Montshire Educators

Montshire science educators have extensive science teaching and curriculum development experience and specialize in inquiry-based science learning.

Greg DeFrancis

Greg DeFrancis, Associate Director and the Director of Education at the Museum, has spent the past 21 years exploring science and science teaching with children, families, and adults in a variety of contexts. Greg is most interested in the role of inquiry in science learning and in exploring ways to support and encourage such experiences through museum programs and exhibits, classroom curriculum and professional development for teachers.

Greg currently serves as PI or co-PI on a number of large science education initiatives, including a middle school health sciences curriculum development project funded through NIH and, The Dynamic Earth, an exhibit and public program development project on earth systems funded by NASA. He is also launching several new programs at the Montshire, including Science on Tap, a program modeled after the science café movement, and a project training climate researchers to increase their ability to present science to the public in informal learning venues. Greg recently completed a one-year fellowship with the Noyce Leadership Institute. As a Noyce Fellow, Greg worked with 17 other science museum leaders from around the world exploring leadership issues and how to expand the impact of informal science institutions in their communities.

Prior to his work at the Montshire, Greg was a classroom teacher in Vermont and Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate degree in Fisheries Biology at University of Vermont and his graduate degree in Education at Tufts University. He entered the science education field through an apprenticeship at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA. Outside of work, Greg can be found in the mountains biking, hiking, running and cross country skiing and coaching.

Greg DeFrancis
Director of Education
greg.defrancis@montshire.org
802-649-2200 x228

 

Rachel Donegan

Rachel’s areas of expertise range from the earth sciences and astronomy to aquatic ecology and invertebrates. She is also interested in the DIY revolution and how fostering tinkering and the Maker spirit could encourage more young people to pursue science and engineering. Rachel oversees The Dynamic Earth, a NASA funded project that includes student and family workshops on weather, stream dynamics, and plate tectonics, and Experimenting with Plants, a collaborative program with Dartmouth College for elementary and middle school students and teachers.

Rachel has a B.S. in biology from Bates College and an M.S. in environmental science. She worked for five years as an educator at the New England Aquarium in Boston and an Island Manager for the Boston Harbor Islands. Rachel has been at the Montshire since 2003. She can often be found exploring Montshire’s trails and exhibits with her young daughter or paddling her handmade kayak on the Connecticut River.

Rachel Donegan
Science Educator and Program Manager
rachel.donegan@montshire.org
802-649-2200 x229

 

Michael Fenzel

An excellent teacher with children and adults alike, Mike has developed a variety of new programs in his position of science educator and curriculum developer here at Montshire. Mike’s area of expertise include curriculum development in children’s engineering, physical sciences, and the health sciences.

He has extensive teaching experience and has developed a variety of investigative science curriculum units for upper elementary and middle school classrooms through the Museum's School Partnership Program and the Montshire-Dartmouth HHMI Science Camp program. Currently, much of Mike’s efforts are focused on developing curriculum and supporting middle school science teachers for our NIH-funded Connecting Classrooms and Community with the Health Sciences project.

In addition to his work on our sponsored projects, Mike manages the overnight Science Camp-In program, oversees various summer camp programs, and shares in the teaching of all school programs. Prior to his experience at the Montshire, Mike coordinated the chemistry education at the Capital Children’s Museum in Washington D.C. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Dartmouth College and has been a science educator at the Montshire since 2001.

Mike Fenzel
Science Educator and Program Manager
mike.fenzel@montshire.org
802-649-2200 x217

 

Rebecca Haynes

Rebecca joined the Museum’s professional education staff in the fall of 2010. Rebecca brings over seven years of experience working as an interpretative ranger for the National Park Service throughout the United States. At Montshire, Rebecca is the Lead Explainer and coordinates the summer staff explainers. In addition, Rebecca enjoys working with learners of all ages, sharing the Lead Teacher position for the Young Scientist program with Amy VanderKooi while also coordinating our Science on Tap evening events for adults. Rebecca is also actively involved in our Bringing Science and Engineering to Students and Famiies project, a K-12 STEM education program in partnership with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. An excellent teacher, Rebecca hails form Oregon and studied at Lewis and Clark College and Antioch New England.

Rebecca Haynes
Science Educator and Lead Explainer
rebecca.haynes@montshire.org
802-649-2200 x266

 

Amy VanderKooi

Amy has been with the Museum since 1998. While maintaining an active teaching load, she also takes on a leadership role in a number of programs and special projects in the Museum's Education Department. An environmental educator by training, Amy oversees the Museum’s successful Summer Camp program, involving over 600 campers annually and 18 summer camp instructors. She also manages the Young Scientist and the Explainer programs at the Museum.

Amy is actively involved in the management of a number of our sponsored projects, including our School Partnership Program and the HHMI Science Camp program which trains and places undergraduate and graduate students in classrooms as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Dartmouth College’s Department of Biology. Amy is currently focussing on translating her years of science education experience to improve student learning through her work in supporting and mentoring K-8 classroom teachers. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Wooster and an Master's in environmental science from Washington State University.

Amy VanderKooi
Science Educator and Program Manager
amy.vanderkooi@montshire.org
802-649-2200 x234