who we are

Our seasoned professional educators offer countless benefits to classroom teachers – a full knowledge of teachers’ professional responsibilities, multiple strategies for inquiry science content, integration with other appropriate subjects, as well as classroom management techniques which are key in providing rich inquiry science programming.

SFSI Staff

We are delighted to welcome Pamela Dresher to our staff.


Pamela Dresher earned a BA in Health Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a MS in Science Education from Montana State University in 2013. She spent her teaching career working in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California as an elementary classroom teacher, a middle school science teacher and an elementary science specialist. Since 2007, Pam has worked with elementary and middle school teachers to develop an inquiry based and multidisciplinary approach to science instruction. Pam has served as a model, mentor and coach for teachers as they learn how to effectively facilitate science teaching/learning in their classrooms. In 2008, she received the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching fellowship. In 2010, she was the recipient of the NASA Endeavor STEM Teaching fellowship. In 2010 received facilitator training from the San Francisco Exploratorium in assessment and science inquiry. In 2015 she completed a two year fellowship in Project Based Science with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Diane GarberDiane Garber began her career as an elementary and special education teacher in New Haven, Connecticut. She became the Early Childhood Supervisor and Director of Curriculum Pre-K-12 in that district. Diane was named Research Affiliate at Yale Child Study Center with Dr. James Comer’s School Development Program, supporting national school reform efforts. Retiring from Cheshire, Connecticut as Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, Diane resumed her career as an elementary principal in Santa Fe, and Burlingame, California. Diane earned her B.S. & M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Southern Connecticut State University, an M.S. in Special Education from Fairfield University, and completed a doctoral program at the University of Connecticut. Diane was recently named SFSI Board President.

Anne WeaverAnne Weaver, Ph.D., is a paleoanthropologist with a special interest in evolution of the human brain. She is also the award-winning author of two science books for kids: The Voyage of the Beetle and Children of Time: Evolution and the Human Story. Anne has taught middle-school science and now offers a class in human evolution at Santa Fe Community College every spring. She has served on SFSI’s Board of Directors for more than 8 years and is a former Board President.

Susan BenjaminSusan Benjamin earned a BA from Cornell University and a MA from Tufts College. She taught in the Los Alamos Public Schools over 30 years and has worked for SFSI for 4 years. She was honored as New Mexico Teacher of the Year-2002. As a national AIMS (Activities Integrating Math and Science) workshop leader, she has shared her math and science expertise with hundreds of teachers nationally.

Mary HowardMary Howard received a BS in Elementary Education from New Mexico State University and an MA from the University of New Mexico in Elementary Education. Mary has served as a mentor for teachers in the Santa Fe Community College alternative licensure program, taught as a Title I reading teacher and had a distinguished career for 23 years with Santa Fe Public Schools. Mary has been a mentor and designed, developed and taught many outstanding and innovative professional development workshops during her 11 years working with SFSI. Mary is a site researcher for the Laser i3 program.

Joan ShandlerJoan Shandler earned a BA at Brooklyn College, NY in Elementary Education and an MA at the University of New Mexico in Training and Learning Technologies. Joan also has a Level-3 Instructional Leader teaching license from New Mexico. Joan taught with the Santa Fe Public schools from 1977-2001. During that time she received the New Mexico Quality Education Award 1989, Teachers Who Inspire Award from Partner’s in Education 1994, and the Santa Fe Reporter 2000 “ Best of Santa Fe” teacher award. Joan has been a mentor with SFSI since 2002. She has designed, developed and taught many innovative and outstanding professional development workshops for SFSI. Joan is a site researcher for the Laser i3 program.

Dianna Dilg earned a BA in Elementary Education with an endorsement in reading from the College of Santa Fe. She has over 45 hours post BA in language arts, math and science courses. Dianna taught for Santa Fe Public Schools for 28 years in grades 1-4 and Enrichment. Dianna was named Teacher of the Year 1994 at Gonzales Elementary. Dianna has been a mentor with SFSI for 4 years and has spent one year as a site researcher with the Laser i3 program.

Katherine L. Neer earned a BS at Concordia, River Forest, Illinois. She has taught in K-3 in both public and private schools, working with the Santa Fe Public schools for 30 years at Gonzales Elementary. Kathy has been a mentor with SFSI for 7 years and is a site researcher with the Laser i3 program.

Diane Catron graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, followed by a master’s degree in Plant Physiology from the University of New Mexico. She retired this month from Santa Fe Preparatory School where she taught Biology and AP Biology for many years. She has taught in both public and private schools as well as at grade levels 6 through 14. She holds a Level III state licensure and is certified for grades K-12. She has been an active College Board Consultant since 1997, teaching many short courses and workshops about inquiry-based science, creating a learner centered classroom, alternatives to lecture, etc. Her current interests include making science education more accessible and improving elementary science education.

Susan McIntoshSusan McIntosh, Executive Director, received a BA in Elementary Education/Psychology at the University of Denver and an MA in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, CA. Susan’s career includes teaching for more than 40 years in Pre-K -6 as an Early Childhood educator and Enrichment teacher in both public and private schools Los Angeles, CA and Santa Fe, NM. Susan holds a NM Level 3 Instructional Leader License in New Mexico and a California Standard Teaching License and taught for Santa Fe Public Schools for 27 years and received the Golden Apple Award in 2004. Susan was a co-founder/director for the Santa Fe Children’s Museum in 1985-1989 and remained on the Museum board from 1989-2001, where she holds an Emeritus position.

Board of Directors

Diane Garber – Board President

Diane Catron, M.S – Secretary

Anne Weaver, Ph.D – Past President

Dona Durham, Ph.D

Helen Fabel

Katherine Neer

Carole Rutten

Advisory Board

Erin Gaddis, Rio Grande Elementary

Dean Gerber, Santa Fe Alliance for Science

Phil Goldstone, Ph.D

Tom Goolsby, Sandia Labs

Jennifer Lussiez, Santa Fe Public Schools

Cynthia Sanchez, Ed.D, Santa Fe Public Schools

Ahlum Scarola, Santa Fe Public Schools

Patrick ‘Rick’ Scott, Ph.D

Executive Director

Susan McIntosh, M.A

History/SFSI beginnings

Inspired by programs in Mesa, Arizona and at the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) in Washington, D.C, SFSI Director Susan McIntosh has worked tirelessly to bring science education reform to Santa Fe since the early 1990’s. As a longtime educator with the Santa Fe Public Schools and a co-founder of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, Susan’s goals and objectives have persevered through countless administrative changes in the Santa Fe Community.

Incorporating SFSI in 2001, with John Silver and Phil Smith, SFSI was created with the mission of “nurturing the art of doing science and promoting scientific literacy.” Susan’s keen understanding of the SF community led her to tweak the national model — which puts a science coach at every elementary school — and propose a more financially manageable model that uses the untapped and very capable strength of seasoned professional educators (aka retired teachers) who work hourly to mentor teachers in the classroom and develop state-of-the-art professional development. This expertise offers countless benefits to classroom teachers who, by training, are generalists who are expected to teach to very rigorous standards without adequate annual professional development or even release time for workshops. SFSI mentors have the full knowledge of the elementary classroom teachers’ professional responsibilities. Their expertise and knowledge base enable them to provide teachers with multiple strategies for inquiry science content, integration with other appropriate subjects, as well as classroom management techniques which are key in providing rich inquiry science programming.

Remembering Bill Keller

The Santa Fe Science Initiative was honored to have had Bill Keller as a board member for the past 12 years. He was so attuned to the board process, so very committed to teachers, our efforts to support them, and so involved in our mission of ’nurturing the art of doing science and promoting scientific literacy’.

We all will miss his great humor, sincerity and generosity. We are grateful for all the time he gave us.