You are here

Wisconsin Leads in Math & Science

Wisconsin Leads was a collaboration with WISCIENCE, the Education Outreach and Partnerships (EOP) office in the School of Education, the Division of Continuing Studies, the Madison Metropolitan School District, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies 2 and 6. The program provided professional development workshops of varying lengths for middle school math and science teachers. WISCIENCE staff members were involved in holding 4‐6 workshops each year, serving approximately 20 teachers a year.

Wisconsin Leads brought in well in excess of $1,000,000 from campus and state sources including $800,000 from the Baldwin and Chancellor’s funds and a successful three‐year Title IIB funded program for Madison Metropolitan School District and CESA 2 using an existing partnership with WestEd. WestEd is a non‐profit educational materials development and professional development provider headquartered in California. The Title grant used their research-based Making Sense of Science™ materials for middle school science teachers.

In 2012, six weeks of courses were taught jointly by UW‐Madison, MMSD, CESA 2 and selected CESA 2 school district personnel with a total enrollment of around 100 teachers. Wisconsin Leads also successfully completed a two‐year Science Center for 30 teachers from 12 school districts in the CESA 6 area. School districts contracted with CESA 6 for their teachers to participate in the Science Center program. Sixteen days of instruction were offered over the course of two academic years (2010‐12). Specific content area experts from UW‐Madison (14), UW‐Oshkosh (4), and other partners (2), were brought in to share their science with the teachers. The connecting and integrating activities were done by the Wisconsin Leads primary partners (WISCIENCE, EOP, CESA 6).

Kevin Niemi

Director of Outreach Programs
Contact Info

(608) 262-5480


Room 103A

445 Henry Mall

Madison, WI 53706

My work at WISCIENCE spans all areas of K-12 science education outreach, with a particular focus on teacher professional development. Beyond offering professional development sessions and workshops, I am very involved in national dialogues around science education and outreach/broader impacts. I contributed to the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and am committed to ensuring educators have the support they need around implementation. In 2014, I co-authored Introducing Teachers and Administrators to the NGSS: A Professional Development Facilitator’s Guide, published by the National Science Teachers Association Press.

I have provided professional development sessions, workshops, and presentations in science education in Wisconsin and across the United States, and I have consulted extensively with the Ministry of Education and numerous universities in Thailand. I have served on the professional development committees with both the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), and I am a past President and current CFO of the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST). 

I received my Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Minnesota and subsequently did a postdoctoral stint in the Biochemistry Department at UW-Madison, taught in the Biology department at Grinnell College, and served as the first education coordinator for Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI. I have been with UW-Madison since 1996 in my outreach and community engagement role.