Terry Angelus

I LOVED being a science teacher and now I LOVE being a STEM teacher. I don’t think that any other content area offers the level of opportunities to grow and try new things like science related subjects. I have been teaching science and an integrated STEM course for 10 years, the last 7 years having been at MOT Charter School in Middletown, Delaware. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in general science. From the moment I was appointed my first teaching job, doors opened; I found I just had to knock and not be afraid to walk through. I have been lucky to have been involved in many programs including an opportunity to teach in several cities in the U.S. and China through Enterprise for Education and the Clean Air Challenge Curriculum. I think that the part of my job that excites me even more than teaching current students is having students come back years later and tell me I made a difference, or I was the reason they chose science as a career. That feeling never gets old and I hope that I can continue to have that kind impact.

Judy Barton

I live a block from the Pacific Ocean in the San Francisco Bay area, and between sunsets am currently substitute teaching in the Pacifica, Burlingame and Millbrae school districts. I’m a fairly new teacher, and during the last five years, I’ve taught full-time (6th grade), substituted long-term (5th /6 th and 2nd grades) and day-to-day (K-8), done student teaching while getting my credential (CalStateTEACH), and tutored students in small groups and one-on-one. I have also been teaching public speaking, debate, student congress, critical thinking, writing and book club with grades K-12 in summers. I grew up an Army Brat, went to 12 schools and collected leaves, rocks, and memories. I competed in high school debate and public speaking and later the individual events in college (at the University of Iowa; BA in Communications and Theater Arts). After graduating, I traveled the country in a sports car, fell in love with San Francisco and the West Coast, and moved my stuff. I found myself in Advertising, then Publishing, then Arts and Music. My education and experiences in those industries provided a great foundation for work in Software Publishing and then early Web sites for innovative corporations and non-profits. After more than 20 years in the corporate world, I migrated to education and it has seemed both natural and somewhat inevitable given my family tree of many schoolteachers. I’m enjoying learning more about the world in which we live so that I can become an educator they say is “amazing!”

Kay Benitez

I teach science the Zoo Magnet, a biological sciences magnet located across the street from the LA Zoo in Griffith Park. I love the challenge of science and attempting to find order in a seemingly random natural world. I learned about CDEBI (Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations) a few years ago and became captivated by extremophiles which have redefined our understanding of life, bioegeochemical cycling and even our view of possible life elsewhere in the universe. Microbes are such a fascinating and integrative subject, which I’ve been able to relate to not only my Biology classes when I study microbes, disease, and epidemiology, but also Environmental Science with cycling of nutrients and even Astronomy with regard to astrobiology. I’m honored to have the opportunity to learn more about the role of microbes in the depths of the ocean and can’t wait to share what I’ve learned as part of 2013′s School of Rock Expedition!

Anica Brown

The JR has intrigued me ever since I participated in the School of Rock workshop at Texas A & M during the summer of 2008. I am so excited to be able to come on board and experience the ship firsthand. I have been teaching 20 years, but I haven’t always been a science teacher. Teaching science has been a growing experience for me over the past 10 years, and I can’t get enough of the discovery of it, so I keep seeking opportunities to bring authentic science into my classroom. I love it when my students keep asking questions, delving into thinking outside the box. I completed a geology graduate field course this past summer, hiking and digging into Earth’s history while traveling through western Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. I loved that journey and look forward to more rock exploration on the JR. I would love to go on an expedition to the Arctic and Antarctica some day. I am married with two grown sons, one that is married and has a daughter that I adore. My husband and I enjoy traveling, motorcycling riding, and hanging out with our family. I am thrilled to be part of this workshop and look forward to getting to know new colleagues, sharing ideas, and bringing tons of new information back to my students and staff. Go Pound Middle School!

Megan Cordes

I am a 33 year old Earth Science, Biology and Environmental Science Teacher in the Central Coast of California. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences and a Master’s degree in Geosciences and I love learning to interpret the language of the Earth to see what it has to tell us. When I’m not teaching I love bike riding, hiking, camping, playing with my puppy, making stuff and learning to draw dinosaurs.


Beth Christiensen

After college graduation, I began working as an analytical chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. When I had worked in industry a few years, I decided to pursue a teaching certification. I am now in my 14th year of teaching science to middle school students and I love it! I am fortunate to be teaching at the same school I attended when I was in junior high; the same school where my Dad began his teaching career. Clearly education runs in the blood as my Mom and her Mom were also teachers. I enjoy providing my students with unique learning opportunities and am excited about the possibilities that SOR can offer to expand our educational experiences beyond my classroom.

Molly Deich

Warm greetings from Santa Cruz! I am a 6th grade Earth science teacher. I am also in the fourth (and I hope final) year of my Ed.D at UCSC, where I am trying to figure out how 11-year-olds make sense of mass, volume, and density. My bachelor’s degree is in physical geography from UC Berkeley, and I have a master’s in education administration from San José State. I’ve been the union president in my district for the last 6 years, and I’m a classically-trained pianist, bike commuter, and vegetable grower. My sons are 24 and 20, and are both headed for careers in physics or astronomy. My 20-year-old will be working at a telescope in Chile during our April project!


Mark Gleason

I am looking forward to returning to ship board life and learning about the JR. I have been very fortunate to spend a fair amount of time working on Tall-Ships and oil/gas platforms as well as several research ships. My background includes many years as an ROV pilot and my PhD dissertation was on the use of those vehicles in natural resources education. If amyone has questions on how to put the mainsail up I can help otherwise i am looking forward to learning about the JR operation.

Katherine Lewandowsk

Hello! I am Katie Lewandowski; I am an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University. I teach geology classes, as well as the science methods class for pre-service secondary science teachers at EIU. My favorite classes to teach are oceanography and historical geology. Some of my outside interests are animals and cooking. I’m really looking forward to participating in the School of Rock!

Jane Londero 

I graduated from Queen’s University in1983 with a B.Sc in Geology. I spent 10 years working as an exploration geologist, mostly in northern Canada. I returned to school in 1990 to get a B.Ed so I could teach in the Yukon. I have lived in Whitehorse for the last 21 years teaching high school math and science. I have 3 teenage children who have all grown up on the North. My husband is an exploration geologist. I look forward to learning a lot more about the ocean environment from a geologic viewpoint.

Catherine Meechan

I have been teaching middle school for over fifteen years, and I am currently a seventh grade life science teacher at Salem Middle School. I have been lucky enough to fly in zero gravity, attend space camp twice, explore various coal mines, and serve as a NASA Endeavor Fellow. I enjoy traveling around the world, fishing along the Chesapeake Bay, and watching my son play sports. Whether I am two miles underground or two miles above it, I am always seeking out another adventure to bring back to my classroom to show my students there is a world beyond their zip code.

Kurtz Miller

Kurtz Miller is a former high school science teacher with seven years of experience teaching physical science, applied physics, and earth science. He is the STEM Clinical Educator in The Department of Teacher Education at the University of Dayton where he teaches undergraduate / graduate courses, and he helps to administer the Woodrow Wilson Program. Kurtz has a B.S. in Geology & Education, a M.S.T. in Physics (Education), a M.S. in Geological Sciences (Geophysics), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (Curriculum & Instruction). Currently, Kurtz is pursuing an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership (STEM Education) and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. Kurtz loves to travel and see physiography and physical geography. He lives in Dayton, Ohio with his cat Osmium.

Mary Palmer

It seems I have had “many lives” since I’ve had opportunities to be involved with science in many different ways throughout the years. My new science adventure is through the School of Rock 2013!!! I am a native New Yorker, working as a hospital lab tech,research assistant for an M.D., Ph.D., pharmaceutical sales rep and eventually a high school science teacher. Our family moved to Ohio in 1999 and have taught high school science for over 12 years. My husband and I have been married for 27 years and our son graduated from Ohio State University and our daughter is a Freshman at OSU. The family is excited that I get to “hang out” with scientists – since I am the only scientist in our family!

Michael Prosalik

I am a career changer at the beginning my teaching career. Prior to teaching I worked as a construction superintendent, but I am excited to get back to my Environmental Science roots! I have a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Union Graduate College. Currently, I am teaching environmental science, chemistry lab, and bioethics at a small private school in upstate New York. I am an avid learner who enjoys learning through experience. In addition to teaching and learning, I am an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys white water canoeing, flat water canoeing, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and trail running!

Joseph Skahan

I am a Special Edducation Biology and Marine Biology Teacher from Lynn English High School in Lynn MA. I have a very fond love of the ocean and all it has to offer. As an educator I share a passion for all children to learn through hands on approaches and technigues. I am also an avid musician.

Katie Taladay

Aloha! It is a pleasure to introduce myself, as I am very honored to be joining you all for the upcoming 2013 School of Rock. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, I traveled the world before deciding to settle down in Hawaii. I’ve found no better place to live than by the sea here in paradise! I am a graduate student at the University of Hawaii Manoa with a focus on 2D and 3D seismic interpretation, the potential of mining gas hydrates as an alternative energy source, deep earth drilling and subduction initiation. Before entering graduate school for marine geology, I was a trained anthropologist and behavioral specialist. With a combined interest in people and earth science, I believe it is important to actively bridge the gap between what scientist know/study and what the general public understands in order to empowering the public to take action that will better their lives, local environments and the world at large. I’ve spent 4 years teaching k-12 and volunteering with community building outreach projects that connect our communities with the sea including Eyes on the Reef, Surfrider, Ocean Awareness Hawaii, and with the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in their mission to remove invasive algae from our local shores. In my free time, I like to jump out of planes, surf, collect rocks and minerals, dance, yoga, climb mountains and laugh a whole lot. It is such a beautiful world and an exciting life. Looking forward to meeting you all!

