PacSci Perspectives

Dennis Schatz NSTA President-Elect

by | Jun 11, 2018

Pacific Science Center Educator Selected as the National Science Teachers Association’s 2018-2019 President-Elect.

SEATTLE, Wa.—June 6, 2018—The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced that Dennis Schatz, senior advisor at Pacific Science Center and field editor for NSTA’s Connected Science Learning, began his one-year term as president-elect of NSTA on June 1, 2018. He will assume the office of president on June 1, 2019. He is believed to be the first informal science educator to lead the 74-year-old organization.

“With a background in science education in both the formal and informal settings and as an association leader, Dennis is uniquely suited for his new role as the new president-elect of NSTA,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. David Evans. “His insights will help the Association to amplify educator voices to improve science teaching and learning across the country.”

A research solar astronomer by training, Schatz began his career working as an Associate Director of Astronomy and Physics Education plus Assistant Director, Science Activities for the Visually Impaired (SAVI) at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1977 Schatz moved to Seattle and accepted a position with Pacific Science Center, where he has held a broad range of positions, including Director of the Regional Astronomy Education Laboratory and Vice President for Education. In 1999, he helped initiate and co-lead the award-winning Washington State LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform) program. Because of this Science Center effort, more than 90% of the elementary school students in the state now use effective science education curricula.

“Dennis’ contributions to the Seattle community and his profession have had a profound impact on Pacific Science Center’s efforts, and we are proud to have him on our team. We look forward to supporting him in his new role as he continues to emphasize the importance of science education,” said Will Daugherty, President and CEO of Pacific Science Center.

An NSTA member since 1973, Schatz has contributed extensively to the Association. He was elected to the NSTA board as Director of Informal Science (2015-2018). He also served as the program chair for the 2004 and 1994 area conferences, the conference chair for the 1998 area conference, and worked on several committees. Schatz is also an NSTA Press author and has written several journal articles for the Association.

In addition to his work with NSTA, Schatz is extremely active with other state and national organizations and science initiatives. He was a board member (1997-2008) and the President (2005-2007) of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, was a charter board member (1980-83) and President (1982-83) of the Association of Astronomy Educators, and served as a board member for the Washington Science Teachers Association (2006-2011). Schatz currently serves as a member of the board for the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and is a board member for the Smithsonian Science Education Center. He also was an AAAS Fellow (2012), was a member of the National Academies Teacher Advisory Council (TAC), was a member of the National Research Council’s Earth/Space framework design team, was a field reviewer of the Next Generation Science Standards, and is the author of 25 science books for children.

Throughout his career, Schatz has been honored extensively for his contributions to science and science education. In 2017, Schatz had Asteroid 25232 renamed Asteroid Schatz by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in recognition for his leadership in astronomy and science education. His other accomplishments include receiving NSTA’s Faraday Science Communicator Award in 2009 and NSTA’s Distinguished Informal Science Educator Award in 2005.

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The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. NSTA’s membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives, and others involved in science education.

Pacific Science Center is an independent, not-for-profit institution in Seattle. The institution’s mission is to ignite curiosity in every child and fuels a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking in all of us. Pacific Science Center’s award-winning, interactive programs reach more than 1.1 million people each year – in their communities, classrooms, and on the Pacific Science Center campus and at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center. Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World’s Fair and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010 Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark.