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Member Profile

Lisa Wachtel



  • K-12 Administrator 


Lisa A. Wachtel, Ph.D. - Brief Bio
Madison Metropolitan School District

Lisa Wachtel is the Executive Director of Teaching & Learning Department for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Lisa received a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and Ecology from UW-Oshkosh in 1982, a Master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from UW-Madison in 1990, and a Ph.D. from UW-Madison in Curriculum & Instruction in 1995. Her doctoral research analyzed expert teaching strategies and beliefs supporting multicultural science education. Teaching experience includes middle school science, high school biology, and pre-service science education. From 1990 -96 Lisa worked as a Biological Outreach Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Biology Education. In 1996, Lisa accepted employment with MMSD as a Science Support Teacher. From1998 Lisa has been the K-12 Science Coordinator for the district's 46 schools and 25,000 students. In 2002 the role of Environmental Education was also added to her district responsibilities. In 2006, Dr. Wachtel accepted the position of Executive Director of the Teaching & Learning Department. Lisa is also a member of the Senior Management Team and Learning Council for MMSD.

In addition to district leadership in science and environmental education, Lisa also actively participates in Teaching & Learning initiatives. Among the district instructional improvements she has been involved with are: elementary and middle school standards-based report card development; examination of equity and access in K-12 educational practices; support of high quality teacher hiring and placement policies; and co-development of a year-long research-based course for new teachers.

In 1990, Lisa was hired by UW-Madison to direct the Institute for Multicultural Science Education, funded by the National Science Foundation. Lisa co-authored two successive NSF multicultural science education grants while at UW-Madison funding 2-year professional development for science teachers in Madison and Milwaukee. She currently serves as a senior staff member in the 5-year NSF Math and Science Partnership Program (NSF 02-061) entitled System-Wide Change for All Learners and Educators and is the Madison Center Director for the 4-year NSF project Assessing Science Knowledge, conducted at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA.

Lisa has participated on several Department of Public Instruction task forces, including: co-writing the 2002 "Planning Curriculum in Science", benchmarking the WKCE; high school graduation test development; and most currently, the Framework Document in Science (2004-2005) in tangent with the developing the Blueprint for the WKCE customized science test. She was invited to present her district accomplishments in K-8 science reform at the Wisconsin Promise Conference at the Monona Terrace in January 2005.

Lisa has been a member of the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST) since 1985, a member of ASCD since 1999, and has served as the president of the Wisconsin Science Education Leadership Association since 2002.