Happy Retirement Dear Friend!
Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing the retirement of our executive director, Christine Bertrand, effective March 31, 2011. As president of CSTA I don’t know what we are going to do without her! She has been with us for just over 15 years! Needless to say, she will be missed. Most of you know her and have seen her at our state conferences, but maybe you don’t know just how much she has done for our organization. She has had a myriad of responsibilities, too many to mention, that have impacted CSTA in a memorable and meaningful way. What follows barely scratches the surface of all that Christine has done over the years, but bear with me as I make mention of some of them.
As executive director she served as the chief executive officer of the California Science Teachers Association, she was responsible to the executive committee and board of directors for the effective conduct of the affairs of the association. She recommended and participated in board formulation of association mission, goals, and objectives and related policies. Within that framework she, planned, organized, coordinated, and directed the programs, activities, and staff of the CSTA, including but not limited to…
- Formulating and recommending basic policies and programs, including financial and budgeting programs, for approval by the board of directors; participating in development of CSTA’s mission, goals, and objectives.
- Creating an appropriate image for CSTA by providing leadership to members and staff, developing and communicating the mission and philosophy of the association, and conveying a clear sense of its goals and objectives; representing the association and leadership at meetings and conferences.
- Developing and maintaining an appropriate budgetary procedure in concert with the treasurer and finance committee; planning, recommending for approval, and operating within an annual budget; overseeing the authorized and proper expenditure of funds; pursuing financial benefits to CSTA by soliciting grants to fund programs; executing bylaws provisions with respect to audits and financial reporting.
- Researching and tracking legislation and state policies that affect science education in the state; advocating for CSTA’s positions with state policymakers and legislators.
- Promoting interest and active participation in activities among the membership, and encouraging proper communication of activities of the board and committees.
- Organizing and providing for the election of the board of directors.
- Overseeing the California Classroom Science (CCS), the California Journal of Science Education, and other CSTA publications, and supervising future member service programs as approved by the board of directors; writing for, soliciting content for, and editing CCS, the Journal and other publications; preparing electronic formats for publications.
- Overseeing the California Science Education Conference as well as participating in the planning and execution of the conference.
- Providing liaison and staff support to the executive committee and other committees and chairs, to help them properly fulfill their functions; seeing that committee decisions and recommendations are submitted to the board of directors for approval.
- Developing board and executive committee meeting agendas for approval by the president; planning meetings of the executive committee and board of directors, ensuring continuity of actions of the board by analyzing minutes of each meeting to determine suggested courses of action for executive committee, board, association, and staff.
- Ensuring the legal integrity of CSTA, compliance with non-profit corporation’s laws, and conformance with generally accepted principles of association management.
- Keeping the board of directors and executive committee fully informed on the conditions and operations of the association and on all important factors influencing them.
- Serving as the CSTA liaison to NSTA and other state and national groups.
As I listed these tasks I was once again overwhelmed by the enormity of them. Is it really possible for one person to accomplish all of them? Christine showed us that it was possible and she excelled in all of them! In addition to all of her job responsibilities as executive director, Christine led the way and played an integral role in all of CSTA’s successes in the past decade including:
- In 2002, the revision of the Integrated Science test to a more useful format for districts, so that the State Board of Education would not eliminate it from the testing scheme.
- In 2004, playing an integral role in getting the state to change the science criteria that would be used to evaluate textbooks and other instructional materials from no more than 25% to at least 25% hands-on.
- In 2005 and 2006, closely following the science textbook adoption to try to ensure the integrity of the process. Our ongoing observations of Curriculum Commission meetings were invaluable in overturning or preventing several egregious irregularities in the process.
Thank you Christine for bringing CSTA to where it is today and for your unwavering efforts to bring science education to the forefront.
The CSTA board of directors was very fortunate in hiring Jessica Sawko as our new executive director. Jessica has been our conference manager and has worked closely with Christine for the last four years. Your board has total confidence in her ability to fill this vacancy and excel in its duties. Connie Morrill, our present administrative coordinator, has been promoted to manager of programs and member services. She will continue to work with Jessica in keeping CSTA running smoothly. We welcome both of them to their new positions.
In closing I took the liberty of writing a retirement good-bye to Christine from all of her “CSTA Family”:
Please accept our best wishes on your retirement from the position of executive director of the California Science Teachers Association. It is with utmost dedication and poise that you have performed over the past 15 years. You have tackled problems, big and small, with tenacity and a determination second to none. You have been the face of CSTA over the years and represented us with style and grace. You are well respected by your colleagues, legislators, publishers, and state and national science educators.
It has been wonderful working with you and getting to learn from your valuable expertise, work ethic, and commitment. We have shared all the ups and downs of the science education system together, but with you as our director we felt we could face any problems with strength and confidence. We have learned from you that “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.” You fight for it, strive for it, and insist upon it – always!
Christine, you have left a remarkable legacy behind; one which will remain with us for years to come. You are leaving CSTA a better place than when you found it, and that in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to your professionalism. We will miss you, our colleague, a consummate professional, a confidant, a friend, a wise counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a visionary, a leader, and indeed a lady of note.
We are sure you are not going to sit idle. We hope you enjoy spending a good deal of your free time with your husband Bob and playing with your two Weimaraners. Enjoy your time in the Bahamas and best of luck to you and your husband as you work to complete the beach home you are building there. Remember us fondly and may the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness, and even more dreams achieved.
This is our wish for you as we say “farewell” but not goodbye.
Your “Family” at CSTA
Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017
The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.
Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.
If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
by Jessica Sawko
January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.
California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing
The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.
Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017
by Jessica Sawko
The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…