Teacher Leaders



Darby Feldwinn

Chemistry and SciTrek; UCSB


Darby is one of the co-directors of the SCSP and director and founder of SciTrek. At UCSB she teaches classes in both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Education. As director of SciTrek she is often seen in local 2nd - 5th grade classrooms helping carry out long-term science investigations. In her free time she can be found hanging out with her dogs, gardening, or corralling her chickens, turkeys, and geese.

Teacher Leaders for 2020 Summer Institute


Janis Spracher

5th and 6th Grade STEM; Monte Vista Elementary School, Santa Barbara


Janis has taught for 21 years in the Hope School District and is currently the 5th/6th grade STEM teacher at Monte Vista. Her work with the Teacher Induction Program, PASC, and the UCSB Teacher Education Program has given her the opportunity to mentor and learn from many other teachers. When she is not in the classroom or thinking and talking about teaching and learning, Janis is usually devouring a book, relaxing with her family, or pampering her cats.


Kandie White

Science TOSA; Goleta Union School District, Goleta


Kandie has spent the majority of her life exploring curiosities and pursuing additional knowledge. The Goleta Union School District has been her professional home for over a decade, and she has enjoyed teaching many different grade levels in her tenure there. This past year, she temporarily transitioned into the role of a Science TOSA to help teachers in her district implement new science curriculum. In her free time, Kandie enjoys walking her dog, laughing with her daughters, and making new discoveries.

Kim Castagna

6th & 7th Grade Math and Science; Carpinteria Middle School, Carpinteria


Kim taught for over 37 years and LOVED teaching science. She has been a part of these summer institutes since their inception. In addition, she is a national trainer for JASON Learning and has presented science lessons at many local, state and national conferences. In her past life, she used to be a cowgirl, competing in rodeos and showing livestock at fairs.

Kyla Rightmer

5th Grade; Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Santa Barbara 


Kyla has been teaching varying grades from K-8 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School for the past 15 years.  Over those years, she taught six years as the middle school math specialist, and encouraged her students to forge the connections between math and science.  She attended her first SCSP last year, and had such a positive experience.  She wants to share that positive experience and her love of learning, so joined as a teacher leader just this year. 

Lauri Dahlin

4th Grade; Peabody Charter School, Santa Barbara

Lauri has been teaching elementary students for more than twenty years. Science has always been her favorite subject, leading to her involvement with the South Coast Science Project. Lauri came to Santa Barbara to study Aquatic Biology at UCSB. She had always dreamed of living by the ocean, so she believes that dreams really do come true!

Nicole Gee

7th Grade; La Colina Junion High, Santa Barbara


Nicole has taught 7th grade science for the past 5 years after completing her undergraduate degree in biology and master's in education at UCSB. Aside from teaching, Nicole likes to coach and play soccer and enjoys taking SBCC classes during the summer. She loves spending time outside running, hiking, swimming, and birding.

Nichole Hughes

5th Grade; Santa Monica


Nichole first attended the South Coast Science Project in 2016, and enjoyed it so much she jumped right in to being a teacher leader in 2017! She loves the hands-on lesson plan ideas and found two grants to purchase all of the materials needed for all 4th and 5th grade lessons. She can't wait to share her science and grant writing knowledge with so many other teachers!

Patty Malone

4th and 5th Grade; Monte Vista Elementary School, Santa Barbara


Patty Malone has taught second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grade. She enjoys dog walking, bird watching, backpacking, and reading (especially about science).

Rodney Lee

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Science Teacher; Marymount, Santa Barbara


Rodney Lee has served as the Lower School Math & Science Specialist at Marymount since 2007. A graduate of Occidental College, located in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles, he has over 22 years of teaching experience and a passion for on-going professional development. Previously, Rodney was a 4th and 5th grade teacher at Ivanhoe Elementary School in teh Silverlake area of Los Angeles and served as the school's 4th/5th Grade Math & Science Lead Teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was also co-coordinator for the Target Science Teacher NEtwork of K-12 Science Educators, part of the Urban Education Partnership's collaboration between UCLA and LAUSD. For teh past 17 years, Rodney has been a CSET Multiple Subjects Instructor, for LAUSD teachers, currently specializing in the areas of math and science. In 2004, he authored the math section of Kaplan's CSET Multiple Subjects test prep book. 

In his spare time, Rodney enjoys taking walks with his wife along State Street, hiking to Inspiration Point, going for road bike rides along the Santa Barbara coast, and doting on his beloved rescue dog.

Sammi Lambert

SciTrek Coordinator and UCSB Graduate Student


Sammi graduated with her B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Secondary Science and Math Education from UCSB in 2018.This past year she has taught science in over 40 elementary school classrooms as the Education Program Coordinator for SciTrek. This summer she will begin her Masters program at UCSB working towards an M.A. in Chemistry with an emphasis in chemical education and a secondary science teaching credential under her advisor, Darby Feldwinn. In her  small amount of spare time, she likes to make Instagram videos of her guinea pigs and watch Parks and Rec on Netflix.


Sue Johnson

Education; UCSB 


Sue has taught junior high school, high school, udergraduate and graduate students, and pre-service teachers for over fifty years. She also has had the privilege of working with wonderful in-service teachers as well. She is a self-proclaimed "science nerd" who is in constant awe of the natural world. She moved from "chilly" Wisconsin to Santa Barbara in 2007 and loves its mountains, oceans and redwoods. The amazing weather is a big plus as well.


Former Teacher Leaders