NGSS Hub -

Team Leaders

Joy Dobson has served as an educator at Weybridge Elementary School in the Addison Central Supervisory Union in Vermont since 1993. She has taught single and multi-grade classrooms of kindergarten through second grade. As a teacher leader, Joy is held in high regard throughout the supervisory union and within Weybridge School. She has served as a district-wide math leader, co-designing and carrying out professional development for teachers, developing curriculum, and working as a studio teacher. In addition to her role as a classroom teacher, Joy is currently a math and science teacher-leader in her school. Shewas named University of Vermont Elementary Teacher of the Year for her district in 2002 and was also the recipient of the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics. Joy is a member of the Vermont Math Leadership Council. She has a BS in elementary education from Nyack College in New York and a MEd from University of Vermont. She is certified in early childhood and elementary education.

Julie Michaud has been an elementary educator for the Cherokee County School System in Canton, Georgia, for 20 years. She has worked as an elementary engineering teacher, creating and implementing her own K-5 engineering curriculum. Julie has a BS in early childhood education from the University of Georgia and a MEd in early childhood education from Georgia State University. Julie is a recent graduate of the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy.


Cheryl Cooper is a retired classroom teacher of 23 years who taught grades K-6, with most of those years being in grades 1 and 2. She has also been teaching teachers for 22 years in workshops and classes and currently writes curriculum for grades K-3.

Cindy Dey started her formal teaching career in 1985 as a seventh- and eighth-grade classroom teacher in Pennsylvania. In 1986 she moved to North Carolina and taught elementary physical education in Union County. While there, she was named the Jaycees Young Educator of the Year and Teacher of the Year at Wingate Elementary School. She also received an award from the Jump Rope for Heart program. She took a break from teaching in 1991 to attend Winthrop University in South Carolina, earn a master’s degree, and raise her family. She surveyed elementary physical education programs across South Carolina in the Model Schools program. In 2005 she returned the public school classroom and presently works at Lake Wylie Elementary. While at Lake Wylie she has twice been twice named Teacher of the Year; has been awarded multiple grants; and was a Phil Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher Academy Teacher, a Discovery Place Science Fellow, a Science Workshop facilitator for the county, the 2012 Meck Ed Teacher of Excellence, and the 2013 CATO teaching winner for creativity and innovation in the area of science education.

Cindy makes every effort to meet individual students where they are and move them toward excellence. She provides learning opportunities to students at school, after school, on weekends, and during the summer, and she continues to monitor and assist past students by volunteering at the local high school. Her calling to education remains strong.

Vanessa Ford began teaching in Washington, DC, as a 2002 Teach for America corps member and has worked in DC public and charter schools ever since, teaching grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 and serving as an instructional coach. In 2011, Vanessa joined DC Public School's Maury Elementary as the STEM Coordinator and leads the unique Think Tank program. Think Tank is an inquiry-based special subject class based in Habits of Mind and Multiple Intelligence Theory. Vanessa is part of the DCPS Teaching in Action program, which allows teachers to observe her lessons as part of their own professional development. She also leads PD sessions on inquiry-based learning and using games to support instruction. Vanessa received her BA from Bates College in Maine and later earned her MAT in Elementary Education from Trinity University in DC.

Emily Miller was a lead writer for the Diversity and Equity Team on the Next Generation Science Standards, a member of the NGSS writing team, and co-writer of NGSS for All Students, with Dr. Okhee Lee. Emily has taught for 18 years as an ESL and bilingual resource science specialist in Madison, Wisconsin, at a Title I school. Emily serves as a curriculum developer on multiple grants: A Project Based Learning grant with Dr. Joe Krajcik and Dr. Annemarie Palinscar, an NSF grant with Dr. Okhee Lee and Dr. Guadalupe Valdez, and a NSF Teacher Professional Development grant with the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. Emily has an MS in bilingual studies from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a BS from the same department with a Spanish minor, and ESL and bilingual teaching certifications. She is pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Tammy Stegeman teaches second grade in the Quincy Public School District in Quincy, Illinois. She has been teaching for 25 years, spending the majority of her career at the second- and third-grade levels, and has loved every minute of it. Currently, she serves as a new teacher mentor in her district and as a cooperating teacher for student teachers in her classroom. Tammy achieved National Board Certification in early/middle school reading and language arts in 2005. She has mentored more than a dozen other educators through the National Board Certification process. Tammy is an AFT K-2 Thinking Math presenter, providing professional development opportunities for her district. She also serves on her district’s Common Core State Standards math team and as a building math leader. Presently, she works with Achieve Inc. on the American Federation of Teachers Next Generation Science Standards review team. Tammy is her building’s science representative for the district’s science curriculum committee.

She has been part of a science team instrumental in examining grade-level benchmarks, realigning the district’s science curriculum, evaluating grade-level science materials, providing professional development, and designing science assessments for district use. Recently, Tammy has provided NGSS professional development opportunities within her state for the Regional Office of Education. She has also organized and directed the science fair for students in her building for more than a decade. Tammy served on the team responsible for designing the Illinois Continuum for Quality and Effectiveness for Beginning Teacher Induction Programs. She was a member of a team of educators that completed a Common Core and Illinois Learning Standards gap analysis in the areas of math and language arts, and she is part of the Illinois NGSS Adoption Committee. Tammy graduated from Quincy University in Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Danae' Ellen Wirth currently works for Fairfield Community Schools, in Goshen, Indiana, as a district STEM coordinator. She continues to lead professional development in science education and curriculum, and serves on a variety of education committees for Indiana STEM (iSTEM), NASA, NSTA, and others. Danae’ also serves on the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair committee at Notre Dame and was a board member for the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers Inc. She worked as a faculty member for the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Strategic Planning Institutes and has been part of four Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grants based on the Smithsonian Science Education Center model. She holds an MEd in science curriculum and instruction from Purdue University in Indiana, an MA in zoology from Miami University of Ohio, and K-12 certifications in reading, English language learners, and biology/life sciences. Early in her career, Danae' taught preschool, first grade, reading recovery, and English as a second language. She and her husband live in Goshen, Indiana.