New Jersey Science Education Leadership Association History

In 1967, an informal meeting of K-12 science supervisors was called together by Don Peck of Scotch Plains and Fred Laspe of Millburn to discuss mutual concerns. This led to a formal organizational meeting in 1968 in Trenton in the office of Ken Fowler, State Consultant in Science. The organization was named the New Jersey Science Supervisors Association. Twenty four founding members attended with Don elected as the first President of NJSSA. Dues were set at $2.00. The rest is history, and here are highlights from the archives:


  • Constitution ratified
  • Affiliated with NSSA and NJSTA


  • NJSSA and FDU survey of K-9 science inservice programs. Data used to apply for NSF Cooperative College School Science Program Grant
  • First Secondary Science Survey conducted


  • First Secondary Science Survey published


  • (Summers) NJSSA and FDU conduct NSF sponsored Leadership Specialists Workshops in SAPA, ESS, and SCIS


  • First Science Materials Exhibit (SCIMEX) in Sommerville


  • SCIMEX held in Morristown


  • SCIMEX held in Morristown


  • First joint November meeting of NJSSA and NJSTA to discuss options for program to be held in a central location and to contact BCSSA regarding their interest
  • Second joint meeting held in December to set details of a state wide meeting to be named the New Jersey Science Convention (NJSC)
  • BCSSA not interested, will sponsor its own SCIMEX


  • First NJSSA Newsletter published
  • First NJSC held October 13 - 14 at the Coachman Inn, Cranford; attendance over 600, over 66 programs, Banquet speaker Dr. George Wald, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University


  • NJSSA and NSSA collaborate with the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation to sponsor the NJ Edison Centennial Scholarships


NJSSA initiates process for tax exemption


  • Research Grant established
  • Science Department Award established
  • Outstanding Elementary and K-9 Science Specialists Awards established
  • Distinguished Service Award established


  • First Open Forum at NJSC conducted
  • Survey of Science Teaching in the Secondary Schools published
  • NJSSA banner designed and purchased


  • NJSSA incorporated and official seal obtained
  • Professional Improvement Plans in Science Manual published
  • Certificate of Incorporation amended to read, The Science Supervisors Association of New Jersey
  • Survey of Accidents in the Secondary Schools’ Science Laboratories published
  • All publications made available to membership for a fee
  • Job Information Service inaugurated


  • President’s Award established
  • NJSSA logo lapel pin designed and offered to the membership
  • First Hoffmann La-Roche grant to NJSSA for sponsorship of summer grants to biology teachers to work at Roche's Institute of Molecular Biology
  • Past President, Joseph Krajkovich named NSSA Nation’s Outstanding Science Supervisor
  • NJSSA Elementary Science Survey published and reveals serious deficiencies in the state’s elementary science programs and makes recommendations for improvement. Wide spread publicity in NY Times and Star-Ledger. NJSSA makes specific recommendations to the State Department of Education


  • NJSSA publishes and copy rights the first Science Safety in the Secondary Schools: A Resource Manual for Teachers funded through a grant from Hofamann-LaRoche
  • NJSSA cosponsors with NJSTA and FDU the Center for Elementary Science with funding from Merck
  • Outstanding Science Supervisors Award established
  • First Elementary Science Safety Manual published by the NJDOE with participation of NJSSA


  • NJSSA provides testimony to the NJDOE High School Graduation Review Panel
  • Tax exempt status granted by the IRS retroactive to 1984
  • Survey of Science Teaching in the Secondary Schools published


  • Mary Ann Hull and Elmer Dey designated NJSSA representatives to the People to People Ambassadors to China program


  • NJSSA and Hoffmann-LaRoche institute a student research program
  • Survey of Science Teaching in the Elementary School published


  • NJSSA membership brochure developed
  • NJSSA members work with the NJDOE to develop Core Course Proficiencies


  • Survey of Science Teaching in the Secondary Schools published
  • NJSSA conducts Right to Know Survey of membership regarding their responsibilities


  • NJSSA receives grant from Hoffmann-LaRoche, with the cooperation of the Hastings Center, to institute a bioethics project and training program for secondary teachers in the program, New Choices, New Responsibilities. *NJSSA publishes position paper on The Role of the Science Supervisor in Implementing the RTK Program
  • Coordinates with NSSA to conduct the first NJ SCILINC Leadership Training Sessions for Science Supervisors
  • Coordinates with SAMPE to sponsor the first Secondary School Bridge Building Contest


