Using the Learning Center as Your e-Textbook with Preservice
Al Byers, Ph.D
As Acting Associate Executive Director of Services at the National Science Teachers
Association (NSTA), Dr. Byers serves in a strategic capacity with mission-based
government agencies, state and local departments of education, university, and education
foundations as together we cooperatively develop high quality blended professional
development solutions, resources, and opportunities (both on-site, on-line, synchronous,
and asynchronous) for science educators across the United States. He steers the
design, development, implementation, and evaluation of large-scale blended professional
development and e-learning endeavors that are now being consumed by over 130,000
educators daily, primarily through the NSTA’s award-winning Learning Center.
He serves on the primary technical working group for the US Department of Education’s
online communities of practice efforts, and was previously a delegate for the US
Department of Education at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (2008),
and as an expert panelist for the National Assessment of Education Progress Science
Framework Prioritization working group. Dr. Byers is a sponsored speaker at both
the national and international level, and shares his research in online professional
development through peer-reviewed research articles and numerous conference presentations.
Flavio Mendez is the NSTA Learning Center Senior Director at the National Science
Teachers Association. Mr. Mendez has over fifteen years of experience in formal
and informal outreach and education activities, as Education Coordinator for the
Hubble Space Telescope education program, and as Director of two exhibits and professional
development programs for K-12 educators at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore,
At NSTA Mr. Mendez is responsible for the management of the Learning Center's state
and district partnerships and the help desk. He oversees the implementation of the
Center's resources, i.e., SciPacks, SciGuides, Web Seminars, Podcasts, Short Courses,
etc. and the development of the PD tools like My PD Plan & Portfolio, My
Library, My Calendar, My PD Record, etc. Mr. Mendez also
teaches courses in astronomy to pre- and in-service teachers at the University of
Maryland Baltimore County. He is one of NASA's JPL Solar System Educators.
Ken Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Ken Miller, is a Professor of Science Education and graduate coursework and
the program chair for the College of Education at Montana State University Billings.
Dr. Miller teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in science education and curriculum.
He earned his doctorate from the University of Wyoming. Dr. Miller has 15 years
as a public school science teacher and over 20 years teaching at the university
level. Dr. Miller is a co-PI in a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) statewide
grant and a PI in an NSF Noyce Scholarship Grant, both utilizing the framework and
the NGSS as a basis for professional development of preservice and inservice teachers.
He has several publications in national and international journals and over 50 presentations
at international, national, and regional conferences.
Carolyn Mohr is a science methods instructor for preservice teachers in a graduate program at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She concurrently works as a field trip instructor for the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois and is an online advisor for the NSTA Learning Center. She holds an Ed S in Educational Leadership from Northern Illinois University, a CAS and M Ed from National-Louis University, and a BS in biological sciences from Central Michigan University. She has taught science methods courses for ten years and was a middle and high school science and math teacher for over 28 years. While she was a middle school teacher, she chaired regional and state committees for the Illinois Junior Academy of Science (IJAS), received the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2008 “Those Who Excel” Award of Excellence, and was honored with her school district’s 2007 President’s Award. Her areas of interest and research include the legal issues that surround science safety in the classroom, science literacy, and best practices for teaching and learning. Carolyn enjoys attending (and presenting at) NSTA conferences.
Wendy Ruchti, Ph.D
Dr. Wendy Ruchti is an assistant professor of science and STEM education at Idaho
State University in Pocatello, Idaho where she currently serves in the College of
Education as the Accreditation Coordinator as well as the Assistant Chair of the
department of Educational Foundations. She teaches Elementary Science Methods as
well as other foundational courses for preservice teachers and also serves as an
online advisor for NSTA. She received her BS in Zoology and Secondary Education
in 1993 and then began her education career as a middle level science and mathematics
teacher, most recently at the Pocatello Community Charter School, an Expeditionary
Learning mentor school where deeper learning was the expectation. Dr. Ruchti received
her MS and Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction/Science Education from the University
of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho in 2001 where she was a Presidential Doctoral Research
fellow. She researched online learning and the development of proportional reasoning
in middle school students. Her areas of interest and research are the integration
of literacy in science, and reflection on evidence in emerging and practicing teachers.
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