The Knowles Teacher Initiative invests not only in teachers’ learning but also in teacher leadership to transform math and science education for each and every student. That investment is a game changer for teachers and their students—it’s the reason why I am committed to serving on the Board of Trustees.”
Melissa Braaten is an associate professor of science education and co-chair of elementary teacher education at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she’s been since 2016. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she was the program director for secondary science education. Melissa graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in education. Her PhD in 2011 is from the University of Washington in curriculum and instruction and science education. Her dissertation won the 2012 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award from NARST, a global organization for improving science education through research.
Melissa has authored or co-authored over 20 journal articles and book chapters, and she co-authored a widely read and influential book, Ambitious Science Teaching (2018), through Harvard Education Press. Her research aims to understand more about how teachers learn to teach science across multiple contexts for professional learning including pre-service preparation of teachers in coursework and field experiences, professional learning in designed settings such as professional development for teachers, and professional learning that takes place ‘on the job’ in the day-to-day work of teachers in schools. She uses a variety of approaches to study science teachers’ learning including: design-based research iteratively improving designs for teacher learning environments through cycles of research and development; narrative inquiries conducted in close relationship with teachers as they work to analyze, interpret, and improve their practice; and school ethnography conducted with a team of researchers to make meaning of the complex, often paradoxical, contexts of teaching and learning in schools. She taught upper elementary, middle, and high school science for 13 years in Texas and in South Seattle before receiving her doctorate.
Prior to being elected to the Knowles Board of Trustees in May 2022, Melissa served as a Knowles selection advisor for 10 years.