Meet the 2018-19 Teacher Ambassadors

Vielca Anglin EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Vielca Anglin

Currently Teaching: Biology, environmental science, and STEM at City-As-School High School, District 2, New York City Public Schools. Ms. Anglin also serves at the Science Team Facilitator, Science Portfolio Coordinator, and Model Teacher.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “One of the most pivotal gifts you can impart to your students is to empower them to be agents of change in science and STEM. As such, guiding your students through the design thinking framework and bringing awareness to issues with sustainability and where their voices and choices can be exercised is a powerful educational legacy.”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: Ms. Anglin says, “Biomimicry has been an interest of mine for some time now and the EcoRise Biomimicry and Science Curriculum has been a source of innovation for me in my classroom. These lessons are also a source of inspiration for my students in a STEM class I teach, where we learn about issues with access to clean water and then are challenged to design and test a point-of-use filter constructed from limited materials.”

Additional Information: In 2017, Ms. Anglin participated in the Math for America Renewal Master Teacher Fellowship.

Jessica Campbell EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Jessica Campbell

Currently Teaching: Fourth grade English language arts, science, and social studies teacher at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington D.C. Public Schools. Mrs. Campbell is also co-leading an environmental club for fourth and fifth grade students starting in the fall of 2018.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Third grade students of Mrs. Campbell - and her co-teacher, Keely Wells - received $2,330 in Eco-Audit Grant funds to implement various environmental projects that will reduce waste at their elementary school and increase awareness around recycling efforts at the school. Through the environmental club, Mrs. Campbell, Ms. Wells, and their students plan to initiate cafeteria composting to divert 90% of their cafeteria waste through recycling and composting initiatives. Students will also launch various recycling educational campaigns and contests among the different grade levels to reduce paper and plastic waste by 90%. Students are also working with the cafeteria staff to replace plastic utensils and disposable lunch trays for the entire third grade class. The goal is to eventually replace all plastic utensils and disposable lunch trays with reusable items.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Let the students’ interest, enthusiasm, and engagement with the EcoRise lessons be the drive and motivation that encourages you to teach the EcoRise lessons. These lessons may be the key to engaging the whole student and allowing each student to showcase their unique talents through project-based learning with a real-world application. The students are the key to getting your school community onboard with improving its environmental impact on the world.”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: Ms. Campbell says, "This is a hard choice because the students loved each EcoRise lesson that they experienced, however, they were all particularly jazzed by the 3rd grade Water Planet, Where’s the Water, and Water Testing. The visual of the number of freshwater humans have access to was especially shocking to students and they LOVED testing different liquid substances and matching it on the pH scale. They were particularly interested in testing our school’s water, which fortunately fell exactly where it should on the pH scale. I highly recommend teaching this lesson to your students!"

Additional Information: Ms. Campbell is a member of the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education's Environmental Literacy Leadership Cadre.
Jamille Fields EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Jamille Fields

Currently Teaching: Honors and non-honors environmental systems for 12th grade at W.H. Adamson High School in Dallas ISD, Texas. Mr. Fields also serves on the Attendance Committee and Campus Improvement Board.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Mr. Fields’ students received a total of $1,998.55 to implement four projects that will beautify public spaces around the campus by securing areas, and planting native plants and trees. These projects will convert a total of 13,024 square feet of unused land into aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly areas, also saving the school an estimated $2,000 in one year.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Be passionate about the elements involving your students’ lives. Introduce project-based learning that allows your students to be productive, involved, and engaged. And have fun while doing it!”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: Public Spaces Eco-Audit

Hayley Galyean_EcoRise Teacher Ambassador 2

Haley Galyean

Currently Teaching: Sixth-grade math and pre-AP math at Oakcrest Intermediate School, Tomball ISD, in Cypress, Texas. Ms. Galyean also serves as the sixth-grade math team leader and the Tomball District lead curriculum writer for sixth- and seventh-grade pre-AP math.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: In 2016-2017, Ms. Galyean’s students received $474.25 for a sustainable garden. You can learn more about this project-based initiative by watching this short video. Then, in 2017-2018, Ms. Galyean’s students were awarded $500.51 to create an innovative space to allow students, classes, and school faculty to come relax or teach in a 1,400-square-foot public space that was converted to have seven tire seats and a bench to seat a total of 12 people, with additional seating available in the existing garden. Flower beds with sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums, and elephant ears were planted to further beautify the outdoor area.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Don’t be afraid to take a risk! You learn so much throughout the planning process from your fellow teachers and your students. That’s the beauty of PBL; there’s not one right process or product.”

Additional Information: In Ms. Galyean’s teaching career, she has been awarded the Tomball ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year award, the Oakcrest Teacher of the Year award, and the ConocoPhillips Teacher of the Month award due to her great impact in the district through Project Based Learning and technology integration in her classroom.

To see what Haley's students are up to, visit her teacher website here.

Connect with Haley on Twitter, @haleygalyean14.

Dianna Koon

Currently Teaching: Eighth-grade science at E.M. Pease Middle School in Northside ISD, San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Koon also serves as the Grade Level Leader.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Koon’s students received a total of $755.88 to create a more aesthetically pleasing outdoor space in the school’s courtyard by planting trees, creating habitats, and building benches for students and teachers to use throughout the day. These projects helped to convert 98 square feet of public space. Ms. Koon says, “It has been a wonderful start, and we are hoping to add to the outdoor space next year.”

Additional Information: Throughout her teaching career, Ms. Koon has served as a Science Department coordinator, science fair coordinator, and mentor coordinator, and she has been named Campus Teacher of the Year.

Stacie Mehaffey EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Stacie Mehaffey

Currently Teaching: First grade at Ehrhardt Elementary, Klein ISD, in Klein, Texas. Ms. Mehaffey also serves as the Gifted and Talented First Grade Liaison and the Destination Imagination team manager, and she is on the Behavior Management Team.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Mehaffey’s students received $445.59 to purchase recycling bins for each classroom and office in the school. Her students are responsible for collecting recycling bins and for educating and working with teachers and students on how to recycle. The goal of their project is to increase the amount of recycling on their campus, reducing their waste by 50,400 pounds per year. They also hope, through limits in paper usage, to cut in half the amount of money that the school spends on paper, going from $8,000 a year to $4,000! You can view the students' video application here.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Ask questions; everyone is so helpful! Start early; I would have been able to do more if I would have known about EcoRise sooner.”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: Introduction to Sustainability Lesson for Elementary Students. Ms. Mehaffey says, “I kept trying to explain why sustainability is important and was coming up short. The lesson helped me explain the concept of sustainability, and the students were able to have fun playing the game. Afterwards, the buy-in from the students was incredible! They wanted to take on so many projects.”

Connect with Stacie on Twitter, @mehastac.
EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Denise Ortiz Headshot

Denise Ortiz

Currently Teaching: AP environmental science and aquatic science at New Braunfels High School, in New Braunfels ISD, Texas. Ms. Ortiz also serves on the APES Testing Development Committee and as an APES Reading Table Leader.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Ortiz’s students were granted a total of $825.84 to implement two initiatives that will reduce energy consumption. Her students were involved in educating elementary students about how to reduce their carbon footprint around their campus, as well as installing timed power strip protectors to cut down on phantom energy use. These projects will save an estimated 11,114,272 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, or $329,461 in energy costs.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Ask for assistance with regard to any questions; EcoRise is quick to respond and very user-friendly.”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: “My favorite sustainable lesson is the Energy Eco-Audit. I was worried about my students’ understanding about kilowatt usages. It was really not as difficult as I imagined. I appreciated the website comparing their usages to other examples to make it more realistic.”

Additional Information: Ms. Ortiz was awarded the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award of Excellence for the 2017-2018 school year. It is given to teachers who exemplify integrity, possess focus and determination, and have made a positive impact in public education.

