Board of Directors

The CSW Network is lucky to have a talented, dedicated Board of Directors supporting our work:

Dr. Jerry D. Valadez, CEO/President
Board of Directors
Chris McCarthy, Secretary
Paloma Garcia-Lopez, Treasurer
Jean Pennycook
Lisa White
Lisa Ernst
Parker Thomas

Dorothy Jones-Davis, Ph.D.

Robert Pronovost


Dr. Jerry D. Valadez – President/CEO: Jerry D. Valadez is an Advocate for underserved youth, a Maker, co-founder of the SAM (Science Art Music) Academy and the Mobile Science Workshop – a non-profit that provides underserved youth in isolated rural communities access to quality out-of-school STEM and Arts experiences. He has an earned doctorate in STEM education and is an experienced environmental scientist, microbiologist, middle school science teacher, K-12 Science Coordinator, school administrator, and Director of major federal and state supported STEM initiatives, including the Central Valley MSP and Central Valley Science Project. He was also Principle Investigator on NSF and DOE formal and informal STEM education programs, and co-creator and PI of a unique congressional award that created the Fresno Mobile Science Workshop. He is involved with state and national issues related to formal and informal STEM, Environmental and Maker education including appointments to commissions and national advisory boards. Boards and Panels include the 2012 California Science Expert Panel for NGSS, 2011 National Academy Successful STEM Schools Advisory Committee, the Committee On Science Education, 2004 Congressional Commission on STEM Education for the 21st Century, California Science Project founding advisory board, and AAAS Project 2061 Phase II Panel. He served as President of NSELA and the NSTA Board as Director of the Multicultural/Equity Division, along with several NSTA task forces and committees including Chair of the 2011 National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco. Jerry received the 2017 Distinguished Informal Educator of the Year Award by NSTA in March 2017.

Chris McCarthy – Secretary – Chris McCarthy is an astronomer who has searched for planets outside our solar system for over 20 years. Beginning his work before any such “exoplanets” were known, he has co-discovered 31 planets, two brown dwarfs and several planet-forming disks.  He is currently an adjunct professor and lecturer at San Francisco State Univ., where he teaches astronomy courses for majors as well as non-science students, and modern physics to bio- and earth science students.  He grew up in San Diego, and was educated entirely at public schools in California, including UC Berkeley (BAs in Physics & Astronomy), San Francisco State Univ. (Masters in Physics) and UC Los Angeles (PhD in Astronomy). He was a Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (DC) from 2001 to 2003.  Recently, he has devoted considerable effort to improving the quality of K-12 science education in California, through programs such as UCSF’s Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP), the CSU’s STEM Teacher & Researcher (STAR) fellowship program, and the Mission Science Workshop, in San Francisco, where he also serves on the Board of Directors.

Paloma Garcia-Lopez – Treasurer: A social entrepreneur, Paloma identifies and implements solutions to address large-scale social problems.  She has seventeen years’ experience as an educator, manager, and fundraiser. Paloma was appointed executive director of the Maker Education Initiative in 2013 after serving as a consultant and director of operations in 2012.  Paloma worked closely with the board of directors to establish the organization, secure multiyear corporate and foundation support, execute four national programs and build the nonprofit management systems and staff to meet the mission of the organization.  Prior to joining Maker Education Initiative, Paloma Garcia-Lopez served as director of the Posse Foundation site in Washington, D.C., a national college access and leadership development organization recognized by President Obama and the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Prior to working at Posse, Paloma consulted nonprofit organizations and schools to design programs and secure funding to increase science achievement, college access, and leadership opportunities for underrepresented students. Paloma started her career as a high school teacher in the Silicon Valley before entering the nonprofit sector to act as a change agent for society. Paloma is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Education. In 2002, she coauthored, Learning to Teach For Social Justice, Teachers College Press-Columbia University, with Dr. Linda Darling- Hammond and Jennifer French. She is on the board of directors of the Community Science Workshop Network and a member of the Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project – CalGirls Collaborative in STEM.

Jean Pennycook:  Jean Pennycook has served her multi-cultural, multi-lingual urban school district in Fresno, California, for over 20 years as a secondary science teacher providing quality classroom experiences in the sciences. Jean passionately encouraged her students to pursue careers in the STEM fields as well as promote the next generation as life-long learners and scientifically literate adults.  In 1992, Jean took her teaching overseas with the American International School of Florence, Italy, where she was challenged to provide science education across all the disciplines to students speaking several different languages.  This experience provided a lifelong sensitivity to students with limited English proficiency.  Jean’s enthusiasm for teaching is reflected in her many awards and accomplishments as an educator including:  NASA teacher grants, Sierra Club Environmental Educator of the Year, NSF Teachers Experiencing Antarctica grant, and district and state level committees and boards. Most recently, Jean has been nationally recognized as she translates and repackages the science research of Antarctica for classrooms around the world. She makes the excitement of discovery available to all through an interactive website as she provides a virtual field trip to that extraordinary continent and the Adélie penguin breeding colony on Ross Island. In 2010 Jean brought her dedication to quality education to the National Science Foundation as an Einstein Fellow working to make a difference in our education system. She currently provides instructional professional development for teachers around the country in inquiry and project-based science instruction and works with pre-service teachers and in-service through summer workshops and institutes.  Jean holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Fisheries Biology from the University of California, Davis, and a Masters of Science Education and Curriculum from California State University, Fresno.

