NAGT > Divisions > Teacher Education Division (TED) > TED Division Officers

Teacher Education Division Officers

President Suzanne T. Metlay

Suzanne T. Metlay Ph.D., is full-time faculty at Western Governors University, Teachers College, preparing pre-service and of-record teachers to become middle school and high school Earth science educators with subject matter expertise in geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. Suzanne leads the Geosciences Education program, teaches graduate students as well as undergraduates, and assists students getting ready for their Praxis and state content exams nationwide. Prior to joining WGU, Suzanne was full-time astronomy faculty at Front Range Community College, Colorado; Operations Director at Secure World Foundation (private non-profit for space sustainability); Education Programs Manager at Fiske Planetarium, University of Colorado at Boulder; and a member of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET). Current passions include annual talks at local astronomy clubs about Pluto and other dwarf planets, active engagement in professional organizations (NAGT, GSA, NSTA), and anything Orphan Black or Doctor Who.

Education: B.A., History & Science (Geology & Soviet Studies), Harvard University; Ph.D, Geology & Planetary Science, University of Pittsburgh (PA).

Professional Experience: Western Governors University, Teachers College (2012-present; 2015 WGU Mentoring Contributions Award for peer collaboration and support); Front Range Community College (CO; 2010-2012); Secure World Foundation (CO; 2008-2011); University of Colorado at Boulder, Fiske Planetarium (2004-2008); plus more.

Professional Service: Peer reviewer, Journal of Competency Based Education (2015-present); Founded and administered Earth Education Resources for Two-Year College Faculty (EarthEd2YC; with Rusty Low, NASA Earth Forum Lead; 2014-2015); NAGT Geosciences for Two-Year Colleges (Geo2YC) executive board (archivist; 2012-2014); plus more.


Vice President Eric Pyle

Eric Pyle is a professor of geology at James Madison University, specializing in geoscience education and teacher preparation. He has published on science teacher preparation and professional development as well as instructional materials development and evaluation. He has served in the leadership of five NSF-funded projects, including grants for GK-12 Teaching Fellows, GeoEd, and the Robert C. Noyce program. He was a member of the Earth & Space Science (ESS) Design Team for A Framework for K-12 Science Education and was a primary reviewer for all drafts of the Next Generation Science Standards. He was also an author of the National Research Council's Preparing the Next Generation of Earth Scientists: An Examination of Federal Education and Training Programs. At JMU, he has served as the coordinator of science teacher preparation in the College of Science & Mathematics as well as a Co-Director of the Center for STEM Education and Outreach. He teaches coursework in Earth materials, contemporary Earth issues, and planetary geology, as well as joint courses in secondary teaching methods. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), heading the Preservice Teacher Preparation Division from 2014-2017. He is also a past president of the Eastern Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the West Virginia Science Teachers Association (WVSTA) and the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST). He has received awards for Outstanding Teaching (West Virginia University), Gustav Ohaus Award for Innovations in Science Teaching, Outstanding Service (JMU College of Science & Mathematics), the JMU Provost's Award for Assessment, and the VAST Recognition in Science Education-College Level. He received a BS cum Laude in Earth science from UNC-Charlotte (1983), an MS in Geology from Emory University (1986), and a PhD in Science Education from the University of Georgia (1995).

Past President Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas is an assistant professor of science education and earth science at Central Connecticut State University. He teaches secondary science methods, earth science and physical science for elementary majors, meteorology, and various graduate courses for in-service science teachers. Previously, Jeff was a secondary earth science teacher for twelve years and he was also a broadcast meteorologist for four years. His research interests are related to inquiry, curriculum development, geoscience education.

Education: BS Meteorology (minor in Geology), California University of Pennsylvania; Ed.D, Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.Professional Experience: Assistant Professor at Central Connecticut State University (08 to pres.). Professional Activity: PI for two Teacher Quality Partnership grants; Co-Pi for one Connecticut K-8 Instructional Improvement grant, and project management team member for two Math & Science Partnership grants. Professional Service:Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) Awards Committee (10-13), reviewer for the Journal of Geoscience Education.

Secretary/Treasurer Peggy McNeal

Peggy McNeal is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. Previously, Peggy was a middle school science teacher for fourteen years after serving as an officer in the United States Navy. Her research interests include identifying cognitive processes significant to practicing and learning meteorology and characterizing the motivations of educators who teach climate change.

Education: B.S. Oceanography, United States Naval Academy; M.S. Geosciences, Mississippi State University; Ph.D. Western Michigan University, Science Education: Geosciences.

Professional Experience: Evaluator and university liaison for intern teachers, Teaching, Learning and Education Studies (TLES), Western Michigan University; Instructor, Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University; PolarTREC Teacher, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.; Science and Math Teacher, Grades 6-8, Cajon Valley Union School District, CA

Professional Service: Reviewer, Polar Record, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering all aspects of Arctic and Antarctic exploration and research; Reviewer, Science Scope, NSTA's peer-reviewed journal for middle level and junior high school science teachers.


Media Director Steve Mattox

Steve Mattox is a Professor of Geology at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He contributes to a range of teacher preparation programs including non-science K-8, Integrated Science, Earth Science, and a secondary education Integrated Science endorsement. He has mentored 25 undergraduate science education students to present their work at state and national meetings and collaborated with 15 students on peer-reviewed publications. He continues to extend a state-wide network of high schools offering geology courses for credit at eleven Michigan colleges and universities.

Education: BS Geology Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis; MS and PhD Northern Illinois University. Professional Experience: interpretive ranger National Park Service, HAVO; contract mapping geologist Utah Geological Survey, gold exploration in West Australia, mapping base metals Java Indonesia. Administrative Experience: Department Chair, Geology, GVSU; PI or co-PI of three NSF grants in education. Teaching Experience: general education courses at NIU, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and University of Hawaii at Hilo; geology, integrated science, graduate courses for inservice teachers, and general education at GVSU. Service has included: GSA Education Committee, editor of GVSU's Regional Math & Science newsletter, member of AGU, GSA, and NAGT.

Former Officers:

Former Secretary/Treasurer Mark Abolins

Mark Abolins is an Associate Professor at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) near Nashville, TN. He is the principal investigator, coordinator, and one of five research mentors for the National Science Foundation Geosciences Directorate's first Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) specifically designed for future Earth science, chemistry, and biology middle school and high school teachers. He just completed fourteen years of service as the Middle Tennessee State University campus representative to the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium, part of the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. As the campus Space Grant representative, he oversaw numerous small grants, including grants for pre-college and graduate (MTSU Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D.) projects. He is currently recruiting presenters for 2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting topical session T68 on research experiences for pre-service and in-service teachers. He has published in the Journal of Geoscience Education and currently has a manuscript on field geology education in press at the journal. Other current projects include the use of education interventions and flipped instruction in introductory Earth science education.

Education: A.B. Geology, Univ. California-Berkeley; M.S. and Ph.D. Geology, Calif. Institute of Tech. Professional Experience: Geosciences Faculty, Middle Tenn. State Univ. (98-present). Service: Developed applied Geosciences master's program at Middle Tenn.; Organized GSA annual meeting field trip and 2 topical sessions; Published 3 papers (incl. 1 in press) in Journal of Geoscience Education. Awards: 1992 NSF Graduate Fellowship, 1997 Richard H. Jahns graduate assistant teaching award (Caltech Geol. & Planetary Sci.), 1998 NSF Fellowship in STEM Education (declined by me so I could accept position at Middle Tenn.).

Heather Petcovic (Former Past President)

Heather Petcovic is an Associate Professor holding a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University. She is actively engaged in the education of K-12 earth science teachers as an instructor of both content and blended content/methods courses and as departmental advisor to undergraduate Earth Science and Integrated Science teacher preparation programs. She has been involved with several teacher professional development projects, most recently as a consultant to the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MiTEP). Her research focuses on the role of fieldwork in geoscience expertise.

Education: BA Geology, Smith College; MS Geology, Oregon State University; PhD Geology, Oregon State University. Professional Experience: NSF GK-12 Teaching Fellow (2000-01), Oregon State University Science Connections Outreach Coordinator (2000-04), Western Michigan University Geosciences/Science Education joint faculty (2004-present). Teaching: Earth science for K-8 preservice teachers, earth materials, field geology, graduate courses in science education theory, research, and practice.Service: Associate Editor for the Journal of Geoscience Education (2010-present), elected officer of the GSA Geoscience Education Division (2004-08), NAGT Distinguished Lecturer (2010-11), TED Organizing Committee (2013-14). PI/Co-PI on six externally funded science education projects, published a dozen peer-reviewed papers in both research and practitioner science education journals.

Kyle Gray (Former Past President, 2015)

Kyle Gray is an Assistant Professor of Earth Science and Science Education at the University of Northern Iowa. His research emphases include improving geoscience courses for elementary education majors, developing inquiry-based lessons on geoscience topics, and developing professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers. Interests outside of science education include physical volcanology and natural hazards. Kyle has led two sessions at GSA on courses for education majors, and has led the effort to create the Teacher Education Division within NAGT.

Education: BS Geology, University of Puget Sound, MS Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, MIT Teaching, Whitworth University, PhD Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, University of Akron. Professional Experience: Project Geologist, Golder Federal Services (94-98); High School Earth Science Teacher, Academy for Academic Excellence (00-03); Middle School Science Teacher, Canton Country Day School (04-06); Adjunct Instructor, Wayne College (04); Adjunct Instructor, Stark State College (05); Adjunct Instructor, Malone College (08); Assistant Professor, University of Northern Iowa (09-present). Service - Professional: Associate Editor, Journal of Geoscience Education (12-present); NAGT Teacher Education Organizing Committee Chair (13-present). Service - Institutional: Science Education representative, University Secondary Teacher Education Senate (13-present); Teacher Education subcommittee, College Merger Committee (10).

Vice President Mark Turski (Former Past Vice President, 2015)

Mark Turski is a Professor of Earth Systems Science at Plymouth State University in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Mark began his teaching career as a middle and high school Earth Science teacher before moving to the university level. In his 25 years of teaching at PSU he has taught a broad spectrum of courses in the earth, space and physical sciences, and secondary science methods. He has supervised student teachers, provided graduate courses for in-service teachers and professional development for school districts. He has been the director of both the Training Earth System Science Teachers and Preparing Earth System Science Teachers of Tomorrow grants, which were part of The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) and NSF's Geo-Teach project. He has presented at the national NSTA and GSA conferences for over 25 years and is a past president of the New England chapter of NAGT. He is a passionate traveler, diver and rugby fan.

Education: BS Plant and Soil Sciences, Soil Option, University of Maine Orono; Secondary Education Teaching Certificate ,University of Maine - Orono; M. Ed. Science Education (Environmental Science Concentration), University of Maine - Orono; Ph.D. Science Education (Astronomy Concentration), University of Texas - Austin.

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