Theme of the month

Theme of the Month

Join us each month as we focus on a topic of interest to STEM Teacher Leaders with a webinar panel, open
discussion, resources and blog post. 

April/May 2020 Theme of the Month:

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Recorded: November 4, 2020 at 4:00pm EST

Download: Webinar Chat

Description: In this Interactive Panel moderated by Joni Falk, panelists will discuss STEM teacher leadership opportunities that can help teachers build a foundation for exemplary practice and begin to stretch themselves as leaders. Programs that will be highlighted include The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), The Robert Noyce Teacher Fellowship, The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF), and The Knowles Teaching Fellows Program.

Panelists Denise Schultz (Noyce Master Teacher Fellow), Latoya Clay (Former Noyce MET Scholar, Knowles Teacher Initiative Senior fellow, and National Board Certified Teacher), Naveen Cunha (A Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and former Einstein Fellow), and Kirstin Milks (A Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST), a Senior Fellow at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, and a National Board Certified Teacher) will share their stories of having completed the above programs. They will discuss why they chose to pursue the opportunities they did, the experience of being engaged in the program, and the impact that participation in each program had on their teacher leadership trajectory. The last half hour of this panel will be highly interactive with the use of breakout rooms so that participants can ask questions and share their own experiences.


Joni Falk, co-directs the Center for School Reform at TERC, a nonprofit research and development institution aimed at improving mathematics and science teaching and learning. The Center has multiple projects researching the teaching and learning of STEM, creating and facilitating electronic communities, developing new science curricula, and implementing teacher development programs. Her work has focused on the creation of multiple online communities of practice, as well as on the use of technology, especially video, as an effective tool for knowledge generation, mentoring, discourse, dissemination, and broadening access. Currently, Joni is Principal Investigator of the STEM Teacher Leadership Network (, the STEM for All Video Showcase ( and the STEM for All Multiplex ( all funded by the National Science Foundation.


Denise Schultz is an instructional math coach for the Rochester City School District currently working in a K-6 building. She has worked in education for 19 years in various positions including classroom teacher, lead teacher of mathematics, instructional math coach, and facilitator of professional development. In 2015, she completed a 6-year Noyce Fellowship at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester where she earned her Master Teacher of Mathematics certificate. Denise is also an adjunct professor of math education at Nazareth College in Rochester and recently began acting as a mentor coach for an online content focused coaching project for coaches in rural districts with the Warner Center of Education

Latoya Clay was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She attended Clark Atlanta University where she attained her BS/MS degree in Applied Mathematics. She then went on to North Carolina State University where she earned 2 more Master’s Degrees, the first in Statistics and the other in Secondary Math education. She is an experienced Nationally Board Certified Secondary Mathematics Instructor with a demonstrated history of working with and specializing in the upliftment of disadvantaged youth. She is skilled in Statistics, Mathematics, Adult Education, Teaching, and Mathematics Education. Currently, Latoya resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband and 6 children where she teaches IB Math in Durham at Hillside High school. She is also a Knowles Teacher Initiative Senior fellow and former Noyce MET Scholar.

Naveen Cunha obtained a BS in Geology, after which he desired to find a career that allowed him to continue enjoying science while learning with diverse groups of individuals. Teaching fit that bill nicely. Naveen taught math and science for 15 years before he was selected as a Presidential Awardee for Science teaching in Texas. His involvement up to this point had been mainly confined to the regional and state level. Naveen’s selection as an awardee followed by his participation in the Einstein Fellowship program exposed him to the national stage and beyond. Working with so many professionals in education, industry, the government, and the public helped Naveen start a highly successful STEM Academy where he currently teaches engineering and robotics to 8th graders. His continued involvement in collaborations and endeavors with individuals and groups at all levels exposes his students to the world of possibilities that await them.

Dr. Kirstin Milks (@DrMilks; she/they) learns from and with AP Biology and Earth/space science students at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana. She's committed to engaging students in authentic scientific and personal practices, collaborating with students and community members to create justice-oriented spaces and opportunities, and supporting and making public the work of teaching and learning. Kirstin is a National Board Certified Teacher, a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and a Senior Fellow at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, where she is an editor-in-chief of the journal Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford.