About STEP


Everyone interested in becoming a tk-12 STEM teacher in the North Bay has an accessible and appropriate pathway allowing them to thrive as a socially, culturally, linguistically responsive STEM teacher. 


Provide high quality programs and services to recruit, support, and develop individuals to become socially, culturally, and linguistically responsive tk-12 STEM teachers

Core Values

Prospective, pre-service, and early career STEM teachers thrive when they...

  • receive financial support to focus on their own development as a STEM teacher
  • participate in a community of learners
  • are advised and mentored the years leading up to and while becoming a STEM teacher
  • participate in programs that foster socially, culturally, and linguistically responsive teaching dispositions and core teaching practices  

Supporting Funding 

MSTI: The Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) provides support for prospective students and inservice teachers to network in the math and science teaching community. MSTI is a collaboration between the School of Education and the School of Science and Technology to support future and current math and science teachers. MSTI is part of a CSU system-wide project to increase math and science teachers, and will play a big role in addressing an acute math and science teacher shortage (30,000 in the next 10 years)

CTC: The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) is supporting and funding the collaboration between Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) to operate teacher residency pathways within teacher preparation programs. 


Ed Lyon (Co-Director) 

Ed Lyon

I engage in teaching, scholarship, and service to address how middle and high school science teachers can best implement instructional and assessment practices that promote scientific sense-making and literacy development in multilingual classrooms. As a Co-Principal Investigator for the NSF funded Secondary Science Teaching with English Language and Literacy Acquisition (SSTELLA) Project, my colleagues and I have developed and researched innovative approaches in secondary science method courses to better prepare new science teachers to teach English learners. I have also studied how new and experienced science teachers come to develop expertise at assessing science learning responsively in multilingual classrooms. This scholarship has helped me frame my teaching for single subject candidates around a set of high leverage teaching practices that candidates experience analyze, and approximate in the context of new national teaching priorities and standards, namely Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core. 

Rajeev Virmani (Co-Director)

Rajeev Virmani

Dr. Rajeev Virmani is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Curriculum Studies and Secondary Education at Sonoma State University. Virmani has focused on providing rich learning experiences for preservice and inservice teachers to improve their skills and knowledge for teaching mathematics and ultimately support student learning. His research and teaching centers on eliciting and attending to student thinking. Virmani collaborates with teacher educators and practitioners to develop learning environments that provide opportunities to learn about teaching practices through pedagogies that approximate practice. In particular, he uses rehearsals of instructional activities with teachers to engage in and reflect upon equitable pedagogical practices, student thinking, and mathematics content. He has extended this work to embed mathematics methods courses in school classrooms in which teachers have authentic interactions with students and build upon student mathematical, cultural, and linguistic strengths.


Rachel Freed (Program Coordinator) 

Rachel Freed

Rachel Freed is a co-founder and the President of the Institute for Student Astronomical Research (InStAR), as well as a seminar instructor, with a mission to incorporate true scientific research into secondary and undergraduate education. She helps to coordinate international conferences around the use of telescopes in education and is currently working on a PhD in astronomy education. She is also a faculty lecturer in the School of Education at Sonoma State University. She has a B.S. degree in Biology from UC Davis and an M.S. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University, where she studied neural transmission using confocal microscopy and electrophysiology.

Rachel taught high school chemistry and astronomy for 10 years, and has conducted research on chemistry education, helping to design, build and evaluate an online formative assessment system for high school chemistry. She is involved in curriculum design and implementation and trains educators in the use of technology and remote telescopes for research. She has been an amateur astronomer for 20 years and is involved in public outreach. She is a public speaker with a focus on bringing telescopes to students around the globe as well as promoting changes in education that build on a child’s intrinsic motivations and interests. 


Megan D'Errico (Science & Technology Advisor/Liaison) 

Megan D'Errico

Dr. D’Errico supports STEP by recruiting new undergraduate students to math and science teaching. She can assist students in selecting a major, prerequisite courses and undergraduate degree requirements. She offers Pathways to Teaching workshops every semester in coordination with the School of Education, Financial Aid and PUERTA.

Poonam Rani (Administrative Coordinator) 

Poonam Rani

Poonam Rani is the Administrative Coordinator of CSSE, ELSE, LSEE and MSTI Program. She is currently enrolled in the MA in Education (Curriculum, Teaching & Learning) Program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Management) from Chico State University.