John C. Warner, Co-Founder & President
John is a founder of the field of green chemistry and is widely considered one of the world’s leading experts in designing safer products and processes. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in Medicinal Chemistry. He then lead a research group at the Polaroid Corporation for 9 years before returning to the University of Massachusetts as an academic where he spent 9 years educating the next generation of professionals in green chemistry. John has recently launched an independent research institute, The Warner Babcock Institute, aimed at working closely with industries to provide green chemistry technologies for the marketplace. Along with the Warner Babcock Institute, John co-founded the non-profit Beyond Benign and serves as the chair of the Board of Directors for the organization. John has won numerous awards for his contribution to academia and to green chemistry, including the 2004 Presidential award in science mentoring. John is the author of over 150 papers and a holder of numerous patents for green chemistry technologies with applications ranging from electronic and polymeric materials to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. He is co-author of the seminal book titled Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press, 1998). John is the editor of the new journal Green Chemistry: Letters and Reviews.
Rachel has been developing multi-disciplinary sustainable science curricula for middle and high school students for 7 years, working on programs with Pfizer, The U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, DuPont and DOW Chemical. Rachel has been involved in Green Chemistry Education through the ‘Recipe for Sustainable Science’ and ‘Solutions in Green Chemistry’ programs of Beyond Benign and has trained over 340 teachers in the use of these materials through summer institutes and weekend workshops in the U.S., Ireland, England and Puerto Rico. Rachel has a BA in Theatre Studies and British Literature, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction and recently completed her MBA. Prior to her curriculum development work, Rachel was a classroom teacher for 7 years.
Teri Natoli, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Therese Natoli hails from Woodside, NY and though a resident of Connecticut since 1986, her mantra is:" You can take the girl out of Queens but not the Queens out of the girl!". Teri began her career in science as a Research Assistant at Sloan Kettering Institute. At SKI, Teri was part of the Human Cancer Serology department, analyzing and producing monoclonal antibodies. After leaving the lab Teri worked at a magazine test kitchen, sold pharmaceuticals for Ciba-Geigy and began teaching as a sub. Once in the classroom, Teri realized where she wanted to make her career and hasn't looked back! She has taught many levels of Chemistry, Biology and General Science . A teacher since 1987, Teri has had the pleasure of working at New London High school, Waterford High School and the Science and Technology Magnet High School of SE CT. Living on Stone's Throw Organic Farm since 1995, Teri and her family enjoy living a sustainable lifestyle. For the past 7 years, Ms. Natoli has been an outreach teacher for Beyond Benign, teaching Green Chemistry principles and techniques to teachers from around the world. When not pursuing her passion for the classroom, Ms. Natoli enjoys spending time with her wonderful family( in CT and NY) reading, watching movies , discovering new British mysteries, and walking her dogs Bodhi and Otto with her dear friends.
Matt MacGregor, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Matt has been teaching Middle School, in both Scotland and Canada, since 2003. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Matt has facilitated math learning conferences for existing teachers, has worked as a professional mentor in his district's 'New Teacher Induction Program' and has hosted a variety of student teachers as a recognized associate teacher in his district. In addition to being an active member in his district's Math and Science Task Force(s), which required him to write, implement and analyze new science and math curriculum. Matt was also a facilitator in Green Chemistry's first visit to Canada. Additionally, he facilitated the pilot Green Math workshop held in Mystic, CT in 2009. Although, he dearly misses his Bonnie Scotland, Matt is currently living in his hometown of London, Ontario, Canada with his wife Joanne, and daughters, Isla and Isabella.
Kathe Blue Hetter, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Kathe is the Science Curriculum Lead Teacher at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kathe holds a BS in Biological Science, with a Chemistry Minor, along with a BS in Business and Engineering Administration from Michigan Technological University, as well as a MS in General Science, with a Secondary Education Certification from Eastern Michigan University. Prior to teaching, Kathe worked in the labs for a subsidiary of Merck Pharmaceutical. Kathe has great passion and enthusiasm of teaching. She has a great desire to learn about new trends in education and science, especially science education by taking workshops around the country and courses at universities and staying current in the latest topics in science. She loves doing “hands on” science, which means lots of labs and demos. She has attended workshops on differentiated instruction and is passionate about implementation of the best learning strategies for students.
Dusti Vincent, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Dusti is a relative newcomer to the teaching profession, having taught high school science in Ann Arbor, Michigan since 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing her master’s in physical science from Michigan State University. Prior to teaching, Dusti spent one year out of college working as a research assistant in an infectious diseases lab. She also worked for Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she explored her love for food and cooking and met her wonderful husband, Brad, before answering the call to become a teacher. Dusti is thrilled to return to the Green Chemistry workshop as a Beyond Benign facilitator.
Raksmey Derival, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Raksmey received her B.S. degree in biochemistry from Suffolk University where she gained experience in green chemistry outreach program development. Raks was awarded an National Science Foundation fellowship to perform bio-organic chemistry research at the Ohio State University, and worked as an analytical chemist and forensic toxicologist at a drug testing lab in Massachusetts for 3 years. She spent a year working with Dr. John Warner and Dr. Amy Cannon at the Center for Green Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Lowell before joining Beyond Benign as a K-12 and Community Outreach Program Manager. Raksmey brings extensive experience in developing green chemistry educational and informational materials for outreach, training and education. She takes pride in working at the "street" level, talking directly to students, teachers and the community to generate excitement for science and to convey the important message of green chemistry in today's society.
Amy Cannon, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Amy holds the world's first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts where her research involved the environmentally benign synthesis of photoactive materials. She received her M.S. in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston and her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Amy worked as an Assistant Professor of Green Chemistry and Director of Outreach and Community Education at the Center for Green Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Lowell until September of 2007 when she left to co-found Beyond Benign. Amy has industrial experience working as an analytical chemist for the Gillette Company and as a scientist for Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials. She was awarded the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry in 2004 for her work on titanium dioxide semiconductors and their application in dye-sensitized solar cells. Her interests are in green chemistry education and research around safer green chemistry alternative technologies. Amy serves on the Editorial board of the new journal Green Chemistry: Letters and Reviews.
Director of Education
Kate earned her Master's in Education: Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Environmental Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2006 after graduating with her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked as a Sustainable Project Manager in the seafood industry in Massachusetts. Kate's previous experience took place in the K-12 classroom setting. As a program coordinator for non-profit environmental education programs, she developed curriculum, taught K-5 programs, managed service-learning projects and supported professional development workshops and trainings for teachers. Kate's passion is working with students and teachers to improve education. She is excited to be spreading the word that green chemistry offers solutions to the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.
K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Brooke joined the Beyond Benign team as a curriculum specialist in July of 2009. Prior to this role, she was a middle school teacher for 8 years in the state of Colorado, specializing in differentiated instruction and integration of cross-disciplinary units. Brooke previously served as the Director of Teacher Training at The Keystone Center in Keystone, Colorado for 8 years; by instituting programs with government agencies such as NASA, The Department of Energy and corporations such as, SC Johnson Wax, and Pfizer, she had the opportunity to grow the professional development division from one yearly institute to eight curriculum projects. She has presented sustainability concepts to corporate audiences locally and internationally. The bulk of her experience rests with local, national, and international teacher training, and she continues to focus on providing professional development experiences for educators. Living in a small town in Colorado at 10, 400 feet, Brooke predictably loves being in the outdoors.
K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Ann holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from Butler University. After practicing pharmacy for thirteen years, she decided to make a career change and earned her Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Eastern Nazarene College. Ann achieved National Board Certification in 2002, with a specialization in chemistry. She has been teaching at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, MA since 1997, where she currently teaches introductory and Advanced Placement chemistry, and a science research course for which she developed the curriculum. Additionally, she is involved with adult continuing education, teaching graduate level courses through the Norfolk County Teachers Association/Framingham State University collaborative; and, she is a consultant for Class Measures, consulting with teachers who are developing a portfolio for Massachusetts educator licensure. Ann became involved with Beyond Benign after hearing John Warner speak at ChemEd 2009. She is excited for the opportunity to work with others who are dedicated to promoting the paradigm shift in education toward green chemistry practices.