Laura Tedesco

My name is Laura Tedesco. I have been teaching Earth Science at Troy High School for ten years. I earned my B.A. in Geology from Hartwick College, my M.A.T. from Union Graduate College, and most recently I achieved National Board Certification in Earth and Space Science. I am a lifelong learner; I love traveling and bringing my experiences back to my classroom. I teach honors Earth Science and remedial Earth Science. Recently I began teaching science in our sunset school program for non-traditional students. My hobbies are running, hiking, traveling, and gardening. I have currently climbed 26 of the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks and I have been to 38 US states. I am looking forward to this experience in Victoria!

Sarah Thornton

I’m currently a Senior Laboratory Instructor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria and I teach mainly our ocean sciences curriculum. Before teaching I worked as a research technician at the University of Alaska spending many days a year bouncing around on the Pacific studying nutrient chemistry. While I’ve spent a lot of time studying the oceans, I’ve hardly looked at the rocks around the water. It’s time to add that experience.

Brandi Wold-Brennon

Aloha! I am a teacher adventurer, thrilled to be working with middle school students in a project-based learning program in Hawaii. I am deeply curious about all things science, and I bring my adventures back to the classroom. Our program works with many scientists on real world projects, and I love to explore and find new scientists to partner with. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the School of Rock.


Jennifer Collins – School of Rock Principal

I have been in love with the ocean ever since 4th grade because the school librarian would let me take home filmstrips of Jacques Cousteau and the deep-sea world. I was in awe of what was yet to be discovered. This interest, along with frequent visits to the Cal Academy in SF, prompted me to get a degree in Zoology from UC Davis. My passion for education came as a surprise my Jr. year in college, when I was randomly invited to serve as a math tutor at a summer school in Kent CT.

I currently work on formal and informal programming at Deep Earth Academy to bring scientific ocean drilling science to students, teachers, and the public. My favorite part of my job is managing the School of Rock programs! Before coming to this job, I taught middle school and high school science and math, worked at the Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley on projects such as Explorations Through Time, the Understanding Evolution website, and Understanding Science website, and developed curriculum and museum materials for different folks. I love to travel, and because of my job and because my husband is a marine biologist, I have traveled to many great places to do science with a diversity of scientists. Other random stuff; one of my life goals is to run in every state in the US, and on every continent; I have two amazing kids; the Muppets absolutely terrify me and are banned from our house; I am not a sci-fi fan at all, but got obsessed with the new Battle Star Galactica series!

Larry Krissek

I am a professor in the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University (“The OSU”), where I’ve worked since finishing my Ph.D. in Marine Geology/Oceanography at Oregon State University (the “other” OSU) sometime in the Late Pleistocene.  My primary scientific research interest is the evolution of climates and ocean environments during the past 65 million years, especially as recorded on continental margins and at high latitudes.  My first scientific ocean drilling cruise was DSDP Leg 86, and I’ve subsequently sailed on 5 ODP cruises and 3 IODP expeditions.  I’ve also conducted 9 field seasons of research in Antarctica, including 5 seasons with scientific drilling projects that used floating ice as the platform for the drilling rigs.

I also have a strong interest in earth science education.  Over the past 5 years, I was fortunate to work with a dedicated group of colleagues — with support from NSF and Ocean Leadership — to develop a series of inquiry activities that explore earth’s climate history and are based on authentic core data.  This collection of activities was published recently by Wiley-Blackwell.  I also work closely with a colleague in OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology on earth/space science education topics.  Our work has included co-teaching a science methods course and offering professional development workshops, as well as conducting research on misconceptions and conceptual change.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, aerobic exercise (mostly biking and swimming, these days), ice cream, and cookies.  I look forward to getting back to the Pacific Northwest for School of Rock 2013, and working with a great group of people.

Dotti Pak

I am a researcher in U C Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, where my work focuses on identifying changes in past ocean temperature, salinity and circulation by looking at the chemistry and assemblages of fossil plankton shells in ocean sediment cores. I’m originally from Indiana (there are a surprising number of landlocked marine scientists), but have lived in Santa Barbara since finishing my Ph.D. at Columbia University. I’ve sailed on two ODP cruises as well as a number of other research cruises on other ships, which made me appreciate how nice the JR is.

I also have an interest in science education outreach, and hold a position as the Education Director for UCSB’s Materials Research Laboratory. I develop and run science outreach programs for K-12 kids, teachers and undergraduates, including a summer teacher institute that merges science and art. This will be my third time on the JR—I look forward to seeing all the changes in the ship, but hope they still have the ice cream machine in the galley.

Phil Rumford

I’m Phil Rumford, caught on film above in a rare moment of self-indulgence. I was born in Scarborough, UK, graduated with a geology/chemistry degree, and after a spell in industry returned to college to gain my teaching certification. I joined, what was then, ODP in 1992 and sailed as chemistry technician for several years. For the last decade or so I have been the Superintendent of the Gulf Coast Repository here in College Station, TX. Basically, I look after the core collection. It has been my great pleasure to have been involved in several of the SOR’s both at sea and on shore.