Learn more about the educators preparing and delivering your Customized Professional Learning Services programs.

Sandra Ryack-Bell

Sandra Ryack-Bell, the Wade Institute’s Executive Director, has 30 years’ experience in science education developing K-12, outreach and public awareness programs for organizations and schools at the local, regional and national level. Sandi has traveled around the country delivering professional development workshops for teachers and assisting school systems with developing science as well as land use and community character curriculum that meet their state frameworks. She was co-coordinator of the Association for Science Technology Center’s Energy Education Project, working with them to develop a set of best practices for STEM professional learning programs for K-12 teachers.  Sandi served on the MA State Advisory Committee for the Next Generation Science Standards and assisted with the development of the MA 2016 revised STE Standards.  She participated in the NAEP Science Achievement Level Setting Meeting for current ACT national testing. served as chair of the MA Department of Education’s Math and Science Advisory Committee for 3 years, chaired the Massachusetts Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs ‘Advisory Committee (SAGEE) for Environmental Education and has served on the planning committee for the annual Massachusetts STEM Summit. She is member of the Education Trainer’s Bureau for the Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education, and is a facilitator for Project Learning Tree and Project WILD. Sandi holds a degree in Botany/Marine Ecology and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Rhode Island. She has written numerous curricula and publications and developed curriculum kits for state and national science and environmental organizations. She is an adjunct faculty member at Framingham State University, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Cambridge College.

Kathryn L. Atkins

Kathryn L. Atkins is the Education Director for the Wade Institute for Science Education. She brings 20 years of conservation and science education – both formal and informal – experience to her work with us. Prior to joining Wade, Kathryn called the zoo community her professional home – most recently with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. While with the Bronx Zoo Kathryn managed their Advanced Inquiry master’s degree program, designed and delivered graduate courses, professional learning programs, and conservation programs for all ages at the primary and secondary school level, and collaborated with schools and teachers on customized school partnership programming. Kathryn taught middle school science in the NYC public school system, with problem-based learning and inquiry as the drivers for her teaching. She earned an MS in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin/Madison and an MSEd in Secondary Science from Lehman College. International field research in support of her first master’s degree brought her to Costa Rica and Uganda, where she spent several months conducting primatology studies. Exploring the outdoors and creative pursuits are an important part of Kathryn’s life – and she especially appreciates science education’s ability to help people find new ways to be creative.

Margaret Brumsted

Margaret Brumsted has over 3 decades of experience teaching science in a public high school, where her primary teaching load included Oceanography, Marine Biology and AP Environmental Science. She has been an Education Specialist at the Wade Institute for the past seven years, both as an instructor of K-12 teachers at the Cape Cod Region Summer Professional Development Institute and at Customized Professional Learning Services. Margaret’s science background includes an undergraduate degree in Biology and a master’s degree in marine environmental science.  Professional development played a key role in Margaret’s teaching career and provided her with ample opportunities. She has sailed on tall ships as an educator, worked alongside scientists on ships in Hawaii and Antarctica, and conducted field research in Costa Rica, Belize, The Bahamas and Mexico. She has a passion for science education, and is excited to pass on what she has learned to today’s educators. Margaret lives in Rhode Island and enjoys many outdoor activities, especially backcountry skiing, sailing in Narragansett Bay and bike touring.

Diana Cost

Diana is an experienced STEM teacher who specializes in student centered inquiry learning. She retired with over 23 years in the classroom, 15 years working with state and national science organizations to improve science standards and support teacher training. Diana specializes in designing professional development for integrating inquiry using place-based learning. Diana traveled the country giving workshops and lectures for teachers and administrators, and developed partnerships for schools that included stipend place-based STEM training for South Coast teachers. She believes that place-based learning engages students, promotes self-confidence within the learner, and reinforces social growth. Her passion is centered on supporting teachers who use these modalities to engender students who take chances, research problems, and become intuitive thinkers.

