I hope make me a more effective leader.

I see Leaders who strive for perfection. We know that we are not perfect, but we try to perfect our craft. We want to improve the teaching process and make sure it is effective. Sometimes, in order to do this, we need to advocate for change or advocate to keep a program that we know works.

I see a disconnect between science and its application in the real world, especially local industries. I have experience as both an industrial chemist and high school science teacher. How do we integrate science, technology, engineering and math into lessons that can help develop our future workforce? Leaders need resources and connections that can be found through networking.

But I also see, amazing teachers who develop truly integrated STEM lessons, even at the Kindergarten level! I’ve met teachers, or former teachers, like many of you, who inspire others with their words and accomplishments. Their accomplishments should be celebrated so that we can learn from them.

This is what we strive to do! We are an organization that provides networking opportunities, celebrate the accomplishments of its members, supports them as they lead, and advocates for them. As we enter the 25th year of the organization, we not only want to expand our membership, but we also want to raise public awareness of our organization so that we can support and develop more leaders in science education. In the words of John Quincy Adams, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." We need more leaders in science education who dream, who inspire, who act! Thank you for your support of NCSLA!