Meet Our 2019-20 Teacher Advisors

Our teacher advisors come from all over the country and share a passion for science education. We’re thrilled to have them on board!

Denise Alfaro · Sylvania Heights Elementary School · Miami, FL 
Third Grade Math/Science Teacher

Denise Alfaro has been a teacher for 13 years. She currently teaches third grade math and science at Sylvania Heights Elementary School. She’s also the lead teacher for the Food Forest Project, which teaches students about keeping a sustainable garden. She loves animals and has an extensive collection of reptiles and mammals in her classroom. A proponent of STEAM, she has helped her elementary school become a designated STEAM school. In addition to teaching, Denise works with her district’s elementary science focus group, updating pacing guides and essential labs. She enjoys using SuperScience with her students as a way to stay current in the world of science. Denise has been married for 26 years and has four amazing sons, ranging from 16 to 25.

Nancy Bourne · Beacon Cove Intermediate School · Jupiter, FL
K-12 STEM/PBC STEM Education Council

Nancy Bourne has been a School District of Palm Beach County employee and Scholastic magazine subscriber for more than 20 years. She earned her M.A.Ed. from the University of Florida and her undergraduate degree from Florida Atlantic University. Nancy currently works specifically in STEM within the Department of Teaching and Learning, supporting teachers and students in grades K-12. She is also a United Way mentor who provides hands-on STEM lessons to disadvantaged students. She is the recipient of Florida Engineering Society’s (FES) K-12 Teacher of the Year and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Debbie Ericksen · Adamsville Primary School · Bridgewater, NJ
Fourth Grade Teacher  

Debbie has been a teacher for 11 years. She has an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has taught general education, gifted and talented, and English language learners. She has also co-taught within a special ed classroom. Her passion for science was ignited when she was awarded a scholarship to attend the ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. Since then, Debbie has served as a science coordinator for her school, designed a STEAM Family Night, written science curriculum, and facilitated professional development workshops at the district, state, and national levels. She serves on the New Jersey NGSS Teacher Leader Cohort and the NSTA PreK/Elementary Curriculum Committee, and is a peer reviewer for NSTA’s Science and Children magazine. Debbie continues to pursue an interdisciplinary model of instruction to support science within her classroom. She has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and the NSTA Sylvia Shugrue Award.

Michelle Gay · Loxley Elementary School · Loxley, AL
Gifted Specialist, National Board Certified Teacher

Michelle has been an educator for more than 20 years and is national board certified in middle childhood education. She has had a passion for science since high school and has participated in a number of science teacher training programs across the country, including the Sally Ride Academy and the Exxon Mobil Academy. In addition, she is a Certified Essential Elements Instructor for You Be the Chemist, where she conducts workshops on chemistry. She has been a SuperScience advisor for many years and currently writes blogs for Scholastic. She believes students learn through hands-on, engaging lessons that are challenging and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Courtney Greene · Bryan Elementary School · Coeur d'Alene, ID
Third Grade Teacher

Courtney Greene is a third-grade teacher at Bryan Elementary School. In addition to teaching, she serves on the Idaho Science Teachers Association board and promotes elementary school science through inquiry-based workshops and training sessions. Her passion is creating integrated units of instruction centered around place-based science.

Amy Kamata · Stone Oak Elementary School · San Antonio, TX
Fifth Grade Science Teacher

Amy Kamata grew up on a cattle farm in Iowa. After graduating with a B.A. in community recreation, she lived in Japan and Mexico, teaching conversational English and volunteering. In 1998, she returned to the United States, landing in Texas. Since then, she has worked at a retirement community and government travel office, had two kids, and returned to school to earn a master of arts in teaching. She started her seventh year as a fifth-grade science teacher this fall. During the summer months, she works at a camp. She recently completed her Master Naturalist certification. Her interests include volunteering for environmental causes, reading, working out, and traveling; attending concerts, the theater, and art exhibits; and learning new things.

Morgan Lanzalotti · York Haven Elementary School · Manchester, PA
Third Grade Teacher

Morgan Lanzalotti has been a teacher for 11 years. She currently teaches third grade in Northeastern School District in Manchester, PA. She’s had experience teaching various grades, teaching different gifted summer programs with the Lincoln Intermediate Unit, writing curriculum for NSTA and Baltimore County Public Schools, and leading various professional development in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. She enjoys crafting realistic learning units that engage kids and inspire them to love the learning process. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family and their three cats, Ellie, Chance, and Wyatt. She loves doing yoga, being an active member in her church, and being warm on the beach.

Elizabeth Lean · Coral Sunset Elementary School · Boca Raton, FL
Fifth Grade English/Language Arts Teacher

Elizabeth Lean currently teaches fifth grade reading and writing in Boca Raton, Florida. She enjoys watching students collaborate with classmates while participating in literacy activities and meeting their learning targets. Elizabeth has a passion for introducing different genres to her students to try to ensure they are as enthusiastic about reading as she is. Her interests include reading, playing lacrosse, listening to live music, and spending time with her husband, her two children, and her dog. 

David Lerch · Marissa Elementary School · Marissa, IL
Sixth Grade Math/Science Teacher

David Lerch has been teaching for 13 years—seven years teaching sixth grade, three years teaching fifth grade, and three years teaching seventh and eighth grades. In addition, David has coached boy’s basketball for 10 years. He loves STEM and space science. Outside of school, David loves listening to and playing music, reading as much as he can, and spending time with his daughter, Nora, and wife, Stephanie.

Christyn Mattingly · Temecula Preparatory School · Winchester, CA
Sixth Grade Teacher

Christyn Mattingly has been teaching for 30 years.  For the past 11-and-a-half years, she has taught at Temecula Preparatory School. She has taught third grade for the past eight years and this year will be moving to sixth grade. She enjoys learning and growing as an educator. Her interests include reading, spending time with family, and crocheting amigurumi creatures.

Marjorie Miller · Fishing Creek Elementary · Lewisberry, PA
K-5 Gifted Educator

Marjorie Miller has been the elementary gifted teacher for the West Shore School District for 13 years. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2006 with a degree in elementary education with a math specialization. She received her first master’s degree in middle school mathematics 6-8 at Walden University in November 2010, and her second master’s degree in education with a principal certification in June 2014. She has three sons: Steven, Markus, and Cameron. She enjoys all things technology and STEAM Her passion is to make a difference in the world.

Sara Rabas · Kewaunee Middle School · Kewaunee, WI
Sixth Grade Science/Social Studies Teacher

Sara Rabas is a sixth grade teacher at Kewaunee School District. She’s passionate about promoting student stewardship via community projects, such as local storm drain stenciling, magic marker recycling, electronic recycling events, and mitten toss events. She incorporates STEM, STEAM, NGSS, environmental education, and civic engagement into her lessons. Sara loves to travel around the world and was selected by the National Council on Geographic Education to attend GeoCamp Iceland. She’s in the process of creating a Monarch Garden Outdoor Classroom in her district via various grants she’s received. Sara is a strong advocate of “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World” for her students and herself.

Dianna Souder · Joseph R. Pye Elementary · Summerville, SC
Fifth Grade Math/Social Studies/Science Teacher

Dianna Souder currently teaches fifth grade science, social studies, and math. She previously taught middle school science for eight years, ranging from sixth to eighth grade. She obtained her bachelor’s in elementary education, and her master’s in secondary science education 6-12. She recently completed her education doctorate in educational leadership. In her free time, Dianna enjoys gardening, reading, cooking, and sewing.

Rebecca Streff · North Bend Central Elementary · North Bend, NE
Fifth Grade Teacher

Rebecca Streff was a Nebraska State Finalist in Math for PAEMST 2018 and the 2018-19 Nebraska Milken Educator recipient. Rebecca received her bachelor of science in elementary education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned a master’s in teaching, learning, and teacher education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s in education in educational leadership at Doane University. Rebecca is the mother of four children. In her free time, she likes reading, knitting and crocheting, as well as spending time outdoors.

Alyson VanAlphen · Socrates Academy Public Charter School · Matthews, NC
Fifth Grade Science Teacher

Alyson VanAlphen has worked in education since she graduated from college in 1995. She taught in a public school for five years before leaving the classroom to start a private tutoring business. After a year as a substitute teacher in 2009, she began teaching fifth grade science at Socrates Academy and has been teaching there ever since. Science education is her passion, and she is grateful to have the privilege of being on the SuperScience Advisory Board.

Kimberly West · Cold Springs Middle School · Reno, NV
Fifth Grade Science Teacher

Kimberly West has taught in Florida and Nevada for 20 years. She loves working on STEM activities with her students. She and her students like giving feedback and new ideas to the SuperScience team. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, pinning things on Pinterest, and spending time with her family and their two cats.