Board Candidate Personal Statements

Hello fellow CSTA members! Below please find several of your candidates personal statements for you to use as you consider who best to vote for in the current election.

NOTE: You can even find more information about each candidate, as well as the election itself at here:

Dr Jason Zagami: International Representative
I am seeking to represent international members of the Computer Science Teachers Association. Living far from the United States and Europe gives a different perspective on global computer science education. Many countries have made great strides in K12 CS education that are rarely acknowledged, with innovative and complex approaches to providing opportunities for students to study CS. I see the role of the international representative as keeping the CSTA board aware of what is occurring beyond the USA, and ensuring that CSTA initiatives apply globally. My own experience in CS curriculum reform has been in Australia, Oceania, India and East Asia, but I have been also active with UNESCO and the annual EDUSummIT forums looking to shape global CS education, particularly in support of developing nations. As a teacher and teacher educator for 25+ years, my focus has been on expanding perceptions of what CS can involve, in pedagogy through the use of visual programming languages and data visualizations, project-based learning, and educational games; in content through the development of computational, design, futures, strategic (entrepreneurial and business), and systems thinking skills as the reason we teach lower order processes such as coding; and through technologies such as robotics, automation, and AI systems. My research as an academic is focused on improving CS education and bringing it to the level of understanding we have of cognitive and curriculum processes found in mathematics and science. Much of CS curriculum development is currently guesswork or drawn from higher education, and CSTA is well placed to progress our understanding of what works best and when in CS education. Female participation is another area I am deeply concerned about in CS education, and as CS increasingly becomes the avenue for employment, we must ensure that everyone has access to these opportunities. CSTA is well placed to encourage research and promote initiatives to address this inequality. At a global level, CS opportunities are not well distributed, and the CSTA has a responsibility to providing educational opportunities to all member nations. To achieve these aims, I have experience in working on and leading professional associations as state and national president of Australian CS Teacher associations, and look forward to bringing a wider perspective to the CSTA board to address the needs of the many CSTA members outside of the USA, and of course benefiting all CSTA members as a result.

Michelle Lagos: Representative at Large
Hey there CSTA Members: I work at the American School of Tegucigalpa in Honduras as the Computer Science Department Head and grades 9-12 CS teacher. I am Honduran born and raised with a passion for Computer Science Education. As many of our members, I stumbled into teaching Computer Science. CS ED is not my first mayor, I am a Computer Sciences Engineer who started teaching CS when I was finishing college and got hooked on it. After two years doing full IT work as the IT officer for Latin America & the Caribbean for a British organization called Christian Aid, I realized that my passion was teaching and therefore I decided to become a teacher for good. I have been a CSTA member since 2008 and am currently one of the two Representatives at Large on the Board of Directors. I am running to serve a second term in the same position. My first experience with the CSTA board was in 2012 when I ran for the International Representative position. At that moment the 2011 version of the CSTA standards was our main focus as it had been recently released. I had the amazing opportunity of working in the Curriculum committee alongside Deborah Seehorn and Tammy Pirmann. One project that I am proud of during this term is getting our standards translated into Spanish which turned out to be a very helpful tool for international members. If you have attended the CSTA conference there is a chance you have seen me at the registration table or volunteering around. Volunteering during a conference is a lot of fun and you get to do some great networking with fellow CS teachers as well as get to know vendors that can provide you with tools that can help your instruction. Working on the board of directors is about having conversations on how to support our teachers in the best way possible. It is bringing the voice of the members to a table of CS leaders that have our best interests at heart. During this time, I’ve had the honor to work with and learn from people that are very well respected in the CS ED area. I would really be honored if our membership allows me to keep on working with the board and see some projects that are on their way to be fulfilled. Thank you for the support you have shown me so far.

Dr. Amy Fox: 9-12 Representative
I am currently the founder and President of the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter, which chartered in the summer of 2015. We currently have over 20 districts involved spanning 3 counties in New York State. I am grateful for the opportunity to potentially serve in this position to help further the goals of the CSTA and our local chapter. I believe working with CSTA members and chapters from all over the country will help me understand the challenges of computer science teachers in diverse school settings and learn about CS policies from all over the country. This knowledge, in turn, can help the chapter grow in our ability to reach out to the greater community and understand NYS computer science policies and trends. It is my goal to both learn from and contribute to the membership in ways that enhance computer science education for all students.

