NGSS Hub -

Team Leader

Sean Musselman is a K-5 science specialist for the Burlington, Massachusetts, public schools and works alongside elementary classroom teachers to develop and execute science programming and curriculum. Before arriving in Burlington in 2011, Sean taught for five years in the Reading, Massachusetts, school system as an eighth-grade Earth and space science teacher. Sean is one of two science educators who work at the Burlington Science Center, the school system's hub for maintaining classroom kits and materials, live animals loaned to classrooms, and larger scale science equipment used in "museum-style" programs. Sean also sits on the executive board of the North Shore Science Supervisors Association of Massachusetts. He earned a BS in geology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a master’s in science education from Cambridge College of Massachusetts.


Peter Bernson has been a teacher for 20 years and currently is a fifth grade math/science teacher at the Reed Intermediate School in Newtown, Connecticut. Over the past three years he has been part of a multi-district Math Science Partnership grant focusing on STEM content and pedagogy, as well as instructional coaching. He has been involved in curriculum development at the building and district level, and he was a member of Connecticut's state review committee during the Next Generation Science Standards publication process.

Martha Harney is an elementary science specialist in Waltham, Massachusetts. She teaches science and engineering to students in grades 1-5. Her recent work as a teacher-in-residence at Boston’s Museum of Science focused on connecting science and literacy. She is currently working on adapting her district’s science curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards. Martha holds a BA in French from Binghamton University in New York, a post-baccalaureate certificate in elementary education from Framingham University in Massachusetts, and an MS in ecological teaching and learning from Lesley University in Massachusetts, where she focused on outdoor education.

Judith Hebert is a recently retired teacher who spent nearly 30 years in the field of education, most recently as a K-5 Science teacher in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Judith graduated with both a master’s and doctoral degree from American International College and spent 10 years as a psychology professor at Holyoke Community College, both in Massachusetts. Judith’s focus as an elementary science teacher was always on developing children’s appreciation for their environment and stressing their role as keepers of the earth. Her students took part in the World Water Monitoring Challenge, cultivated a school garden with grants from the Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Program, took part in “Hike It and Like It” treks through local state parks, and worked with the local high school’s vocational program to identify local birds and create bird houses for them. To enrich students’ field trips to the Boston Aquarium and the “Big E” ( New England States Exposition), she developed curriculum for use by teachers. While teaching science, Judith took part for three years assessing MCAS development for grade 5 for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). In this capacity, she served as an advisor for the test development process and reviewed items in the test for content accuracy. She received the 2009 Local Hero Award from the State of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, was named the 2010 Semi-Finalist for Teacher of the Year for the State of Massachusetts, the 2010 Public Educator Award from the New England Water Environment Association, and the 2011 Ocean Stewardship Award Winner from the Boston Aquarium. She also received recognition for her work with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in development of a children’s Park Passport stamp system. Judith has always enjoyed working with students and observing their delight as they interact with the environment in a positive way.

Janet MacNeil is the K-8 science coordinator for the public schools of Brookline, Massachusetts. In this role, Janet is responsible for planning, developing, and supervising science curriculum; providing professional learning opportunities for teachers; and providing science supplies/teaching materials. She is currently working with a team of teachers to revise the entire K-8 science curriculum to incorporate the use of hands-on inquiry instruction, science practices, nature of science (who are scientists and what do they do?), science notebooks, outdoor learning, and integration with other areas of the curriculum (such as science talk, science writing, and science reading to support science as well as the ELA Common Core). Janet is developing online courses and is integrating the use of technology into science classrooms to support teachers and students. As a curious lifelong learner herself, Janet is passionate about making science teaching and learning engaging for teachers and students alike. She has a BS in Earth science and an MA in environmental pollution control from Penn State University. Janet has been a member of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework Review Panel since 2009 and is also part of the DESE Grade 5 Assessment Development Committee for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). In addition to her passion for science, Janet plays the French horn in a local orchestra and looks forward to exploring the coastline of Nova Scotia every summer with her family (and border collie, Luna).

Betsy O’Day began her career as a special education teacher in Illinois. She has spent the past 11 years in Hallsville R-IV School District in Hallsville, Missouri, where she taught fifth-grade science and reading for nine years and is currently the science specialist teaching grades 3–5 at Hallsville Intermediate School. Betsy has served on a Missouri Assessment Program item review committee and on a writing team commissioned by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and Science Coalition. She is currently the president of Science Teachers of Missouri. Since 2002, Betsy has been a national Girl Scout-NASA facilitator participating in NASA sponsored science and engineering training sessions at various NASA facilities. She uses the content and skills learned to provide programs for girls and adults at the local and national levels as well as in her classroom. Betsy has a BS in special education from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in science education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is certified in K–12 special education, elementary education, and science grades 5–9. Betsy is National Board Certified in early adolescence science and the 2010 Missouri recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Pamela Parks teaches Advanced Content Science to gifted third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students at Oglethorpe County Elementary School in Lexington, Georgia. Pamela has 23 years of education experience: 14 years teaching middle school science, five years of elementary school science, and four years as the regional coordinator for the Oconee River Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center. Pamela earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from Mercer University College in Macon, Georgia, and master’s and educational specialist’s degrees in middle grades science from the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia.

As a teacher, Kathy Renfrew brings experience to her work at the Vermont Agency of Education, where she is co-lead in Vermont’s efforts around Next Generation Science Standards development. As the elementary science and mathematics specialist, she assists with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in both mathematics and English language arts. Her team recently developed a Short Focused Research Project based on science content for K -2 students that is being shared regionally throughout the state. Kathy is also a member of a collaborative team of specialists from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and the nonprofit assessment firm Measured Progress who develop and construct the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science assessment. In 2000, she was honored as Vermont’s elementary Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching. Kathy is an active NSTA member and currently serves on the committee that chooses the Outstanding Science Trade Books.

Karen Umeda is a veteran elementary education teacher in Hawaii. In addition to 14 years as a first-grade teacher, she has also held positions as an educational evaluator; a gifted and talented coordinator; and a state resource teacher for induction and mentoring, science, and STEM. In her role as a STEM resource teacher she has conducted numerous professional develop sessions, most notably at the Journey to the Universe Event and in conjunction with the College of Pharmacy, both at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She is currently a state office teacher for technology integration, working on the Telepresence Project, which is a Race to the Top initiative. Karen is a member of the State Mathematics Content Panel and serves as a group facilitator for the State Science Content Panel. She has participated in these panels since their inception in 2008. In 2009 she served as a senior curriculum consultant for NOAA's Pacific Services Center Lessons From the Sea project, providing the final review, editing, and recommendations for 20 curricular units for grades 3-5. She has also written curriculum for the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Bishop Museum. In addition to presenting at several locally sponsored conferences, Karen has presented nationally at the Council of Chief State School Officer's conference in 2006 and most recently at the 2013 National Science Teacher Association's conference in San Antonio. Karen is a lifelong resident of Hawaii and lives on the island of Oahu with her husband, son, and two Shiba Inus.