  • NJSSA, NJSTA, and Rutgers University form a coalition to establish the first NJ Statewide Systemic Initiative
  • NJSSA and NJSTA cosponsor the first NJ Science Olympiad


  • NJSSA encourages the NJDOE to implement the NJ Science Content Standards


  • First NJSSA Supervisors’ Forums conducted in three locations in the state
  • Three position papers published on: Class Size in Science Labs/Classrooms, Science Teaching Conditions, and Science Education and Multi-culturism


  • NJSSA receives grant from Hoffmann-LaRoche to implement the Roche Summer Biology Teacher Summer Grant Program for secondary biology teachers
  • NJSSA works with NJDOE and Merck Institute for Science Education in developing Science Framework, K-12


  • Position papers on Science Integrations and Elementary Science Education published
  • Past President, Tom Fangman named the National Science Education Leadership Association Supervisor of the Year


  • NJSSA and NSTA launch initiative in NJ, Building a Presence for Science
  • First Science Leadership Forum


  • Corporate name of NJSSA changed to the Science Education Leadership Association of New Jersey and to be known as NJSELA. This change was instituted in response to the changing roles of those responsible for science education programs
  • NJSELA participates in ad hoc committee to develop changes to science teacher certification requirements at all levels
  • Ad hoc Certification Committee meets with NJDOE officials to discuss proposed recommendations
  • Ad hoc committee joins with NJSSI Pre-Service Advisory Council
  • All NJSSA/NJSELA Past Presidents honored at NJSC Awards Banquet


  • Student contest initiated for new NJSELA logo
  • Web site established,
  • NJSSI Pre-Service Advisory Council recommendations for changes to science teacher certification standards, along with NJSELA recommendations made to Commissioner of Education. *NJSELA presents recommendations for elementary (K-6), middle school (6-8), and secondary (6-12) at NJSC
  • NJSELA conducts state-wide staffing survey
  • NJSELA banner designed and ordered


  • Position paper on Performance Assessment published
  • New name of organization registered with the State of New Jersey
  • NJSELA logo lapel pin designed and ordered


  • Doris White Scholarship established
  • NJSELA collaborates with NSELA to sponsor 2005 Summer National Leadership Institute
  • NJSELA conducts Alternate Route Teacher Certification Survey


  • NJSELA petitions NJBOE recommending the use of licensed, retired science teachers to serve as mentors to alternate route science teachers
  • NJSELA and Hoffmann-LaRoche collaborate to develop a Teacher’s Guide for the Roche Genetics Education Program CD-ROM
  • Outstanding Science Education Leadership Award changed to J. Thomas Fangman Science Education Leadership Award
  • First NJSELA Recruitment Retreat and Dinner held


  • NJSELA gives notice to NJ Science Olympiad it will no longer maintain fiduciary responsibilities for NJSO
  • NJSELA Executive Committee approves review and recommendations for all awards, grants, and scholarships
  • NJSELA Executive Committee Resource Manual Developed: Constitution, Position Papers, Awards, Grants, and Scholarships, and Incorporation and Tax Exempt Information
  • NJSELA/NSELA Summer National Leadership Institute canceled due to poor registration. Web site updated and expanded


  • Executive Committee approves the establishment of Science Supervisor Round Tables to be conducted in various regions of the state
  • NJSELA committee reviews safety materials for EPA
  • Fall Forum features new state science coordinator, Michael Heinz
  • First Science Supervisors Round Table held in Livingston (December)
  • Executive Committee approves the payment of membership on line
  • NJSELA membership representation on the NJ Science Convention Steering Committee questioned, discussed, researched, and clarified. Sixteen (16) committee members represent NJSELA
  • Roche and NJSELA announce new product - Roche Genetics Education - Lab To Class Project. First teacher training session held in summer
  • NJSELA Executive Committee votes in favor of changing NJSC Constitution requirement for a quorum to a simple majority with at least 33% of representatives from each organization present.
  • NJSELA Position Statements, History of the organization, list of Past Presidents, and Awards, Grants, and Scholarships added to the web site
  • Membership approves a Position Statement on the Teaching of Evolution


  • NJSELA becomes first state to fully affiliate with the National Science Education Leadership Association, or NSELA, which means science leaders in New Jersey simultaneously hold memberships in both organizations