Lisa D. White:  Lisa D. White is Director of Education and Outreach at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) and Adjunct Professor of Geology at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Past positions held at SFSU include Professor of Geology, Chair of Geosciences, and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.  Lisa has extensive experience with science outreach programs for urban students and she is active in efforts to increase diversity in the geosciences. A micropaleontologist by training and Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and the Geological Society of America (GSA), Lisa was the inaugural recipient of the GSA Bromery Award for Minorities, an honor bestowed upon a geoscientist who has been instrumental in opening the geoscience field to other minorities. As the Principal Investigator of the SF-ROCKS (Reaching Out to Communities and Kids with Science in San Francisco) and SF-METALS (Minority Education through Teaching and Learning in the Sciences) programs, Lisa trains and guides diverse student groups in wide-ranging geoscience learning experiences. As the education director at the UCMP, she develops and disseminates learning materials on evolution and the Earth’s biota, global climate change, and the nature and process of science. Lisa holds degrees from San Francisco State University (B.A. in Geology, 1984) and the University of California at Santa Cruz (Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, 1989).

Lisa Ernst – Science Teacher, Alice Fong Yu K-8 School, San Francisco, California: Lisa Ernst, a sixth-grade science teacher at Alice Fong Yu, received the Sylvia Shugrue Award from the National Science Teachers Association in recognition of her interdisciplinary, inquiry-based lesson plans. Ernst develops project-based units to engage her students’ creativity and curiosity as they learn scientific principles and encourages them to persist in the face of challenges. She has also been a finalist for the San Francisco Mayor Teacher of the Year award, and a member of the NSTA Multicultural/Equity Committee. As a classroom teacher for over twenty-six years, she teaches sixth grade in a multiple subject classroom with an emphasis on integration of content through project-based learning STEM or STEAM. Within the school year, Lisa serves as a Co-Developer with SFUSD, Stanford, and SERP, (Strategic Educational Research Partnership) with an emphasis on Science Literacy. During the summers and weekends, she continues to participate and enhance her knowledge in Earth Science through fellowships from the Department of Energy, Yale, to workshops from Chabot Space and Science Center to the Exploratorium. Through the participation of various science programs, Lisa has developed curriculum that has become funded through grants and has been presented through various venues. In March of 2012, Lisa served as a Judge for the Disney Planet Challenge competition. In 2010, Lisa was asked by NSTA to present and attend the SINO-US Science Conference in Shanghai, China where she shared instructional strategies that were designed within SERP. Recently she was selected to serve on the Discovery Channel Science Techbook Advisory Board in Silver Springs, Maryland.

Parker Thomas – Parker Thomas is currently a FUSE Corp Executive Fellow working on a 1-year initiative to “Build an Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline through Maker Education”.  Prior to FUSE, he was the Managing Partner of Mirus Labs, a design studio that helps learning organizations, and a co-founder of Urban Montessori Charter School.  Parker built and sold two companies, built two airplanes and flew them around the country, managed the DARPA MENTOR Makerspace program for Make: and co-invented ThinkFun’s Maker Studio, a building toy sold in bookstores and toy stores across the country.  He earned an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt and a BS from the College of Wooster.

Dorothy Jones-Davis, Ph.D. – Dorothy joined Nation of Makers as its Executive Director in March 2017. An eternal optimist and connector, Dorothy is deeply interested in finding ways to create connections between a diversity of makers, leveraging their collective skills to harness solutions for the world’s challenges, grand and small. She envisions Nation of Makers as a collaborative community, one where organizations of different types can learn from one another and share best practices, and where shared engagement fosters the development of long-lasting partnerships that have outcomes that reach farther than any one entity could accomplish alone.

Dorothy’s interest and passion for making began when she was a child (see her Medium post on Why She Makes), from tinkering with broken electronics with her dad to learning about the crafts her ancestors made as members of the Cherokee and Blackfoot Tribes. In college, her “maker fix” came in the laboratory, as a neuroscientist.

Dorothy received a B.A. in Psychobiology from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. She worked as a scientist in the Bay Area before moving to Washington, DC, as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2012. In this role, she worked at the National Science Foundation investigating non-”traditional” technologies, policies, practices, and business models for STEM education. This work led her straight to a formal involvement in the maker movement, and to her eventual role as a co-founder of the DC non-profit (this organization later transferred the name and digital assets to the new national Nation of Makers non-profit). In this capacity, she served as the co-producer of the DC Mini Maker Faire, the National Maker Faire, and contributed to the National Week of Making. While in this capacity, Dorothy collaborated with the White House Office of Science and Technology policy and also served as a representative on the White House Interagency Working Group on Making.

Robert Pronovost – Robert is the Innovative Learning & Technology Integration Coordinator of Maker Education for the San Mateo County Office of Education and the founder of EmpowerMINT, a makerspace & edtech consultancy. Robert graduated from the Stanford Teacher Education Program, receiving a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Elementary Education from Stanford University. In 2013, he created the Ravenswood Makerspace Collaborative, awarded a STEM Innovation Award by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and First Place in the Microsoft & Krause Center for Innovation 2015 Innovation Awards. Robert taught at Belle Haven School in Ravenswood before serving as STEM Coordinator and Director of Curriculum & Instruction. He has been named an International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Emerging Leader, a Computer Using Educators (CUE) Outstanding Emerging Teacher, a Google Certified Teacher, and was part of the White House’s 2015 Roundtable on Making & Education. Additionally, Robert co-authored a book, Creating a Google Apps Classroom, available through Shell Education.

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