NGSS Writing Team Member: Julie Olson

Julie Olson has been teaching high school science for twenty-four years – the past twenty at Mitchell Senior High in Mitchell, SD.  Classes taught include: Advanced Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, College Prep Chemistry, and Biology.  The Science Fair, Science Olympiad, and ECOS (Environmental Club) are student organizations she mentors throughout the year.  She is an adjunct professor of Biology for Dakota Wesleyan University (teaching Microbiology, Physiology, Secondary Science Teaching Methods, and Environmental Science) as well as Northern State University (teaching Biology).  She has mentored several student teachers over the years.  During the summers, she teaches science mini-courses for elementary and middle school aged children through the parks and recreation programming.  She has a BS and MA in Biology from the University of South Dakota.

A current SSP (Society for Science and the Public) Fellow, South Dakota Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, Rotary Teacher, and 2007 Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching, Mrs. Olson is very involved in science throughout the state with participation in initiatives such as curriculum development for Science on the Move (a mobile science lab) and the JAMES Project (statewide water quality project).  She is the current co-editor of the South Dakota Science Teachers’ Association newsletter and president-elect.  Julie is on the Science Olympiad Board of Directors and has participated on the NAEP cut score team, PAEMST (The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching) review, North Central University Accreditation Review Team, and the South Dakota Chemistry PRAXIS test review.  Toshiba America Foundation, South Dakota Department of Education, NASA Summer of Innovation, and Society for Science and the Public are a few of the many grants she has earned to enhance science education and student research in her district.

She currently serves as the co-chair for the NCA (North Central Accreditation) review for her school as well as Science Department chair, Principal’ Leadership team, Principal’s Cabinet, and the Science Curriculum Review chair.  She lives in Mitchell, SD with her husband Mel and two college-aged children.