President-Elect Candidates

Jesse Bernstein

Miami, FL
Years of experience: 30+
Retired Teacher

Science Teaching Philosophy

Chemistry, perceived as difficult, if taught with enthusiasm and interesting by the content shouldn’t be more difficult than other subjects. I’ve shown the enthusiasm of a young person experiencing their first successful attempt at a challenge. Understanding fundamentals to be successful requires knowing rules and then applying what is learned to new situations. The fun of chemistry has been the laboratory activities especially the variety and types of experiments and equipment required to problem solve; incorporating experimentation with the learning of concepts. For over twenty years of teaching I’ve used inquiry labs to make the chemistry interesting to my students.

Why I Want to Serve

I have been in love with Chemistry since the age of 10 when I was shown the excitement that experimenting can provide. In my first several years of teaching I relied on a mentor and went to many workshops and presentations at Chemistry conferences. I was constantly taking away ideas from others. I realized after a while that it was time to give back so that others could learn from my knowledge of Chemistry. For the past thirty years or more I have been involved with many aspects of the American Chemical Society. I have been active with the Chemistry Olympiad as a Mentor, a Chair of the High School Affairs Committee for the Cleveland ACS Section, a three-time Chair of the South Florida ACS Section, a planner/demonstrator for National Chemistry Week hands-on activities at South Florida Science Museums, a first time Science Coach for a third grade teacher, a member of Project SEED, and currently a Member of the SOCED Committee (Chemical Education). I am also a member of AACT since its inaugural year. For the past several years I’ve volunteered at public outreach activities at National ACS meetings at the Saturday activities at museums as well as the teachers’ day on Sunday. I have also helped to rewrite some policy statements for ACS. Recently retired, I have the time and the expertise to contribute to AACT as the Association continues to grow and improve. I want to continue give back to help support the teachers of Chemistry.

Tyler Kinner

Duluth, GA
Years of experience: 5–10
Currently working outside the classroom

Science Teaching Philosophy

Through investigation and inquiry, scientists have constructed our current body of chemistry knowledge. This construction is a natural process for individuals, as we all try to make sense of our world innately. I believe that students learn best when working as scientists, and for teachers, that means presenting them with authentic, rigorous, and meaningful experiences to construct scientific understandings. This belief is supported by research and is in agreement with the phenomena-driven and inquiry-based nature of the NGSS and other aligned state standards.

Why I Want to Serve

My best preparation for this role stems from my time in the classroom. The responsiveness and thinking involved in crafting quality instruction are skills that last well beyond one's classroom tenure. In my current leadership positions within my school system and my local section of the American Chemical Society, these skills lends themselves to leadership focused on clear, goals-oriented communication and action. My time as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and former research assistant lend themselves to a unique perspective on the current state of chemistry, and more broadly, science education.

The NGSS and other aligned state standards call for direct student engagement in the science and engineering practices in the content areas. The AACT is uniquely poised to offer support for authentic student engagement in chemistry through its extensive network of contributing members, as well as its affiliation with the American Chemical Society. This support would not only benefit teachers, but impact student learning and dispositions, ideally creating a new generation of excited and educated chemists. I want to serve as your President-Elect to continue the tradition of support AACT has offered since its inception and assume our natural growth in providing support for this authentic engagement in the chemical sciences.

Matt Perekupka

Cinnaminson, NJ
Years of experience: 10–15
Current grade levels taught: 10, 11, 12

Science Teaching Philosophy

Science is using knowledge and critical thinking to solve problems. As science teachers, we must provide our students with opportunities to be creative, discover, and solve problems. In an education environment which focuses on "the answer", science should be a constant reminder that the process of finding the answer is far more important than the answer itself. Each of our students has a different story and understanding and embracing the diversity and curiosity of our students is vital to creating an educational environment capable of promoting the well being and success of all students.

Why I Want to Serve

I am a passionate teacher who has been an active member of AACT for the past 3 years. I feel participating in professional communities are critical to being an effective educator. The AACT has created a wonderful resource library and online community allowing chemistry teachers to share ideas. opinions, and resources to better our practice. I truly appreciate AACT's mission and want to support the group by any means possible. Personally, I feel like I am a forward thinker and have great insight into what teachers are looking for in an online community and would be able to help increase membership numbers and online collaboration.