Denise is a second year Teacher Ambassador, view her 2017–2018 Spotlight page here.
Christine Riera EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Christine Riera

Currently Teaching: Bilingual kindergarten at Brooke Elementary School in Austin ISD, Texas

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Riera’s students received a total of $666.25 to build an aquaponics garden system, with the goal of growing 50% of the school’s lettuce throughout the entire year, even in the cold months! The lettuce aquaponics system will support the existing vegetable gardens, helping to reduce the need to outsource produce. The project will convert 100 square feet of land, produce an estimated 1,300 pounds of food, and save the school approximately $1,170 per year.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Don't think you need to reinvent the wheel. Use the plans and resources already given to you through the site! They are so complete, easily squeezed into an academic block, and awesome!”

Favorite EcoRise Lessons: Listen to the Water, I Like Water, and States of Water Painting. Of the lessons, Ms. Riera says, “I loved how they not only taught about water, the uses, and why it's important, but also included a super fun art activity that made everything so much more memorable.”

Connect with Christine on Twitter, @mrskinderGARDEN.
Kristin Schreiber EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Headshot

Kristin Schreiber

Teaching History: Ms. Schreiber started out teaching environmental science at Lamar Middle School in Austin, Texas. Most recently, she taught eighth-grade science at Hingham Middle School in Hingham Public Schools, Massachusetts. This coming year, Ms. Schreiber will be attending graduate school full-time in Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Marine Biology program. She has also been accepted into the Three Seas program, and will be studying the North Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts, the Caribbean Sea in Panama, and the North Pacific Ocean in Washington.

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Schreiber’s students received a total of $460 to implement two solutions for reducing the amount of carbon used in school transportation. These projects will reduce the school’s carbon footprint by an estimated 76 tons of carbon per year, while saving Hingham parents a total of $27,731 in gas costs. You can view the students’ video applications here and here.

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “I highly recommend having students complete a video application. They have a ton of fun planning, filming, and editing their project, and they are so tech-savvy that they turn out great!”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: “My favorite EcoRise lesson is Inspired by Nature, where students design a prototype that addresses a water-related issue like conservation or filtration by investigating how different organisms use a physical adaptation to filter or conserve water in nature.”
EcoRise Teacher Ambassador Mary Ann Settlemyre Headshot

Mary Ann Settlemyre

Currently Teaching: STEAM and outdoor education at Centreville Elementary School in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia. Ms. Settlemyre is in charge of environmental efforts at her school and serves as a teaching instructor for her county to assist other schools with “going green.”

Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Ms. Settlemyre’s students received $2,160 to reduce their school’s waste by 10% and to increase recycling by 10% over a 12-month period. They created strategies to increase recycling by purchasing double-stream recycling containers for the cafeteria and by appointing recycling monitors to ensure each classroom has a recycling bin and that there is no trash in it. Through these solutions, they will divert an estimated 6,000 pounds of waste per year!

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Think big, start small!”

Additional Information: Ms. Settlemyre was awarded the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators in 2017. This award is granted by the Environmental Protection Agency to outstanding teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for classroom learning.

Mary Ann is a second year Teacher Ambassador, view her 2017–2018 Spotlight page here.
EcoRise Teacher Ambassador David Ward

David Ward

Currently Teaching: 4th grade math and science at Joe Lee Johnson STEAM Academy in Round Rock ISD, Texas. Mr. Ward also leads the school's Eco-Trailblazers enrichment cluster.

Eco-Grant Recipient: Mr. Ward's students received their first Eco-Audit Grant in the spring of 2017 for their Reusable Water Bottle Project. In the spring of 2018, his Eco-Trailblazer cluster was awarded a total of $1,970 to launch a zero waste lunch box campaign which had a huge impact on the school-wide community. The project provided over 100 reusable lunch boxes to students in need and funded an advertisement drive that raised awareness, increasing the number of zero waste lunch boxes from six per day to an average of 125!

Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Be Brave! The best learning experiences come from teaching on the edge where we push ourselves to experience new things and conquer our fears. Just take a deep breath and take that first step! Reach out for support and you will find many helping hands to guide you.”

