Mary Starr, Executive Director, MMSLN
Since 1979, this prestigious award recognizes and honors an NSELA member, who through professional work, has demonstrated outstanding leadership in science education at the school, county, regional and/or national levels. This year the $1000 award and plaque will be presented to our 2024 awardee, Dr. Mary Starr, during the NSELA Leadership Summit in Denver, CO.
Dr. Starr’s contributions to science education are thoughtful and community-based. For over a decade, she has been Executive Director of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network (MMSLN). Throughout her career, Dr. Starr has worked to improve science education through her contributions at the state and national level to enhance and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion work throughout education organizations in Michigan, focusing on ensuring equity in science and mathematics education.
Dr. Starr’s expertise lies in developing meaningful professional development experiences via coaching science teachers in their classrooms, in small groups during professional development experiences, and in traditional professional development experiences. Not only has she developed curriculum materials for professional development but also for elementary, middle and high school STEM students. Further, she facilitates environments in which stakeholders may identify their needs and receive guidance in changing current practices to meet those goals. By identifying critical needs in schools, communities, and higher education, she is able to match their needs with practical solutions through the implementation of cross-community and cross-generational working groups.
Mary wrote in regard to her work: “It is my privilege to be a Michigan-based science educator with MMSLN at a critical time of new frameworks for science teaching and learning, a renewed emphasis on equity in science teaching and learning, standards evaluation and adoption, and curriculum development and implementation. I have been thrilled to lead statewide professional learning for leaders and teachers through our NGSS introductory materials,, science and literacy integration, K-12, and the exceptional professional learning experience of NGSX. Building on those successes, I was able to lead the field test and development efforts for learning materials for students, most recently, Learning in Places and OpenSciEd. These initiatives have allowed our state’s leaders and teachers to be early adopters of these high-quality options. I’m also proud to have developed relationships with other non-profit organizations (e.g., the Dana Center, BSCS, Carnegie Corporation, the National Academies, other state’s education agencies and multiple universities) and for-profit companies (e.g., ECA Science Kit Services) to build an accessible network of high-quality resources, which support growing leadership in science teaching and learning as well as broadening access to materials at all levels.”
In addition to serving as the Executive Director of MMSLN for the past 11 years, Dr. Starr led Project-Based Inquiry Science, a project developed collaboratively with authors and researchers from Georgia Tech and Northwestern University along with It’s About Time publishers. She is also President of Starr and Associates an Educational Consulting business that provides high-quality innovation and implementation support to middle school science teachers throughout the United States. She has presented extensively at NSTA and for the Mathematics and Science Centers Network since 2014. It is evident that Dr. Starr is an exemplary advocate for STEM teaching and learning in Michigan and nationally.
NSELA is proud to present the 2024 OLISE Award to Dr. Mary Starr. She is a tireless advocate in and for science teachers and science leaders alike. We are grateful to acknowledge her extensive service to science education researchers, science teachers, and of course, science learners.