Miles Berry: International Representative
It’s been my privilege to serve the CS education community as the international rep on CSTA’s board for the last couple of years. I’ve had some great opportunities to visit other countries to share what we’re learning about implementing computing education for all back in England, and to learn how other countries are introducing CS in their schools. Let me share four great projects here. For anyone interested in laying a foundation for CS in kindergarten, it’s hard to do better than Linda Liukas’s Hello Ruby work in Finland. Linda has written and illustrated a series of three books, each featuring Ruby, a small girl with powers of logic, perseverance and imagination. Alongside the books, has a great set of unplugged, craft-based activities through which young children can learn computational thinking and what happens inside a computer. New Zealand’s Tim Bell has just received SIGCSE’s outstanding contribution to CS education award. Tim’s CS Unplugged takes some of the harder ideas from CS and makes these accessible to children (and teachers) through practical, classroom based activities. More recently, he and his team have plugged some of this back in, with companion coding activities in Scratch. His CS Field Guide is brilliant too, for those learning or teaching CS at high school level. There are so many fab CS education initiatives in the USA, but if I have to pick one, it would have to be Scratch, from Mitch Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten team at MIT. For me, the wonderful thing about Scratch is not its block-based approach to building (rather than writing) code, but rather the global community of young coders that has grown up around it, with a vibrant culture of sharing, remixing and informal learning. It’s also great how Scratch has led on to the development of other tools like Scratch Jr, Snap! and GP. Finally, I have to mention the ‘problem solving activities for computational thinkers’ textbooks that have been developed by KOFAC in South Korea, covering topics such as AI, the internet of things and gene editing. The books combine authoritative, engaging text with practical activities, some unplugged, but others using Korea’s equivalent of Scratch, Entry. I’ve uploaded English translations to Computing At School’s site at I talk a little about these projects, as well as coding competitions in Singapore, in a presentation I gave at Microsoft in Reading, England last November:

Kristeen Shabram: K-8 Representative
I am extremely excited to be nominated as one of the candidates for K-8 Representative on the CSTA Board. For the past four years, I have taught computer science at the middle level. During this time, I have worked diligently to bring computer science education to all 7th and 8th grade students in my school district. I have also collaborated with K-6 teachers in my school district on integrating computer science concepts into their curriculum. As a Career and Technical educator, I feel it is my responsibility to equip students with the skills needed to be successful as they enter the workforce. A solid foundation of computer science knowledge is essential to achieving that success. Currently, I am in my second year as Chapter President of my local CSTA chapter. In this role, I am serving as a change agent by providing opportunities for teachers in my community to learn about the latest research, tools, and curriculum in computer science education. I am also working to build a strong network of teachers that are passionate about promoting computer science education in my community. My passion and enthusiasm for helping younger students develop a solid foundation of computer science knowledge is what makes me a strong candidate for the K-8 Representative. If elected, I am motivated to provide teachers with innovative curriculum and professional development opportunities that will equip them with best practices when teaching computer science. If teachers have these resources, it will better prepare them to integrate computer science in their classrooms in relevant and meaningful ways, as well as prepare students for the future.

Chinma Uche: 9-12 Representative
In the summer of 2003, five Connecticut AP Computer Science teachers met to discuss how to support each other as the College Board was switching the language of AP CS A from C++ to Java. After that meeting, Connecticut CSTA (CTCSTA) was formed. CTCSTA started the process of joining the national CSTA body in 2004, and became a chapter of CSTA with myself as President in 2009.
CSTA was a small organization of members who believed that CS should be taught to all students. It comprised of people who were ready to dedicate their time and personal resources to advocate for CS. As a member of the CSTA Leadership Cohort, I formed lasting relationships with other CSTA colleagues, benefited from CSTA training, and advocated for CS education for all students. I presented at conferences nationwide and participated in many panels on CS education.
I took what I learned from CSTA to work in Connecticut. I wrote numerous letters to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), which led to the formation of the CSDE’s CS Advisory Committee. I presented before the Education Committee and others, and have contributed greatly to the growth of CS in Connecticut. As co-creator of Mobile CSP, a College Board endorsed AP CSP course which has trained more than 200 teachers nationwide, I have contributed greatly to the development of CS teachers, leaders, and Master Teachers. CS leaders have been locally grown in Connecticut and are now leading their own projects, in part due to this course and the supportive community in CT. I actively supported bringing ECEP and ECS to Connecticut, to create additional resources for students and teachers. I advocated for teachers to be treated as professionals and paid respectably for their time. Within Connecticut, I negotiated and brought weekend and summer opportunities for CTCSTA members. My support of CS education includes serving as a Fundamentals facilitator, since 2014, by training K-5 teachers in CS.
I have been a math teacher for more than 30 years and a CS teacher for more than 15 years. CSTA has been supportive of my work and training. CSTA helped me appreciate the role CS plays in national competitiveness, and understand issues of equity and social justice as they relate to CS education. I benefited from the CS community’s willingness to share resources. The support that I received over the years has led me to commit to supporting others. I see the need for thorough training for teachers so they can be confident of their skill levels before going before students. I also see the importance of providing necessary support for teachers during the school year, given the nature of the K-12 teacher’s school day. Currently, I serve on the CSTA Board in the Chapters and Professional Development committees and I ask for your vote to continue to bring my years of experience to CSTA activities. This is important given the need to bring CS to all students, which requires the development of a new skill set for creating an inclusive classroom. I want to remain a voice at CSTA for teachers, as we march towards #CSFORALL.