Mary Ellen Durham


Nominee: Mary Ellen Durham

Biographical Information on Nominee

Mary Ellen has forty years of experience and is strongly committed to promoting excellence in science teaching and learning.  She began her career as a classroom teacher. Working in both private and public schools, she has taught science at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels.  In addition to the elementary and middle grades science curriculums, Mary Ellen has taught secondary-level biology, physics, physical science, environmental science, chemistry, and earth science. Regardless of the science content or grade level, Mary Ellen consistently used discovery-based strategies that enabled her students to learn science by providing opportunities for them to be actively engaged in doing science. In addition to her classroom duties, Mary Ellen assumed leadership roles including elementary school science resource teacher, grade level chair, middle school team chair, school safety officer, and science department chair.   Mary Ellen supervised student investigations, judged, and helped coordinate numerous local and regional science fairs.  She mentored dozens of student research projects, hosted regional competitions and co-hosted state-wide Student Academy of Science competitions.  Additionally, Mary Ellen was the North Carolina teacher representative to St. Clair, Michigan for the first planning and development meeting for the National Science Olympiad and subsequently sponsored numerous student teams.  She has also judged and helped coordinate regional and state-wide Olympiad competitions.

Mary Ellen actively pursued opportunities to work with other science teachers. She has served as the cooperating teacher for education majors engaged in field experiences, mentor for first year teachers and peer evaluator.   Collaborating with local school systems and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, she served as an instructor at a variety of teacher workshops in Columbus, Durham, Orange, Cumberland, Vance, Granville, Wake, and Pasquotank Counties.  She has presented at numerous conferences sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association, North Carolina Science Teachers Association, NCAT/PAGE, and the Seattle University Council on Excellence in Teaching.

After fourteen years in the science classroom, Mary Ellen transitioned to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level and conducting science and science education research. She has taught a wide range of life and physical science courses, research, statistics, instructional technology, curriculum and science methodology and at North Carolina State University, Wesleyan College, and Campbell University.  At these various institutions she has advised undergraduates and graduates, coordinated undergraduate and graduate degree programs, prepared and administered numerous grants, served as Accreditation Officer, developed curriculum, acted as the Director of Instructional Technology, and supervised education majors during field experiences.

Mary Ellen holds a B.A. in Biology from Greensboro College and a Master of Education (Gifted and Science) from Grand Valley State University. She earned a Ph.D. in Science Education (Interdisciplinary Sciences) from North Carolina State University and holds North Carolina Teaching licensure for grades k-12 comprehensive science.   Mary Ellen maintains a rigorous research agenda focusing on environmental concerns, as well as examinations of effective science pedagogy.  Her investigative work is published in several research journals and she is a frequent presenter at professional meetings and conferences.  Her professional affiliations include the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the National Science Teachers Association, the North Carolina Middle School Association, the Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and the Southeast Association for The Education of Teachers in Science.  Mary Ellen has been an active member of the North Carolina Science Teachers Association for over thirty years and has severed on its board in several capacities.  She currently holds the position of Nominations and Elections Chair. Mary Ellen has received multiple recognitions for her contributions to science education.  Among the most notable of these are the Campbell University School of Education 2001 Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award; the Greensboro College 2004 Alumni Excellence Award; and the 2013 North Carolina Science Teachers Association Vi Hunsucker Outstanding Science Educator in North Carolina Award.  Mary Ellen lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is now Professor Emeriti from Campbell University and engages in science education consulting.


Mission Statement

If elected to this position, I will work closely with the NCSTA Board, Executive Committee, and the Business Manager to oversee all financial operations of the Association. In discharging the duties associated with the position of treasurer, I will act with honesty and integrity.  I am willing to work with the Business Manager and Finance Committee to find, research and bring to the board for consideration, venues to expand the Association’s financial holdings.  I will, with the Board’s approval, enact cost effective measures for the implementation and support of the organization’s activities.  Lastly, I will work closely with the Business Manager in efforts to verify that the NCSTA financial records are accurate and that all financial transactions are conducted in a fiscally responsible manner.