Our Expert Advisory Board


We at McGraw-Hill Education are passionate about science education, and we are excited about the Next Generation Science Standards. Our Expert Advisory Board members are advising us on the intent of the NGSS, thus helping us to ensure that new McGraw-Hill programs match both the goals of the NGSS and the needs of science classroom teachers. Participation in the Expert Advisory Board does not require or indicate involvement in curriculum development.


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Carol K. Baker

Dr. Carol K. Baker was a member of the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), helping to develop the middle and high school physical science standards. She has worked closely with reviewers from the Lead State Review Team in Illinois and the Illinois Adoption Team. She is also a member of the leadership team for Building Capacity for State Science Education in Illinois, and is working closely with state officials on plans for Illinois NGSS adoption and implementation.

Dr. Baker is Director of Curriculum for Science and Music for Community High School District 218 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. In this district-level role, she develops curriculum and assessments for all science and music courses and cultivates excellent instruction among teachers. Before moving to this position seven years ago, she taught all levels of high school physics for 18 years. During her time as a teacher, she participated in many science professional development opportunities, including Department of Energy Teacher Research Associates (TRAC), NASA Educational Workshops for Mathematics and Science Teachers (NEWMAST), and QuarkNet.

Dr. Baker's passion for curriculum and instruction extends beyond her work at the district level; she serves many education-related organizations in a number of capacities. She is the Past-President of the Illinois Science Teachers Association (a role she will hold until the spring of 2015), was a member of the international Board of Directors for QuarkNet, and is an item writer for ACT and the Illinois Science Test. Dr. Baker also served as a board member for Consolidated High School District 230 from 2009-2013.

Dr. Baker received her BS in Physics and grades 6-12 science teaching certification from Loyola University of Chicago in 1988. She completed her master's in Educational Administration from Governors State University and earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University in Chicago.


Melissa Miller

Melissa Miller

The 2013-14 school year is Melissa Miller's 29th year in the classroom. She has spent the majority of this time teaching middle-level science. Ms. Miller received the 2001 Presidential Award and the 2003 Milken National Educator Award. She is a Past President of the Arkansas Science Teachers Association, of which she is a lifetime member. Ms. Miller was the District VII Director for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) from 2008-2011, serving the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Science and has also served as a support site coordinator for teachers undergoing the certification process. Ms. Miller is the co-director of a summer science enrichment camp for middle-level students in her school district. She served as a writer for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), primarily working with the engineering team.


Zoe Evans

Zoe Evans

Zoe Evans is an Assistant Principal at Central Middle School in Carrollton, Georgia. Before taking this role in 2012, she served as a middle grades science teacher for 19 years in both Florida and Georgia. Ms. Evans is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Science and a Georgia Master Teacher. She is the 2005 Georgia recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and is a member of the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

She is an active member of the Georgia Science Teachers Association (GSTA) and is currently the organization's President.

A native Georgian, Ms. Evans earned a bachelor's degree in Middle Grades Education, a master's degree in Middle Grades Science, and specialist's degree in Middle Grade Science from the University of West Georgia. Additionally, she has received certification in Educational Leadership from the University of West Georgia.


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Vanessa Westbrook

Vanessa Westbrook has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of educational settings. Prior to 1996, Ms. Westbrook taught in north Texas, where her main focus was elementary education. She was also involved in professional development, coordinating elementary science fairs, and developing science curriculum.

From 1996-2011, Ms. Westbrook served as the lead science content specialist in a mathematics and science center at The University of Texas in Austin. She has published numerous articles and other instructional resources. She was the 2008-2011 National Science Teachers Association Division Director for Multicultural/Equity in Science Education, the 2010-2011 President of the Texas Science Education Leadership Association, the 2004-2005 President of the Science Teachers Association of Texas, and the 1998-2000 President of the Texas Council of Elementary Science. In 2013, Ms. Westbrook served as the National Chair for the NSTA National Conference for Science Education in San Antonio, Texas.

Currently, Ms. Westbrook provides consulting services to promote and support science education. She serves as the Texas State Coordinator for the NSTA Science Matters initiative and Treasurer for Texas Council of Elementary Science. She is the co-founder of the Texas Informal Science Education Association and is the organization's Senior Advisor, and she serves on numerous advisory boards that focus on elementary science education, teacher certification in science, and increasing minority representation in science careers and science teaching. She is also a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Paula Messina

Paula Messina

Paula Messina is a professor at San Jose State University in the Geology Department and Science Education Program. Prior to her career at San Jose State University, Dr. Messina was a high school earth science teacher in New York City for twenty years. Since 2011, she has been working with Achieve, Inc. as a member of the Next Generation Science Standards Earth and Space Science Writing Team, and more recently on the NGSS Curriculum Framework.

