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Kareen Borders
Regional Fellow
Gig Harbor, WA

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Bio/Overview: After serving as a Classroom Teacher Ambassador Fellow from 2011-2012, Dr. Borders served as the Regional Fellow for the Department of Education. Dr. Borders currently serves as the Director of STEM Programs and Outreach for Olympic Educational Service District 114 and is the Director of Washington STEM’s West Sound STEM Network. Dr. Borders is a National Board Certified Teacher and taught 6th and 8th grade science and an elective aerospace class at Key Peninsula Middle School in the Peninsula School District for ten years. Dr. Borders began her teaching career in the small, coastal, farming community of Guadalupe in Central California. The school of 300 students needed another math and science teacher after the start of the school year. Fresh out of college, she was honest about her lack of teaching experience but desire to be a teacher who impacted students to excel in science, and got the job the next day! She began a teacher preparation program and Master’s in education at the local university.

Educational Philosophy: To Dr. Borders, students are not passive learners of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), they ARE scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians. They embrace the idea that they are empowered to own their learning. In addition to creating a love of learning within her students, and Borders was intentional about equipping students with wonder, teamwork strategies, and problem-solving skills for jobs that may not exist yet! In her current role, Dr. Borders works with 17 districts and is spearheading a three-year STEM professional development cohort that facilitates deep and meaningful partnerships between university STEM professors and classroom teachers. In addition, Dr. Borders works to elevate teacher leadership and supports teachers to lead from the classroom.

Achievements: In 2009, Dr. Borders was recognized as a Presidential Awardee in Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and was recognized by Amgen for Excellence in Science Teaching. Prior to being selected as a 2012-2013 Washington Fellow, Dr. Borders served as a Classroom Teacher Ambassador fellow for the 2011-2012 school year. She is a published scientific author and has been an invited presenter at STEM symposia worldwide.

Leadership Experience: In her current role, Dr. Borders works with policymakers, higher education, K12, state education leaders, non-profits, business, and others to advance STEM education. As a teacher, Borders developed and led a NASA Explorer School Team, developed and led science professional development workshops, was a member of her school improvement team, partnered with an elementary school, planned after school science programs and more. She is also a Spitzer Space Telescope teacher and a Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Telescope teacher ambassador. Along with her team, Dr. Borders led workshops for the Peninsula School District, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Arecibo Observatory. In the last few years, some of this work has been made available to the greater educational community in the form of abstracts with the American Astronomical Society, International Astronautical Federation, and the International Committee on Space Research.

Affiliations: Board of Directors for AMLE, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (WA OSPI), National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), NASA, WASA, and Washington STEM.

Education: Dr. Borders has a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine; an M.A. in Education from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington.

Areas of Interest/Expertise:

  • STEM
  • Teacher Leadership
  • National Board Certification
  • Equity and Access
  • Middle School Reform
  • Parent Engagement
  • Business, community, and educational partnerships

Last Modified: 09/08/2015