Stephanie Lester has always had a love for science and for nature and has always had a vast array of pets—from snakes to tarantulas to tortoises to chickens. She entered college as a wildlife management major and after substituting in the child development center realized she was in love with teaching. Luckily her two passions, science and children, work very well together since children are natural scientists. In all her teaching experience, she has always focused on integrating all curricular areas through science to provide relevant, engaging learning experiences in which students experience success.
Stephanie shared her love for science with her students as she spent over ten years as a preschool teacher, moved up to Kindergarten, then planned and implemented a science-based multiage curriculum for Kindergarten-First grade children for over ten years. During those years, Stephanie also began presenting hands-on workshops and training for teachers focusing on a wide variety of topics but usually finding a way to sneak science into each training. She left the classroom to serve as an Assistant Principal, then as director of a preschool program for her local school district. During her seven years leading the program, she provided the guidance necessary to transform the program into a high-quality project-based STEM program that included over 25 general education and special education preschool classrooms serving over 800 preschool families. Stephanie’s two books: Year-Round Project-Based Activities for STEM and Science Through the Year provide teachers with engaging, science projects that encourage children to explore and experiment.
She also served as the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for a preschool – eighth grade public school district. Stephanie is completing her twentieth year as a Child and Family Education college instructor, which provides her with the opportunity to prepare teachers to provide developmentally appropriate educational experiences for their students. Rounding out her experience, Ms. Lester served on the California Governor’s Reading and Literacy Project as a keynote speaker for several years. She is currently an educational consultant providing training and support to preschool through high school teachers.
Stephanie loves spending as much time as possible with her family and especially exploring with her grandchildren. Having coached all three of her own children in multiple sports (softball, soccer, volleyball) and many of her friends’ children, she can’t wait for the youngest grandchildren to be old enough for her to coach. A California native, she currently lives in the Antelope Valley with her husband, Jim, and loves traveling, sports, gardening, animals, and of course, creating hands-on STEM activities to share with teachers.