Jerry Beck, Resident Artist and Project Leader, Art & Science
Jerry Beck is a nationally recognized artist, educator, and community leader. In 1984, he founded The Revolving Museum (TRM) with "The Little Train That Could...Show," a collaborative public art project revitalizing 12 abandoned railroad cars. Since then, TRM has coordinated hundreds of large-scale participatory projects and has received national recognition as a pioneer in the field of collaborative public art, educational programs, urban revitalization, and creative economy projects. In 2004, Beck founded the Visionary School, an authentic learning, public art curriculum program for high school and college students focused on the development of cultural and civic leadership. In 2005, Beck served as a “Creativity Consultant” for University of Massachusetts in which he initiated collaborations between faculty members and students from diverse departments. In 2007, Beck and The Revolving Museum received the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Commonwealth Award in the category of "Community," the state's highest honors in the arts, humanities and sciences. In 2012, The Revolving Museum was a finalist for The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (Selection committee included: National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, learning opportunities to young people. Beck has had many one person and group exhibitions including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, American Textile History Museum, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Florida State University Museum of Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Boston Center for the Arts, Artists Space, Capp Street Project, Barbara Krakow Gallery, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Cape Cod Community College and numerous site-specific artworks in such unusual abandoned sites including a civil war fort on an island, 100 year old rum cellar, baseball field, movie theater, textile mills, homeless shelter, smokestacks, alleyways, ice-cream truck and bookmobile. Beck is currently represented by the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Massachusetts. In 2013, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa A. Wong hired Beck as its first Director of Economic Development and Chief Marketing Officer in which he inspired over 5000 citizens to get involved in the revitalization of downtown Fitchburg. From 2011-2013, he was the Fitchburg Art Museum's Director of Marketing and Community Engagement. Beck has a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Tufts University in partnership with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, Florida.
Greg Sloan, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Greg has been teaching middle school science in Terre Haute, IN since 1992. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Indiana University and a Master's Degree in Administration and Supervision from Indiana State University. Greg has developed and facilitated basic math and science courses for the employees of the Pfizer plant in Terre Haute. He has worked on developing hands on activities to address the Indiana State Standards for the State of Indiana. Greg has also facilitated workshops in his district in order to help elementary teachers implement more science into the curriculum and has had activities published by Prentice Hall in the supplemental booklet; "Student - Centered Science Activities for the Midwest."
Richard Cooper, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Richard is a high school chemistry teacher and science department head in London, Ontario, Canada. In addition to curricular responsibilities, he coaches football, manages the track and field team, and coordinates the Science Olympic team. Richard is originally from Western Canada and grew up on a wheat farm, he moved on to receive twin degrees from the University of Saskatchewan in Chemistry and Education. Richard moved to the London area to take up employment with Thames Valley District School Board. Recently, Richard has led teacher training in the use of Technology in the classroom to improve Numeracy and Literacy, and Green Chemistry. Richard implements Green Chemistry with 4 classes of grade 9 in his school where he is the science chair.
Brenda Thompson-Leffler, K-12 Curriculum Specialist
Brenda began her middle school teaching career in 1993 and is currently working at Summit Middle School in Frisco, Colorado. Her focus has been on 6th and 7th grade science. She has run semester long green chemistry courses for 6th graders and has been an integral part of the curriculum development team since the inception of the project. She also teaches a green biotechnology course for 7th grade students, bringing the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry to different disciplines within science. Brenda earned her B.S. and M.A. in Education. More importantly, she is the proud mom of her baby girl, Darby. As a resident of Breckenridge, Colorado, Brenda spends her spare time telemark skiing and trail running. Brenda grew up in Louisiana and loves to visit her large family back in LA, but admits she is now a "mountain girl."