Teacher Leaders


Darby Feldwinn

Chemistry and Scitrek; UCSB


Darby is one of the co-directors of the SCSP and director and founder of SciTrek. At UCSB she teaches classes in both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Education. As director of SciTrek she is often seen in local 2nd - 5th grade classrooms helping carry out long-term science investigations. In her free time she can be found hanging out with her dogs, gardening, or corralling her chickens, turkeys, and geese.

Mandi de Witte

AP Biology, Honors Biology, Environmental Science; Carpinteria High School, Carpinteria


Mandi is a proud UCSB Gaucho alumni with her B.S. in Microbiology and M.Ed. in Science Education. She currently serves as Science Department Chair at Carpinteria High School, where she teaches AP Biology, Environmental Science, and Honors Biology. She LOVES working with high school students! Before joining the CUSD team, she taught for 6 years in Ventura Unified, splitting her time between teaching Biology at Buena High School and Will Rogers Elementary as the K-5 Science Specialist. Working with the Will Rogers K-5 teacher team to design and implement NGSS-aligned, inquiry-based, and hands-on science lessons led to her involvement in the South Coast Science Project. She joined SCSP in 2014 as a teacher leader and life science content specialist, and has served as co-director since 2016. Mandi loves living in Santa Barbara and enjoys the beach, sports, and using her creative side to paint and cook. You can follow her Instagram @mrsdewittebio to see a glimpse inside her classroom.

Teacher Leaders for 2018 Summer Institute

Hortencia Corral

ELD TOSA; Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara


Hortencia was born and raised in good ol' Santa Barbara. She has taught in "English Only", "Structured English Immersion", and "Dual Immersion" classrooms both in straight grade levels and combination classrooms. Besides being a South Coast Science Project Teacher Leader, she is South Coast Writing Project Fellow. She has two children and a 10 year old labrador retriever named Dallas who loves to be scratched on the tummy. She has been featured on Lesson Planet and most recently on PD Learning Network. You can find her Twitter at @HeyTencha.

Janis Spracher

5th and 6th Grade STEM; Monte Vista Elementary School, Santa Barbara


Janis has taught for 21 years in the Hope School District and is currently the 5th/6th grade STEM teacher at Monte Vista. Her work with the Teacher Induction Program, PASC, and the UCSB Teacher Education Program has given her the opportunity to mentor and learn from many other teachers. When she is not in the classroom or thinking and talking about teaching and learning, Janis is usually devouring a book, relaxing with her family, or pampering her cats.


Kim Castagna

6th Grade Math and Science; Carpinteria Middle School, Carpinteria


Kim has been teaching for over 33 years (yikes!) and LOVES teaching science. She is a national trainer for JASON Learning and has presented science lessons at many local, state and national conferences with Jennifer. Kim used to be a cowgirl, competing in rodeos and showing livestock at fairs.

Lauri Dahlin

4th Grade; Peabody Charter School, Santa Barbara


Lauri has been teaching elementary students for more than twenty years. Science has always been her favorite subject, leading to her involvement with the South Coast Science Project. Lauri came to Santa Barbara to study Aquatic Biology at UCSB. She had always dreamed of living by the ocean, so she believes that dreams really do come true!

Marta Ulvaeus

4th - 6th Grade Science, Open Classroom, Ventura


Marta's goal as an educator is to inspire curiosity and a love of learning in all of her students. She facilitates this by providing integrated project-based collaborative learning opportunities for her students.

Nichole Hughes

5th Grade; Summerland Elementary School, Summerland


Nichole first attended the South Coast Science Project in 2016, and enjoyed it so much she jumped right in to being a teacher leader in 2017! She loves the hands-on lesson plan ideas and found two grants to purchase all of the materials needed for all 4th and 5th grade lessons. She can't wait to share her science and grant writing knowledge with so many other teachers!

Patty Malone

6th grade; Montecito Union School, Montecito 


Patty has always been a scientist at heart, but made a big mistake and became an attorney. Making a midlife career switch to education, she has taught in the Hope and Montecito Union School Districts. In her free time, you will find her walking her dogs, lurking around the library, greeting grunion, counting gray whales, or exploring tidepools.

Rodney Lee

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Science Teacher; Marymount, Santa Barbara


Rodney has been teaching at the elementary & middle school levels for the past 20 years, and is also an instructor for CSET test prep courses in the LAUSD since 2002, specializing in Math & Science.