Dr. Messina's geoscience-related research has been featured in National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines, and her inquiry-based science education strategies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and featured at national science teacher conferences. She serves on the College Board's Science Academic Advisory Committee and was part of the curriculum development team for the AP Environmental Science Redesign Project from 2006 to 2008. Dr. Messina also participates in several educational outreach endeavors, as a consultant to various geoscience-related educational television networks and textbook companies, and as a founding member of the California Earth Science Teachers Association (CalESTA), where she sits on the Board of Directors.

During her K-12 teaching career, Dr. Messina was the recipient of several regional and national awards, including the National Association of Geoscience Teachers' Outstanding Earth Science Teacher for New York State, and a Tandy Technology Scholarship.


Emily Miller

Emily C. Miller

Emily C. Miller is a writer for the Diversity and Equity team of the Next Generation Science Standards. She is a second and third grade English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual resource teacher at a Title 1 school in Madison, Wisconsin, where she has taught for 15 years.

Ms. Miller has worked with World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) to amplify can-do descriptors for English language proficiency benchmarks. In addition, she collaborated with the University of Wisconsin to design place-based culturally-relevant outcomes with a focus on sustainability and biodiversity in and around the Menominee Forest for schools on the Menominee Reservation.

Ms. Miller has a MS in Bilingual Studies from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a BS from the same department with a Spanish minor, and ESL and Bilingual teaching licenses.


Jaymee Herrington

Jaymee Herrington

Jaymee Herrington is a K-5 educator, science content specialist, and science consultant with over 15 years of experience in instruction, assessment, and instructional technology. Mr. Herrington's classroom experience reaches from Georgia to Texas, and he has worked with teachers across the country as a Regional Level II trainer for Dinah Zike and Foldables®. Between 2002 and 2010, Mr. Herrington served on the Georgia Science Teachers Association (GSTA) Board, where he was elected president in 2009.

He has received many honors for his work in Georgia, including the Project WET Teacher of the Year, 2002 GSTA Teacher of Promise, and 2004 GSTA Regional Teacher of the Year. In addition, Mr. Herrington has worked with the Georgia Department of Education as a teacher consultant for the K-2 Science Frameworks, has served as a member of the Advisory Board for Fisher Science Education, and is a past consulting reviewer for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. He is a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards and continues to work as a consultant with teachers across the United States.

Mr. Herrington earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He has a master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and was completing a second graduate program at the University of Houston Clear Lake for a master's degree in Educational Leadership. In April 2014 he became the Coordinator for Professional Learning for the Katy ISD, just outside of Houston, where he now resides.


Craig Gabler

Craig T. Gabler

Craig T. Gabler has been at Educational Service District (ESD) 113 in Olympia, Washington, since 2000. At the ESD, Dr. Gabler serves as Regional Science Coordinator and LASER Alliance Co-Director, where his primary role is to coordinate and deliver science professional development to the 44 school districts in the region. Dr. Gabler began his career in Centralia, Washington, in 1975 as a high school chemistry and physics teacher.

Outside of his district work, Dr. Gabler has served science education in numerous ways. He has worked on both Washington State and the NGSS standards writing teams, and spent several summers as Mentor Teacher in the U.S. Department of Energy's Pre-Service Teacher program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has served a two-year term as president of the Washington Science Teachers Association, as the National Science Teachers Association's District XVII Director, and he is currently the President-Elect for the National Science Education Leadership Association. He was recognized with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 1993.

Dr. Gabler received a BS in Physical Science from Washington State University, an MS in Science Education from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Science & Mathematics Education from Curtin University in Perth, Australia.


Julie Olson

Julie Olson

Julie Olson has been teaching high school science for 24 years. She has spent the past 20 years at Mitchell Senior High in Mitchell, South Dakota, and has recently taken a position within the district developing a customized, hybrid science program for the district's alternative school. Ms. Olson is also an adjunct professor for the Biology and Teacher Education programs for Dakota Wesleyan University. During the summers, she teaches science mini-courses for elementary- and middle-school-aged children.

Ms. Olson has a BS and MA in Biology from the University of South Dakota and is currently pursuing her doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

Ms. Olson is a Society for Science and the Public (SSP) Fellow, South Dakota Outstanding Biology Teacher Award winner, Rotary Teacher, and 2007 Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching. She is the current co-editor of the South Dakota Science Teachers' Association newsletter and president-elect. Ms. Olson is on the Science Olympiad Board of Directors and has participated on the NAEP cut score team, The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) review, AdvancedEd Review Team, and the South Dakota Chemistry PRAXIS test review. She is also a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards.


Kenneth Huff

Kenneth Huff

Kenneth L. Huff, a National Board Certified Teacher in early adolescence science, is currently a middle school teacher in the Williamsville Central School District in Williamsville, New York. Mr. Huff serves his district as a member of its Staff Development Council, and he founded and continues to lead a Young Astronaut Council for grades 5-8 students. Mr. Huff also taught at Cleveland Hill Schools in Cheektowaga, New York. He served as team leader in both districts, totaling sixteen years of service.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Huff enjoys involvement in various synergistic activities, including serving as the current president of The Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching, an appointee to The National Academies Teacher Advisory Council, and Director at Large for Professional Development for the Science Teachers Association of New York State. Mr. Huff is also a contributing member of the Space Systems Technical Committee for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was a member of the Committee on Middle Level Science Teaching for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and served as chair of the NSTA Aerospace Programs Advisory Board, during which time he initiated and led the effort to develop a national position statement on aerospace education. Mr. Huff is also a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards.

A native of New York, Mr. Huff earned his MS and BS in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo.


Julie Pepperman

Julie Pepperman

Julie Pepperman obtained a bachelor's degree in Education, with a concentration in science, and a master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of New Orleans. She began her career teaching science for Louisiana's Jefferson Parish Public School System and, after a move to Mobile, Alabama, taught science and world history at St. Ignatius Catholic School. While in Mobile, Ms. Pepperman served as a National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Key Leader for the district, the Junior High Coordinator, and a member of her school's fiscal leadership committee.

She has since settled in Tennessee where she is employed by Knox County Schools. In addition to her science teaching duties, Ms. Pepperman is a Lead and Mentor Teacher, a member of the state's science leadership team, a member of her school's leadership team, and a Professional Development Specialist. Ms. Pepperman has earned several awards during her career—chief among them the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Ms. Pepperman is also a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards.


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Netosh Jones

Netosh Jones is an elementary grade school teacher in the District of Columbia, where she motivates students and teachers in STEM. Ms. Jones holds a master's degree in Reading. In 2010, she completed a STEM Certification program through Teachers' College Columbia University, as part of a fellowship with NASA Endeavor Fellows. She participated with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) panel on STEM in Shanghai, China, at an international conference on inquiry-based learning for classroom teaching.

Ms. Jones is a member of NSTA, a Sally Ride Science Fellow (2010), Mickelson ExxonMobile Teacher Fellow (2011), Project Learning Tree (PLT) Outstanding Educator Honoree (2013), and was a 2010 State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math. She has been a reviewer for NASA CANS K-12 and is a member of NASA Explorer Schools. Ms. Jones recently helped USA Science and Engineering Festival founders, Dr. Lawrence Bock and Dr. Ray Johnson, kick-off the 2014 STEM festival at her school with special guest and proponent for STEM, Congressman Randy Hultgren and Congressman Joseph Kennedy.

Ms. Jones and her third grade students were celebrated for their efforts in promoting National Lab Day (2010), by TIME Magazine (July, 2010), the NASA Endeavor Fellows Program (on their website U.S. Satellite, Inc.), and various other publications. The media coverage highlighted Ms. Jones's work with students in the urban education environment and how using engineering education at the elementary level helped these students to gain an interest in STEM, as well as to address the needs of underserved populations in her district. One of Ms. Jones' most important accomplishments was serving on the Next Generation Science Standards writing team to help advance STEM education standards for K-12.


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Kevin Fisher

Kevin Fisher has served as the president of the Science Teachers Association of Texas and of the Texas Science Education Leadership Association. He was a writing team member for the state science standards for Texas. In 1995, Mr. Fisher helped develop the Biology Essential Knowledge and Skills for Texas. In 2010, he was a member of the writing team that revised the state science standards for Biology in Texas.

In that same year, Mr. Fisher won the award for Outstanding Science Supervisor for the State of Texas. He has been on numerous committees to review state science assessments for Texas and committees to set passing standards for state science assessments in Texas. Mr. Fisher was a member of the Life Science Writing Team for the Next Generation Science Standards.


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Kathy Prophet

Kathy Prophet has been a part of the teaching profession for thirty years in grades 5-12. She has served as middle level division director on the board of the National Science Teachers Association and as executive secretary of the Arkansas Science Teachers Association. Since 2007, she has served as a member of the Arkansas Discovery Network Teacher Advisory Board. Ms. Prophet reviews articles for the National Science Teacher Association's Science and Children and other education trade book manuscripts.

She has served on numerous state benchmark test committees, including stat review, item review, and range setting. In 1998, Kathy was named Arkansas Middle Level Science Teacher of the Year. She received the Presidential Award in Secondary Science in 2000, and in 2003 she earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science (renewed 2012). She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with BS and MS degrees.