March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

The Search Is Over, Full Speed Ahead!

Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2011

by Tim Williamson

When Christine Bertrand, our wonderful executive director, announced her retirement last fall, I appointed a search/transition committee to fulfill the difficult task of replacing her. The committee members were Rick Pomeroy (chair), Dean Gilbert, Meg Burke, and I. We spent numerous hours discussing the restructuring of our CSTA office in Sacramento and finding a new executive director. Included in these discussions were the financial stability of the association (past, present, and future), the number of staff members needed to meet the present and future needs of the association, and of course, the qualifications and responsibilities of a new executive director. Our search began in the most obvious of places, the CSTA office.  We have two remaining staff members in our office who are dedicated and responsible, with an excellent work ethic and a vast knowledge of CSTA policy and structure.  Why then would we consider hiring an executive director externally with little or no knowledge of the inner workings of CSTA?  After much discussion and number crunching by the search/transition committee the decision was obvious. The committee made the following recommendations to the board of directors…

  • Restructure the office staff by reducing the number of employees in the CSTA office from three to two and promote Jessica Sawko, the program manager, to the position of executive director of the California Science Teachers Association, effective April 1, 2011.
  • Promote Connie Morrill, the office manager,  to the position of manager of programs and member services effective April 1, 2011.
  • Consider hiring outside consultants for conference marketing and legislative matters when these responsibilities cannot be met by board members, conference committee members, and/or staff.

The board unanimously approved all of these motions!  Consequently we were able to maintain our two excellent employees and offer them much deserved promotions.

Since these two staff members do much of their work behind the scenes I thought I would share with you some of their background information.  This will give all of you a chance to get to know them better.

Jessica Sawko has worked as the program manager of the California Science Teachers Association since August 2006. As a part of her role she worked with the conference committees to plan the 2006 – 2011 California Science Education Conferences. Prior to CSTA she worked in the meetings department of the Pharmacy Foundation of California. She moved to the Sacramento area in 2001 after serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama. She holds a master of sciences in health science (M.S.H.S.) degree and a B.A. in economics. She grew up in San Diego, CA and Tampa, FL. In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband Dave and their son Connor, playing co-ed, recreational softball, and reading.

Connie Morrill has been with CSTA for nearly four years serving as our membership coordinator, conference registrar, and office manager.  Connie is the “face” of CSTA at conferences and the go-to person for all things having to do with the administration of CSTA.  Connie has a background in finance and banking and previously served as office manager for a wedding entertainment company where she handled everything from accounting to coordinating the production of weddings and other special events.

Although she grew up in California, she and her family spent 20 years in Green Bay, WI, so needless to say, she is an avid Packers fan.  She returned to California with her family in 1998.  She is married and has two daughters and four grandchildren.  She loves spending time with her family, travel, theater, books, baking, and attending and grandchildren’s sporting events.

We are so fortunate to have these two qualified and dedicated individuals and we welcome them to their new positions with open arms and a gracious “thank you” for all of the work they have accomplished to date and will continue to accomplish as they assume their new positions.  I know we are in good hands!

Written by Tim Williamson

Tim Williamson is a science methods instructor at CSU Long Beach and is a member and past-president of CSTA.

One Response

  1. Congratulations! With CSTA in such capable hands, it will go far. Way to go!

    On another matter, I moved to Colorado in October 2005. I remained a member of CSTA because I so much appreciated the publications. I have tried to adapt to the “green” move of CSTA, but to be honest, I miss holding the publications in hand. I relished the special publications, that I suppose will no longer be coming. Therefore, I have decided NOT to renew my membership when it comes due. I have enjoyed my association with CSTA and am sorry to leave this professional association. Sincerely, Betsy Leonard

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