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Teacher Voices

National Conference in Denver • Mar. 20-23, 2024

Teacher Voices Keynote Panel

Identity, Community, Connection


Saturday, March 23 • 10:20-11:20AM

Speakers: Khamphet Pease, Charles Hayes, and Julia Navarro
Moderator: Dr. Stephen Pruitt


About the Session

We’ve all experienced the power of immersion. Learning in these moments, fostering a deep connection to the community and world around us, can have a profound impact on students. Join us for another Teacher Voices Keynote Panel, moderated by Dr. Stephen Priutt, President of the Southeast Regional Education Board (SREB). Panel members—three amazing, dedicated educators from across the country—will share their own inspiring stories of connection to the community and their engaging and inclusive strategies for immersing their students in science and STEM.


teacher voices

New teacher? Seasoned veteran? Informal educator? Leader in a school or district? No matter your role, working in education is tough with constant pressure to produce great results, adapt to sudden changes, and support nuanced student needs. At NSTA, we believe that educators have unique expertise and perspective, with an educational journey and experience worth sharing. Through our NSTA Teacher Voices keynote series, we seek to spotlight authentic voices that are often missing from the dominant narratives in education.


Julia Navarro

Julia Navarro (She/Her/Ella) is a 9th grade Biology Teacher at Wheeling High School in the Suburbs of Chicago Illinois. As a Latina educator, she has dedicated her work with ISTA’s Storylining to developing culturally sustaining curriculum and practices in support of multilingual learners and Latine students. Ms. Navarro is the Maitlin P. Simmons Memorial Award Recipient for New Biology Teachers (NSTA) and Outstanding New Biology Teacher of the Year Award (NABT) for 2022 in response to her work in creating representation, belonging, and identity for Latine students in science.

Charles Hayes
Charles Hayes

Charles Hayes has been an educator for twenty-nine years and currently serves as the instructional advisor for middle school science with the Memphis-Shelby County Schools' Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Memphis, TN. His accomplishments include receiving the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching (PAEMST) and the National Science Teaching Association's (NSTA) Shell Science Teacher Award. Desiring to develop as a leader, Charles recently joined the NSTA Shell Science Teaching Award Judging Panel and is currently a fellow with the Innovation Collaborative, a national transdisciplinary forum to foster creativity, innovation, and equity in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) teaching and learning. He also serves as a science ambassador for the Center for Disease Control, has served as chairperson of NSTA's Urban Science Education Advisory Board, a founding member of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools STEM Teacher Leader Fellows Program cohort (STLFP), and the District 12 representative for the Tennessee Science Teachers Association Board of Directors. Charles's goal is to continue making science exciting and relevant to students and continue being a resource to his colleagues.

Khamphet Pease

Khamphet "Phet" Pease has been teaching for 18 years at Wilson Middle School in San Diego, CA, where she has taught students across multiple grade levels and subjects, with a primary focus on mathematics and science. Currently, Phet serves as a CTE instructor for STEM elective courses, guiding students through transformative learning experiences in engineering and computer science courses.

A tireless advocate for broadening STEM education, Phet is committed to breaking barriers for underrepresented students, including females, BIPOC, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Her teaching approach revolves around project-based learning, empowering students to develop apps, games, and products that address real community challenges. She founded and coaches the Wilson Robotics Club, leading her students to excel in competitions such as Botball and First Lego League (FLL), and earning numerous awards at local and national levels.

Recognized for her outstanding contributions, her accolades include the 2015 San Diego County Teacher of the Year, the 2020 California State Awardee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the 2022 CSTA Computer Science Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2023 National Center For Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) National Educator Award.


Stephen Pruitt
Dr. Stephen Pruitt

Stephen Pruitt is the sixth president of the Southern Regional Education Board in July 2018. Under his leadership, SREB has continued its work on college and career readiness, postsecondary attainment, workforce preparation, learning environment, and support of the SREB states’ policy and education leaders to improve the education systems for each student.

During his career, Dr. Pruitt has amassed education policy, assessment, and instructional background at the local, state, and national levels.

Before coming to SREB, Dr. Pruitt was Kentucky’s state commissioner of education. At the national level, he had worked closely with state agencies and educators around the country to improve policy and practice in science education. In Georgia, Dr. Pruitt began his career as a high school science teacher and subsequently served in several roles for the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Pruitt can be reached via email,, or followed on Twitter, @DrSPruitt.


National Conference On Science Education • Denver 24


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