Jane Heinze-Fry

Jane Heinze-Fry, Ph.D. is the Special Projects Director at the Wade Institute for Science Education.  With four decades of experience in the science and environmental education fields, she has served as an educational collaborator, presenter, writer, teacher, and researcher.  Her current work targets conceptual mapping and climate change education.  With the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, she developed strand maps of the science standards, including editing of a Weather/Climate strand map.  Her resource-linked concept map of climate change provides links to resources for both learners and teachers.  She has worked with Wade Institute staff and partner organizations across Massachusetts to offer professional development institutes to K-12 teachers in hands-on, minds-on inquiry-based science.  Jane has presented extensively at state and national science education conferences.  Her teaching experience ranges from courses in teaching methods at the graduate level to K-12 teachers of all subjects to life science courses at the middle school, high school, and college levels.  She earned her M.S. in Environmental Education from the University of Michigan in 1978 and Ph.D. in Science and Environmental Education from Cornell University in 1987.

Leslie Knight

Leslie is a secondary STEM educator with nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of roles.  She began her career in the classroom teaching high school Earth and Space Science, Chemistry, and Environmental Science.  She has since served as a math and science curriculum director, STE coach, and high school assistant principal.  Leslie has developed and facilitated numerous professional learning sessions for all grade levels in science, math, engineering content and instructional practice.

Leslie is passionate about the power of the Science and Engineering Practices to shift science education and believes that no matter what students choose to do after high school these practices develop habits of mind that are necessary for STEM literacy and civic engagement.  She is particularly interested in how we make STEM education relevant and engaging to students in today’s world and in helping teachers develop student-centered classrooms and scientifically literate students.  Leslie holds a M.S. in Secondary Science Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University, Bloomington, a B.S. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, and completed the Educator Leadership Institute (“ELI”) to earn her MA Administrator licensure.  Leslie lives in Metrowest Boston and enjoys running, gardening, and playing in the White Mountains.

Rosemary Rak

Rosemary Rak joined the Wade Institute in October 2013 as an Education Specialist. Rosemary brings more than 32 years of science education experience both as a high school biology teacher and as a science curriculum supervisor to her work with the Wade Institute.  Because of her interest in science education in Massachusetts, she served on the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Framework Review Panel for the development of the 2016 MA STE Framework. She has also served on an Assessment Development Committee for the Biology MCAS and participates in Competency Portfolio review for biology. Rosemary’s love of science, and biology in particular, led to her undergraduate education in biology at Stonehill College and graduate study of marine biology at the Southeastern MA University (now UMass Dartmouth).  Additional graduate study at Bridgewater State College (now BSU) supported her passion for education.  Her interest in educational leadership led her to pursue doctoral research at Lesley University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2013.  Rosemary brings her experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis to program evaluation for the Wade Institute.  For recreation Rosemary enjoys spending time outdoors. Tide pool explorations are a favorite pastime!

Kathy Renfrew

Kathy Renfrew is an experienced elementary educator who has held many roles through her career. She began her career by spending two years teaching in Australia. When she returned to the states, she relocated to Vermont where she taught for over 30 years, some of that in a multi-age setting. Kathy then moved to  the Vermont Agency of Education as the Elementary Science Assessment Coordinator. In that role she was intimately involved with the drafting, adopting and implementing The Next Generation Science Standards in Vermont. Kathy returned to MA where she has been an elementary science coach. She has been the recipient of many awards during her career including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and National Board Certification. Kathy has held many roles with NSTA including being an online advisor for the Learning Center, a  NGSS Curator and field editor for the Next Gen Navigator Newsletter. She attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for her undergraduate degree in Human Developmen and then earned a M.Ed in Professional Teaching and a M.Ed in K-8 Science Education. Kathy’s voice as a blogger can be found on the Teaching Channel and as a bi-monthly blogger for MiddleWeb as “The Science Lady”. Kathy believes science education is a right for all children regardless of the age.

Contact the Wade Institute’s Executive Director, Sandra Ryack-Bell, at sryackbell@wadeinstitutema.org or 617-328-1515 to learn more about how the Wade Institute can help your school or district enrich the science learning experiences of your students through customized professional learning for your teachers.