MEET OUR COMMUNITY LEADS
PLTW LAUNCH LEADS
Westfield Brookfield Elementary School, West Brookfield, MA
Nick Frank is a computer teacher and tech specialist at West Brookfield Elementary School. He teaches computer classes and fixes tech issues in the afternoons. In the mornings, Nick teaches PLTW to students in grades K-6 and he sees every student in the school for PLTW. He loves being a PLTW teacher because it teaches students how to become engineers using hands-on problem based projects. Nick loves that when he is teaching PLTW the students always come into the room with a smile. The students truly love PLTW and that is why he loves it too.
PLTW modules: Structure and Function: Exploring Design, Light and Sound, The Changing Earth, Stability and Motion: Science of Flight, Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions, Infection: Detection
Woodland Elementary School, Milford, MA
Wendy Marino is a Lead Launch Teacher (LLT) at Woodland Elementary School in Milford, MA. Prior to becoming a LLT, Wendy was an Enrichment Teacher and 4th grade teacher for more than a decade. She obtained her M.Ed. in Elementary Education, specializing in STEM from Framingham State University and loves the direction her career has taken. As a PLTW teacher, Wendy is able to provide students with real-life, hands-on experiences they cannot access in their regular classrooms. Her students are excited to come and even prefer her class to gym! Wendy is excited to be rolling out three new modules for a total of six that she will be teaching this year and she looks forward to her students becoming more engaged in STEM, as well as developing very important soft skills along the way.
PLTW modules: Stability and Motion: Science of Flight, Programming Patterns, Energy: Conversions, Input/Output: Computer Systems, Robotics & Automation, Infection: Detection
PLTW GATEWAY LEADS
Randolph Community Middle School, Randolph, MA
Spotlight teacher, ballroom competitor, Rose Scholar, pageant queen and of course PLTW certified instructor are just a few ways to describe Chakara Cardillo. Chakara has her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Med and minor in Chemistry. As a fierce believer in providing opportunities for minorities, Chakara creates countless possibilities for students to become successful because she truly believes in the potential of young people. Chakara continues to engage her students about problem solving strategies for today’s evolving society with the use of PLTW and Mass STEM Hub. She believes this will assist students to migrate towards STEM in education. She sees herself as an educator who is still learning. Being a graduate of the Leadership Institute at college and Leadership Institute in Randolph drive her to be the best teacher and leader. She handles her journey with impeccable grace and great timing, always moving forward and never forgetting to reach out to those who need a hand.
PLTW courses: Science & Technology and Design & Modeling
Sandwich STEM Academy, Sandwich, MA
Ginger Lavelle teaches 7th Grade PLTW Design and Modeling to all 7th grade students at Sandwhich STEM Academy, a public school in Sandwich. This is Ginger’s 5th year teaching engineering. Prior to working as an engineering teacher, Ginger taught 8th grade and high school math. Ten years ago, Ginger made a career change from Computer Engineering to teaching. She loves instilling a love of engineering in students and creating an authentic learning experience for her students. PLTW provides a rigorous curriculum that is engaging for all her students.
PLTW courses: Design & Modeling
Kuss Middle School, Fall River, MA
Keith Michon teaches 6th grade math and Computer Science for Innovators and Makers. Keith is in his 10th year of teaching at Kuss Middle School in Fall River. He started teaching PLTW courses in 2015 with Introduction to Computer Science. Keith loves that as a PLTW teacher, he is able to give students the opportunity to solve problems creatively and see all the great ideas they come up with.
PLTW courses: Computer Science for Innovators and Makers
Stoneham Central Middle School, Stoneham, MA
Ashley Puopolo is a STEM Specialist for Stoneham Central Middle School. She will be entering her 5th year as a Massachusetts PLTW teacher. Being a PLTW teacher has allowed for many collaborative opportunities with industry leaders, top higher education institutions and a cohort of colleagues who love bringing STEM education and real-world opportunities to their students. One such experience as a PLTW educator was participating in the Boston Children’s Hospital Student Showcase of a Therapeutic Toy Design Challenge for a patient with Cerebral Palsy. Her educational strengths are best shown through her technology integration and modification of design challenges. In particular, Ashley is developing new methods of digitizing PLTW curriculum, including design challenges, engineering notebooks, Slide Guides and various Google tools to create fun and engaging projects and activities.
PLTW courses: Automation & Robotics, Flight & Space, Design & Modeling, Medical Detectives, Science of Technology
PLTW BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE LEAD
Plymouth South High School, Plymouth, MA
Jessica Meade teaches at Plymouth South High School and is in her 11th year of teaching. Prior to being a science teacher, Jessica worked as a pediatric chiropractor for 12 years. A combination of an injury, a family of educators, and great luck led Jessica to the high school classroom, which has been an incredible, joyous learning experience for her. PLTW’s Biomedical Program has given Jessica a way to channel her medical training blended with the best science lesson designs. PLTW’s curriculum settles the teacher in a role that feels very natural to Jessica, as a guide for her students as they explore the science for themselves. The 2018-19 school year is Jessica’s 4th year teaching PLTW’s Biomedical Science courses, and she is teaching the 4th course in the progression, Biomedical Innovations. Jessica has training in all 4 courses and has also taught Anatomy, Forensic Science and Biology. The new Community Lead Program is giving Jessica a way to help other teachers develop the course into their own and find their place in the classroom with the curriculum. Jessica knows the new course and understands the struggles of new Biomed teachers and she is ready to help them find their happy place.
PLTW courses: Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, Biomedical Innovations
PLTW ENGINEERING LEAD
Danvers High School, Danvers, MA
Paul Vecchione is a PLTW teacher at Danvers High School on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Paul currently teaches Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) and Principles of Engineering (POE) and is also interested in the Biomedical and Computer Science courses. Paul’s favorite thing about PLTW is the autonomy it offers the students in creating unique solutions to the problems they are given.
PLTW courses: Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering