STEM Council

In the simplest of terms, this Council was created to evaluate the state of STEM education in our schools and recommend ways to improve it.  Our goals are to:

  • Expand the number of Delaware students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in these fields.
  • Expand the STEM capable workforce to create, grow and attract STEM related businesses to Delaware.
  • Increase STEM literacy for all Delaware students including those who pursue non-STEM related careers, but need STEM skills.

The STEM Council membership is intended to comprise all aspects of the STEM economy in the state of Delaware. The highly qualified individuals that form the Council represent every corner of the State. They are a mix of everything from educators, school administrators, technology employers, business leaders and government officials and much more.   Judson Wagner, STEM Coordinator for the Brandywine School District, and Dr. Teri Quinn Gray from DuPont serve as Co-Chairs of the Council and Daniel Suchenski serves as its Executive Director.

Daniel Suchenski, Executive Director

Daniel Suchenski is the executive director of the Governor’s STEM Council, responsible for oversight and management of all day-to-day functions and services; acts as the focal point for all STEM Council matters; serves as the primary liaison to the Governor’s Office, Department of Education, institutes of Higher Education and regional businesses to further the mission of the STEM Council.

“Emphasis in STEM topics provide students with the problem solving capabilities needed to tackle any challenge in school or life beyond the classroom to help extol this and bring Delaware’s thought leaders together to address the best pathway forward the Delaware STEM Council created the Delaware STEM Symposium and the STEM Educator Awards. With gracious support from Ashland, the symposium acts as a common denominator for STEM across the state. The symposium brings together people from across the STEM pipeline to make sure that not only they are aware and familiar with each other, but that they help, encourage, support, and collaborate with each other. That resources and ideas are shared, to ensure a successful future for us all.”

Teri Quinn Gray, Council Co-Chair

Teri Gray is Regional Technology Manager with DuPont Performance Polymers with highly specialized teams serving markets in U.S., Canada, Mexico and South America. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Education Delivery Institute (EDI), on the Board of Trustees at University of Delaware, and on the Committee of Distinguished Advisors to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Maryland. Teri is chair of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board and consultant with the ACS Women Chemists Committee. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Jackson State University; earned a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Maryland, and worked as National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards & Technology prior to joining DuPont in 1997. Dr. Gray is President of the Delaware State Board of Education, appointed by Governor Jack Markell in 2009, and co-chair of the Delaware STEM Council since September of 2012.

“Delaware is poised to become a leader in STEM education and a hub of innovation for STEM-related businesses.  Our emphasis on STEM literacy and preparation, coupled with ongoing PK-12 reforms, is aimed at growing a highly capable workforce that attracts jobs to Delaware.  We embrace the charge to catalyze STEM partnerships among education, business and government sectors; to connect a broad and diverse cross section of our communities to STEM resources; and to communicate the plethora of STEM-related opportunities available to Delaware students.”

Jud Wagner, Council Co-Chair

Jud Wagner is the STEM Coordinator for the Brandywine School District. Prior to that position, he was a physics teacher for 15 years at Concord High School, as well as Department Chair.

As an educator, Mr. Wagner has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST); the Siemen’s Advanced Placement Award for Teaching; and the Cable Industry’s Leader in Learning Award. Mr. Wagner was appointed co-chair of the Delaware STEM Council by Governor Markell in 2010.

“The Delaware STEM Council seeks to be the intersection between the PreK-12 system, higher education, and the business community. Because of the size of our state and the unprecedented collaboration between all of these sectors, we are confident that we can make the deep and lasting connections that will change the STEM conversation in Delaware, and enhance the opportunities for our students.” 

Current STEM Council Members

    Theresa Howarth received a Bachelors in General Science from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a masters degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on STEM related programs. Ms. Howarth is currently teaching the exploratory STEM program Gateway to Technology from Project Lead The Way at MOT Charter School and has been a teacher trainer for Enterprise for Education facilitating trainings in China and throughout the US for an issues based air quality curriculum.

    Chet Bendham is the Vice President & General Manager, Advanced Separtions for Air Liquide Advanced Technologies US LLC

    Dr. Susan Bunting became superintendent of the Indian River School District in southeastern Delaware in 2006 after teaching language arts, developing and implementing the district’s gifted program, and serving as the district’s Director of Instruction. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education from The American University, a M.Ed. from Salisbury University, and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Delaware.

    Dave Cadogan is the Engineering Manager at ILC, Dover, and has been with the company since 1986.  He has a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Western Michigan University, and is an Associate Fellow with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.  He has worked on numerous industry and government development teams to produce NASA’s space suits, airships/zeppelins, spacecraft structures, and protective equipment for the military.

    Michael Canning is a senior at Caesar Rodney High School. He is the current state president of the Delaware Technology Student Association. He represent the students for the state of Delaware on the STEM council, and work to make Delaware a better place through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

    James Collins is Delaware’s Chief Information Officer and the Governor’s cabinet member that leads the Department of Technology and Information. James has extensive experience as an organizational leader, and on information technology projects. James worked in the Department of State as Deputy Secretary of State where he helped to expand the state’s e-Government initiatives and use of information technology. He also simultaneously served as the Director of Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation for a portion of his tenure. James most recently served as Governor Jack Markell’s Deputy Chief of Staff where his duties included being policy advisor on information technology.

    James’ experience includes being a senior consultant with Peregrine Systems, Inc. and MAXIMUS, Inc. where here implemented large-scale software projects for major clients such as the Pepsi Bottling Group, the United States Marine Corps, and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.Prior to his consulting career James served his country in the United States Air Force for over eight years. James holds a BA from Wesley College and a Master’s of Science in Managing Innovation and Information Technology from Champlain College.

    Andrea Connolly has been a middle school educator for over 10 years teaching English, Social Studies, Math and Science.  She is currently a 7th grade special education teacher for math and science, as well as the Science Department Chair at Alfred G. Waters Middle School in the Appoquinimink School District.

    Earle Dempsey joined the STEM Council as the representative from the Delaware Department of Technology and Information.  He currently serves as the DTI Customer Engagement Manager representing the educational space within the State, including DOE, K12 School Districts, Charter Schools, and Higher Ed. Earle was elected to the Lake Forest Board of Education beginning July 2015. Earle is also an Adjunct for Delaware State University’s and Wilmington University’s business and IT programs.  In addition to working with several other State Boards and Councils, his active community leadership includes work with the Delaware Volunteer Fire Service, the Dover/ Kent County MPO, and several non-profits within the State.

    Sharon Densler was an Agriculture Education major in college and did her student teaching in agriculture at Lake Forest High School, eventually earning her Master’s Degree in Animal Science and Biochemistry. She is currently the K-12 Science Specialist in the Capital School District.

    Patrice Gilliam-Johnson is the Secretary of Labor for the State of Delaware, appointed to that position by Governor Jack Markell in 2016. Before becoming secretary, Gilliam-Johnson was a Founding Member and Vice President of the Gilliam Foundation. Dr. Gilliam-Johnson serves as Program Coordinator of the Organizational Dynamics Fusion Program and as an Associate Professor in the Division of Behavioral Science at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware. She serves as a Director at Delaware Community Foundation. In addition to serving on the board of the Gilliam Foundation, she serves as Board Chair for the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and served as a Director with the Kuumba Academy Charter School and Opera Delaware boards.

    Dr. Steven Godowsky, a long-time Delaware administrator and former superintendent of the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, is Delaware’s Secretary of Education. Godowsky led the New Castle County Vo-Tech District for eight years beginning in 2003. That followed two decades working in the district as an assistant principal at Delcastle Tech, principal at Hodgson Vo-Tech, and assistant superintendent. During his time as superintendent, he served a term as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association for the 2007-08 school year. He also spent time earlier in his career as a special education teacher in the Alfred I. DuPont School District.

    Dr. Randy Guschl joined DuPont as a research chemist in 1973, after receiving a Ph.D in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Illinois. In 1993 he was named Director of Corporate Technology Transfer, and in 1999 assumed responsibility for DuPont’s Office of Education.  In 2000, he was named Director of the Center for Collaborative Research and Education, with global responsibilities for corporate collaborative research and support of education programs and funding at universities and government laboratories.

    Donna Johnson is currently the Executive Director of the State Board of Education in Delaware.  She served as the STEM Coordinator for Caroline County Public Schools in Maryland, the Math Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction in Caroline County for five years, and taught high school mathematics for 10 years in Delaware. Her degree background includes bachelor’s level study in Mathematics at Wake Forest University, a Mathematics Education major at DSU, and graduate classes in educational leadership and curriculum development from University of Delaware and Wilmington University.

    Dr. Michelle Kutch is currently the Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction for the Brandywine School District.  She earned her BS in Biology and MI in Education from the University of Delaware, and Doctorate in Education Leadership at Wilmington University. She has developed curriculum for the University of Delaware, State of Delaware and districts, and has served on the State Standards Committee for Science.

    Mr. Lamiet is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Chase Canada Card Services and has been with JP Morgan Chase in various capacities for twenty years.  In his tenure he has served as Executive Director of Business Analysis, Solutions Architect, and Development Manager.

    Jennifer McDermott is an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase and leads Pipeline Programs for the Chief Administrative Office.  In her role, Jennifer is responsible for increasing and diversifying the talent pipeline for the CAO organization via early identification, talent acquisition enhancements and exploration of new sources of talent. Jennifer has worked at JPMorgan Chase for over 14 years.   She also has past experience with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a Telecommunications and High-Tech consultant in Washington D.C.  and as a Project Director at an internet startup. Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Virginia Tech.  She resides in Delaware with her husband and three children.

    Dr. Noureddine Melikechi is a professor of Physics at Delaware State University where he has been since 2002. He was born in Algeria where he graduated with a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures in Physics from the University of Sciences and Technology.  He went on to the University of Sussex in England to pursue graduate work in the area of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics and received a Master of Sciences in 1982 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Physics in 1987.

    Mark Lafferty is the Instructor/Coordinator for Allied Health/Science & Exercise Science Program at Delaware Technical Community College. He has a PhD and two masters degrees from the University of Delaware and a Bachelors from West Chester University.

    Dr. Annie Norman has been State Librarian and Director of the Delaware Division of Libraries since 2002. Annie received her Doctorate of Education in Innovation and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, and is the recipient of the Audrey K. Doberstein Award for Leadership. She holds a Master’s degree in Library Science from Drexel University and is a member of Beta Phi Mu, the international library and information studies honor society.

    Renee Parsley is the Math Content Specialist at Sussex Technical High School and holds National Board Certification in AYA Mathematics. She earned her BA in Mathematics from St. Vincent College and her MS in Physics Teaching from DSU. Her role at Sussex Tech requires sharing her time between teaching and leading the math department, as well as providing math support for integrating mathematics into other academic and Career and Technical Education (CTE) areas. She is also an adjunct instructor at DTCC, Georgetown.

    George Reissig is the founder, president and CEO of Pixstar, Inc., headquartered in Lewes, DE. Pixstar is an IT consulting firm that provides a wide range of services to both government and commercial clients. George is a veteran of three start-up companies and has over 20 years of experience in information architecture, business intelligence, corporate management, and government contracting. He has extensive experience as a curriculum developer and trainer for users of business intelligence software applications.

    Luke Rhine is the Director of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEM workgroup at the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE).  He is responsible for providing leadership and technical assistance to Delaware’s local education agencies and community colleges in educational reform initiatives and in the development of programs of study across Delaware’s sixteen career clusters.  Luke is also responsible for developing and implementing educational policy.  Prior to working at the DDOE, Luke was a Program Specialist in CTE and STEM with the Maryland State Department of Education.  He has also worked as a high school and middle school teacher.  Luke has received several state and national awards for educational leadership and was a Fulbright scholar.

    Diana Roscoe is the K-12 math specialist for Southern Delaware Professional Development Center. She received her degree in Mathematics and Science Education from New Mexico State University and her graduate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware. She has been a classroom instructor for over 20 years in three states, spanning grades 6-12, teaching mathematics and biology. After teaching for Caesar Rodney, Woodbridge, and Polytech School Districts, she worked for two years on the Delaware state assessment as a teacher on loan with the Delaware Department of Education Assessment group.

    John Singer is a STEM Technology Instructor and Department Chair in the Brandywine School District. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Rowan University, and a Masters Degree in Education from Wilmington University. He is the recipient of the Delaware Technology Education Teacher of the Year in 1996 and 2007, and is the recipient of the Delaware 2002 and 2011 Technology Education Program of the Year award.

    Dr. Rita Vasta holds a B.A. From Glassboro State College and Ph.D. From Drexel University in chemistry. She was an industrial research chemist and manager before entering the teaching profession.  Taught at the Charter School of Wilmington and moved to New Castle County Vocational School District holding positions of science specialist, instructional coach and school leader intern before becoming the assistant principal at Delcastle Technical High School.

    Dr. Jonathon Wickert is the Chief of Interpretation for the Delaware State Park System.

    Dr. Deborah Zych began serving as Superintendent of Delaware’s POLYTECH School District in August, 2011, having formerly served as Assistant Superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District.  She also held positions at the DOE and has 22 years of teaching and administrative experience in Maryland.  She earned her BS from Towson State University, MS from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University.

Affiliates of the Delaware STEM Council

    Dr. Ross Armbrecht has served as Executive Director of the DE Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education (DFSME) since spring 2005.  He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Joining DuPont in 1968 as a Research Chemist, he later served in various technical and management positions.  He was president of the Industrial Research Institute, a gathering of top R&D leaders of major companies to improve innovation.

    Doug Hicks served as Department Chair for Engineering Technologies at Delaware Technical Community College – Owens Campus from 1997 – 2014. In 1991 he co-founded a start-up company, CHPT Inc., to commercialize several patented technologies including a line of high pressure composite pumps used in military and domestic water purification systems internationally. Dr. Hicks serves on the board of directors of the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the advisory boards for several high school technology programs. He received his BS in physical oceanography from Cook College/Rutgers University in 1977 and his MS and PhD in applied ocean science from the University of Delaware in 1980 and 1985, respectively.

    April McCrae is currently the Education Associate for Science Assessment and the State STEM coordinator working as liaison between the Governor’s STEM Council and the Delaware Department of Education.  She earned her BS in Biology Education with a minor in Environmental Science from Wesley College, her MS in Science Education from Delaware State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University.  April worked as a secondary science teacher in the Capital School district for nine years before becoming a teacher-on-loan with the Department of Education in the area of science curriculum and instruction.  She has been involved with the writing of the Delaware State Science Standards, multiple curricular modules and assessments, and with the identification and roll-out of several commercially available curricular resources.

    Mary Kate McLaughlin served as Chief of Staff  for the Delaware Department and Education from 2012 – 2015. She joined Delaware state government as chief policy advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services during Gov. Minner’s first term, where she helped to implement key initiatives such as the smoking ban (Clean Indoor Air Act) and the cancer treatment program. McLaughlin joined the Markell administration in February 2009 serving as Deputy to the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, and as Gov. Markell’s liaison on Health & Social Services & the Department. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of arts in international relations.

    Bill Morrow spent 11 years as an electrical engineer as US Air Force officer and Federal Civil Service, 7 years as an engineering technology instructor, 3 years as a mathematics department chair, 1 year as an engineering technology department chair, and 3 years as a higher education academic dean. He is experienced at developing and implementing new academic degree programs. He also has experience with curriculum development and oversight. My current position at Delaware Tech as the assistant dean of instruction at the Terry Campus  allows me to influence and coordinate STEM efforts college-wide.

    Dr. Kathryn Scantlebury is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, Director of Secondary Education, and Coordinator for Secondary Science Education in the College of Arts and Sciences.  She taught high school chemistry, science and mathematics in Australia before completing her doctorate at Purdue University. Dr. Scantlebury is a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and serves on the Board of National Science Teachers Association as the Research Director.

    Daniel Suchenski is the executive director of the Governor’s STEM Council, responsible for oversight and management of all day-to-day functions and services; acts as the focal point for all STEM Council matters; serves as the primary liaison to the Governor’s Office, Department of Education, institutes of Higher Education and regional businesses to further the mission of the STEM Council.