Leadership in the elements for Tisbury science teacher

Tisbury School science teacher Lynn Gatchell takes office as president of the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers (MAST) on October 21.

Ms. Gatchell is the chairman of MAST’s two-day conference that takes place in Boxboro this year. Her new title will be conferred on her during the conference’s annual banquet.

About 1,000 science educators belong to MAST, according to Ms. Gatchell. “I will be very proud to be president,” she said.

MAST’s board of directors includes representatives from every county in Massachusetts. Ms. Gatchell represented Dukes County on the board for two years.

“We have a county that’s really, really pushing on the science, and if you look at our schools, our science program is extraordinary,” Ms. Gatchell said in a phone call last week.

MAST’s executive officers must be willing to make an eight-year commitment, with progression through two-year terms, starting as vice president, and then president elect, president, and past president, Ms. Gatchell said.

Every year MAST hosts an annual conference and conducts professional development training. The organization also maintains a directory of science educators and a listing of available jobs.

Ms. Gatchell started at Tisbury School as a full-time substitute science teacher in 1975 and went full-time as a grade 5-6 science teacher in 1976.

“Tisbury School has given me all the tools I’ve ever asked for,” Ms. Gatchell said. “It’s unbelievable. We have such a great support staff at the school.”

She said she has always enjoyed teaching fifth- and sixth-graders because of their incredible curiosity. And, to entice their interest in science she tells them, “Scientists have all the toys.”

In addition to all the toys, Ms. Gatchell and her husband Bob have the Christmas lights to go with them. For more than 30 years they have created a magnificent annual display with thousands of lights and a yard full of decorations at their Oak Bluffs home on County Road that dazzles and delights Islanders and holiday visitors.