Favorite EcoRise Lesson: Mr. Ward says, “The Sustainable Intelligence lessons on waste were an essential resource for my Eco-Trailblazer cluster. We were able to dip into various lesson plans from different grade levels to develop our understanding. ‘Don’t Waste a Lunch’ was a great lesson to drive our zero waste lunch box project.  ‘Trash or Treasure’ helped our students educate others about the importance of recycling and how to go about it.”

Additional Information: Throughout his career, Mr. Ward has served as a Math & Science Coordinator and has been integral in the development of science curriculum within the districts he has served. 

Connect with David on Twitter, @davidw4rd.

Meet the 2016-18 Teacher Ambassadors

Kate Hoffner

2017-18 EcoRise Ambassador
Hill Elementary School in Austin, Texas
View Kate's Ambassador Spotlight Page

Andrea Tole

2017-18 EcoRise Ambassador
Covington Middle School in Austin, Texas
View Andrea's Ambassador Spotlight Page

Dina Tucker

2017-18 EcoRise Ambassador
St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas
View Dina's Ambassador Spotlight Page

Ed Yoo

2017-18 EcoRise Ambassador
Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, Massachusetts
View Ed's Ambassador Spotlight Page

John McClellan

2016-17 EcoRise Ambassador
Integrity Academy at Casa de Luz Center for Integral Studies in Austin, Texas
Hello beautiful humans! I teach just about everything, but my favorite classes are acroyoga, cooperative games, gardening, and nutrition. When I first started working with EcoRise, I immediately saw the value of bringing environmental awareness into the classrooms. Although I did not have the same eco-opportunities when I was growing up, issues of sustainability have always been close to my heart. That's why I'm passionately working to create conscious kids in everything that I do. I think it’s important to nurture kids' natural curiosity and love for nature. Just last year, my 12-year-old students and I launched a campaign to raise water awareness and were awarded $1000 in eco-audit grants for rainwater tanks on our campus. I'm excited to continue this important work as an EcoRise Teacher Ambassador.

Diana McMillan

2016-17 EcoRise Ambassador
Mathews Elementary in Austin, Texas
I grew up spending most my time outdoors and like to garden with children. I am part of the Green Team on my campus and I was just accepted into the Master Naturalists program. Last year, my campus accomplished the waste audit grant and we are currently working on the energy audit this school year. I am a proud member of CINCA, Monarch Heroes, and the Green Leadership Team for my district. I long for all children to reconnect with nature and spend more time outdoors. I am inspired by nature and have a strong desire to study photography, poetry and painting.

Tara McNerney

2016-17 EcoRise Ambassador
Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
I am leading Mundo Verde - the capital's first "green" school - in the formation of our sustainability curriculum and programs. I received my Master's in Strategic Leadership Toward Sustainability at an international university in Sweden, and my B.A. in Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College.

Dr. Shannon W. McPherson

2016-17 EcoRise Ambassador
Cedar Park High School in Leander, Texas
I love to garden in a sustainable manner and plan to have a fully functional organic farm and aquaponics system in the next five years. I’ve been in education or taught secondary science since 1998 and love working with teenagers. I hold a BS in Human Biology and a Doctor of Chiropractic. My biggest accomplishment has simply been to make my eco-audit elective class a reality. I have two full classes of students involved in eco-audits and each day is definitely a challenge. This fall we were awarded an EcoRise microgrant to help us fund a garden shed with walls made of water bottles and unrecyclable trash. We will continue working on our green spaces, waste, and energy next semester. My inspiration is the laughter that tends to echo from my classroom. I see these kids working towards solutions and it makes me very happy!

Tabitha Yeager

2016-17 EcoRise Ambassador
Dighton-Rehoboth High School in Dighton, Massachusetts
Throughout my life I have embodied a deeply rooted passion for the environment and sustainability that takes shape both in my  21st century classroom and my passive solar home tucked away in the woods. Last year my students spearheaded an EcoRise mini-grant project that created an outdoor classroom, butterfly garden, raised produce beds, and a beautiful herb spiral. This year, my students have selected specific sustainability areas that peak their interest and they will be proposing and implementing a variety of projects to improve the school's green factor while increasing community engagement.