The instructors complemented each other in style of teaching and personality. They worked collaboratively and were an example of "team teaching" at it's best."

Ruth Purdue-Dyer
WCAIS Magnet School, Danbury, CT

2016 Presenters

Sherie McClam

Dr. Sherie McClam has worked to reform science education for over fourteen years in richly diverse contexts inside and outside of the United States. After receiving her PhD in science education and social foundations from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2004, Sherie took an appointment as a member of academic staff in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne in Australia. While at the University of Melbourne, Sherie was able to bring her social justice scholarship in the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science together with her passion for environmental justice. She served as a Deputy Director for the University of Melbourne’s Office for Environmental Programs (OEP) assisting the Director in the management and further development of their internationally recognized, multidisciplinary Graduate Environmental Program (GEP). In this capacity she worked with university colleagues from across the disciplinary spectrum as well as community and industry partners to develop courses that promoted scholarship and action in the areas of education for sustainable development and stakeholder/community engagement.

In July, 2009 Sherie began her current appointment as an Assistant Professor in Curriculum & Instruction in Manhattanville College’s School of Education. In addition to this position, in 2012 Sherie was appointed the college's first Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). Committed to developing an Education for Sustainability focus in the School of Education, Sherie serves as a Co-chair of the EFS Special Studies Group within the Association of American Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and as the Chair of the Campus Sustainability Committee. She also serves on the K-12 & Teacher Education Sector Steering Committee for the United States Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, as a member of the Program Committee for the Green Schools Coalition of Westchester and as a member of the newly formed Education for Sustainability and Clinical Teacher Preparation Working Group within the state of New York.

Alan Cass

Alan has been on the Summer Institute faculty for four years and serves as the Director of Education for CELF, where he provides professional learning to K-12 teachers in public and private schools. During his classroom teaching career, Alan was both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher at several grade levels and in different subject areas as well an Assistant Principal. His belief in an interdisciplinary approach to learning is reflected throughout his work. While teaching middle school science and math, Alan spent two summers as a participant in NASA’s Educator in Space program where he created a Young Astronauts Program for grades 5-6. His work as a mathematics teacher led him to create several interdisciplinary programs such as Mall Math and the Math Chef, which he has presented at numerous National Council of Teaching Mathematics conferences.

Alan holds a BS degree in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College, an MS degree in Education from the State University at Buffalo, an MS in Educational Leadership from Pace University and he completed his Advanced Certificate in Education for Sustainability at Manhattanville College.

Jen Cirillo

Jen Cirillo serves as Director of Professional Development at Shelburne Farms. Shelburne Farms has been partnering with CELF for nearly a decade on creating meaningful professional learning opportunities for educators, evaluating the impact of their shared work, and advancing the field of EFS nationally. Shelburne Farms is recognized for its work in farm to school, EFS, and place-based learning which is brought to life for the teachers with whom Jen works.  She brings twenty years of experience in Education for Sustainability from co-developing and teaching a teen program integrating art, science and sustainability to her most recent work leading EFS professional development programs around the world. Jen has a strong background in standards-based curriculum development, facilitation, and evaluation plus a wealth of experience engaging schools and communities in creating a vision for education. Jen holds a B.S. from the University of Vermont and an M.S. from the Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University. She is the Co-Chair of the K-12 Sector of the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and board member of Vermont Energy Education Programs.

Aimee Arandia Østensen

Aimee serves as the NYC Program Manager and she supports additional CELF professional development programs as a co-facilitator and co-developer with the director of education. Aimee is the Farm/School Coordinator for Special Projects at the Manhattan Country School and has taught both elementary and middle grades at MCS. Aimee firmly believes that learning is a life-long process and that our experiences along the natural path of life can be our best teachers. Her own path to teaching is a spiral of explorations into art, nature, movement and community. Aimee’s early experiences in dance created a foundation in aesthetic and kinesthetic awareness, as well as an understanding of creative and collective processes.

Aimee earned a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at New York University, and a master’s degree in Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Whether in the forest, the city, at the farm, or traveling in another country, she seeks out the connections and dynamics within and between things, and strives to embody Kirkegaard’s notion that we are not merely human beings, but “human becomings.”

Josh Dahn 

Josh is the Cofounder and Head of School of Ad Astra School in Los Angeles: an upper elementary and middle school that primarily serves the children of SpaceX employees. Ad Astra is committed to developing analytical thinking through multidisciplinary case studies and simulations. These synthesis projects provide an ethical framework for students to think through contemporary conflicts in environmental policy, space exploration, government surveillance, and education. By giving students difficult decisions between seemingly equivalent options, they create classroom experiences that are meaningful, rigorous, and relevant. Josh is a National Board Certified Teacher and former Teach for America Las Vegas Valley Corps Member. Josh earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and American Studies from Miami University and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. 

Chris DeMattia 

Chris DeMattia has been working with the CELF team since 2010. He holds degrees in biochemistry, science education, and educational leadership and draws on a broad range of experiences to encourage and model EfS. Chris is a high school science teacher and department coordinator at Fox Lane Middle and High School located in Bedford, NY. As a science educator, Chris has a history of designing and implementing forward-thinking strategies that integrate EfS within the classroom. He has developed an innovative curriculum for chemistry, as well as Take Action! Support a Sustainable Community, an online course that requires students to take community-linked action for sustainability. Chris is a dynamic speaker and facilitator who seeks to enhance learning by illuminating our connection to the natural world through addressing authentic, local problems. 

Katie Ginsberg

Katie Ginsberg, CELF Founder and Executive Director, oversees and manages organizational development and assures that program objectives are met. She established the CELF Summer Institute in 2005 and has continued to work with leading educators from across the world to bring the latest information to K-12 educators and organizations.

Katie has conducted and participated in a broad range of seminars, conferences and courses on sustainability and on re-orienting education through global and interdisciplinary education. She works with thought leaders in this emerging educational paradigm who are advising schools and educational systems worldwide.

Katie is a Founding Member of the Westchester Green Schools Coalition and serves on the Westchester County Climate Change Advisory Panel. She served as Chair of the County Executive’s Westchester Global Warming Task Force for the education sector, which developed a blueprint to integrate sustainability across the campuses, curriculum and communities of Westchester, NY schools.  Katie also serves on the Board of the Women's Climate Initiative and on the Advisory Board for Teatown Lake Reservation.

2015 Guest Presentations:

  • Ground-breaking EcoMUVE curriculum that links STEM with outdoor learning. Presented by Dr. Amy Kamarainen, Senior Research Manager, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • How Education for Sustainability develops critical thinking skills for College and Career readiness. Presented by Dr. Riva Krut, Global Sustainability, Praxair, an international industrial gases leader.
  • Developing Citizen Scientists using preserved land as outdoor classrooms; learn systems thinking through mapping environmental, economic and social impacts of land use. Presented by Westchester Land Trust.
  • PBL and Place-based Learning through Environmental Forensics. Presented by Mt. Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit.