STEM Committee

The mission of BFA is to develop young adults with character like America’s founding Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin: well-read, scientifically curious, and civically engaged.  BFA students are challenged through a sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, and literacy.  The BFA STEM Committee organizes several events and activities throughout the year to enrich science, technology, engineering, and math education for students. For the 2016/2017 school year, these include:

  • The STEM Expo
  • Fruit Toss Club
  • Destination Imagination
  • Green Team
  • Science Fair
  • Math Enrichment, and
  • Hour of Code Weeks

The STEM Committee consists of nine voting members and several non-voting members, in addition to a faculty and School Board liaison. The STEM Committee is always looking for volunteers…even if you are not a rocket scientist!  We invite you to join us at our monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of every month. If you have questions, please email the STEM Committee.

STEM Committee By-laws

SECTION  1.  BEN FRANKLIN ACADEMY

Mission

The mission of Ben Franklin Academy (“BFA”) is to develop young adults with character like America’s founding Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin: well-read, scientifically curious, and civically engaged.

Vision

Our students will excel academically through a challenging, sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, and literacy.  We will be a data driven institution, focusing on individual students.  Our students, teachers, parents, staff, and leaders will be held accountable for the success of our school.  Finally, we recognize that an education is incomplete without fostering the arts, sports, nature, and character.

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to set forth the bylaws of Ben Franklin Academy’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Committee, hereinafter referred to as the “STEM Committee” or the “Committee.”

SECTION 2.  PURPOSE OF THE STEM COMMITTEE

The purpose of the STEM Committee is to raise the bar at BFA, as well as the larger community, with regard to education in science, technology, engineering, and math in order to better prepare the students at BFA for success in today’s increasingly high tech world.  The goal of the Committee is to broaden the STEM related educational experience of students through:

  • Improving the attainment in, interaction with, and experiences of the STEM subjects among students
  • Enriching, enhancing, and extending the STEM related curriculum at BFA
  • Improving collaboration between BFA, industry, government, and academia
  • Encouraging students to continue their education in STEM subjects

The Committee will act as a resource to the administration and staff on innovative and engaging STEM related curriculum ideas, as well as extracurricular activities.  The STEM Committee will identify and organize speakers and provide expertise for BFA teachers as needed.  The Committee will also be tasked with organizing STEM related clubs for students after school, as well as the annual STEM Expo and Fair at BFA.

SECTION 3.  MEMBERSHIP

Composition

The STEM Committee shall consist of voting members, one faculty liaison, and one BFA Board of Directors liaison. The Committee shall have no fewer than three and no more than nine voting members. The exact number of members shall be set by the committee members from time to time. Membership in the Committee is not subject to being a parent or legal guardian of a student enrolled at BFA, but these requirements may be amended by the voting members annually.  No current member of the BFA Board of Directors shall serve as a voting member. Additionally no individual shall serve as a voting member at any time during which (i) that individual’s spouse is on the BFA Board, or (ii) he or she is a permanent paid employee of Ben FranklinAcademy. All members shall have equal rights and privileges.  The faculty liaison shall be one teacher or administrator at BFA.  The BFA Board Liaison shall be a current member of the BFA Board of Directors.

Selection

The STEM Committee Chair shall be appointed by the Ben Franklin Board of Directors, and its members selected by the current voting members.  Members will be selected by a majority vote of the current members.  Parents interested in serving on the STEM Committee shall submit a letter of interest to the Chair for consideration.

Term

In its initial year, there shall be eight members of the Committee.  Of the initial eight members, four shall serve for an initial term of two years, and four shall serve for an initial term of one year. All subsequent members of the Committee, following the initial eight members, shall serve for a term of two years.  For the purpose of retaining best practices in the Committee, approximately one-half of the members will have their terms expire in any given year after the inaugural school year. Once a member reaches his or her term limit, he or she may request to be considered for a new term, but may not exceed four consecutive years (subject to BFA Board approval).  Current members seeking a new term of service must do so through written request to the Committee Chair and may only be confirmed through a majority vote of the remaining current members.

The term of office for all Committee members shall begin July 1, and end on June 30. If a Committee member begins his or her term prior to December 1, said year is considered a full year of their term. On or after December 1 of said year, term would be considered to begin July 1 of following year.

Compensation

No Committee member shall receive compensation for service on the Committee.

Resignation and Removal

Any Committee member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Chair. Such resignation shall take effect at the time specified by the written notice; unless stated by the written notice, acceptance by the Committee of the resignation shall not be necessary to effectuate the resignation.  By a majority vote of the entire Committee, an officer of the Committee may be removed.

Vacancies

Vacancies on the Committee (except the Chair) shall be filled by majority vote of a quorum of the Committee.

SECTION 4.  GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES

General

Each member of the Committee shall commit to ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct including the proper use of authority and appropriate decorum when acting as Committee members.  Committee members shall have the following duties:

  • Serve the children, parents, and founders of the school in accordance with these Bylaws and Ben Franklin Academy’s Charter Application, Mission, Principles, Bylaws, Policies, Contract with the Douglas County School District Board of Education, Policies of Douglas County Educational Foundation, in an effort to have all decisions made for the best interests of the students and the school, and to uphold the Mission and Vision of the STEM Committee and Ben Franklin Academy.
  • Demonstrate leadership, integrity and courtesy within the BFA community, not only as a Committee member, but also in all interactions with BFA administration, parents and students.
  • Attend scheduled Committee meetings, calls and events, and perform duties in good faith and in a manner that promotes the best interests of the BFA Community and the STEM Committee.
  • Follow the Ben Franklin Academy Communication and Conflict Resolution Policy and the Conflict of Interest Policies.

Standard of Care

A Committee member shall perform his or her duties in good faith in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the Committee, and with such care as an ordinarily prudent person in like position would use under similar circumstances.

No member of the Committee shall permit his or her position on the STEM Committee at Ben Franklin Academy to create a conflict between personal business activities and the actions of the Committee.

Relationship to Administrators

The STEM Committee and Ben Franklin Academy’s Administrators shall work together in a cooperative manner to further the Mission of Ben Franklin Academy. In a case where a child’s safety is at risk, members of the Committee are obligated to report such information to both a BFA Administrator and the BFA Board of Directors.

Relationship to Board of Directors

The STEM Committee shall report directly to the BFA Board of Directors. The nature, frequency and format of this reporting shall be determined by the BFA Board liaison and the Chair of the Committee.  The Committee and the BFA Board of Directors shall work together in a cohesive manner to further the Mission of Ben Franklin Academy.

SECTION 5.  OFFICERS AND AGENTS

General

The Committee may appoint such other officers, assistant officers, committees and agents as it may consider necessary, who shall be chosen in such manner and hold their offices for such terms and have such authority and duties as from time to time may be determined by the Committee. The Committee may amend the titles and roles and responsibilities of its officers as it deems necessary, subject to BFA Board approval.

Chair

Subject to the direction and supervision of the BFA Board, the Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the STEM Committee and shall have general and active control of its affairs and business and general supervision of its officers, agents and volunteers. The Chair shall prepare and distribute the meeting agendas at least 24 hours prior to each scheduled meeting.  Unless otherwise directed by the BFA Board, the Chair shall attend in-person or by substitute appointed by him or her, or shall execute on behalf of the Committee written instruments appointing a proxy or proxies to represent the Committee.  At all such meetings and otherwise, the Chair, in-person or by substitute or proxy as aforesaid, may vote for the Committee and may exercise any and all rights and powers incident to such membership, subject however to the instructions, if any, of the BFA Board.  This is a one-year position. If the Chair seeks to serve a second term, he or she must submit a letter of interest to the Vice-Chair for consideration by the Committee.

Vice-Chair

The Vice-Chair shall assist the Chair and shall perform such duties as may be assigned to him or her by the Chair or BFA Board. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall have the power and perform the duties of the Chair.  In general, the Vice-Chair shall perform all duties incident to the office of Treasurer.  The Vice-Chair shall also be responsible for reporting and coordinating grant projects involving STEM related issues with the Grant Committee.  This is a one-year position with an option to reapply for the following year in preparation for moving to the position of Chair.  If the Vice-Chair seeks to serve a second term, he or she must submit a letter of interest to the Chair for consideration by the Committee.

Communications Officer

The Communications Officer shall: (i) keep the minutes of the proceedings of the Committee; (ii) be custodian of the Committee’s records; (iii) prepare and/or review all formal correspondence; and (iv) ensure the Committee information on the BFA web site is accurate and updated as directed by the Chair and BFA Board liaison.  In general, the Communications Officer shall perform all duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him or her by the Chair, Vice-Chair, or BFA Board.  This is a one-year position.  Should the Communications Officer seek to serve a second term, he or she must submit a letter of interest to the Chair for consideration by the Committee.

Event Coordinator

The Event Coordinator shall be responsible for planning, budgeting, and executing all major events sponsored by the Committee.  The Event Coordinator shall ensure that all Committee events adhere to BFA policies and procedures, and support the overall Mission and Vision of both the Committee and Ben Franklin Academy. The Coordinator can recruit volunteers and appoint a chairperson to head each event, as deemed necessary.  The Event Coordinator will establish an event procedure for each event (advertising, recruiting volunteers and coordinating plans with the School Administration).  He or she will also be responsible for reporting the progress of each event at Committee meetings.  This is a one-year position.  If the Event Coordinator seeks to serve a second term, he or she must submit a letter of interest to the Chair for consideration by the Committee.

SECTION 6.  MEETINGS

Business Meetings

The Committee shall hold a regular meeting at least six times a year. The Committee may provide by resolution the time and place for the holding of regular meetings.

Place of Meetings

The Committee may hold their meetings at any place or places within the State of Colorado, as the Committee may determine.

Telephone Meetings

One or more Committee members may participate in a meeting by means of a conference call or similar communications equipment by which all persons participating in the meeting can hear one another at the same time.  Such participation shall constitute presence in person at the meeting.

Agenda

A written agenda for every regular or special meeting of the Committee shall be prepared and distributed by the Chair to the Committee members at least 24 hours prior to the planned meeting.

Minutes

The Communications Officer shall keep an accurate record of all Committee actions. The original copies of the minutes shall be made available to the public upon request.

Attendance of Meetings

A Committee member having three (3) or more consecutive absences from the regular meetings of the Committee will be deemed to have resigned as a member unless the absences have been approved by the Committee Officers.

SECTION 7.  AMENDMENTS

The Ben Franklin Academy Board of Directors shall have the authority to make, amend or repeal a particular bylaw at any regular or special meeting of the Ben Franklin Academy Board of Directors.

SECTION 8.  CONFLICTS

In the event of any irreconcilable conflict between these bylaws and the policies of the Ben Franklin Academy Board, the latter shall control.

STEM Committee Nomination Form


Thank you for your interest in the STEM Committee with Ben Franklin Academy (BFA). The purpose of the STEM Committee is to raise the bar at BFA, as well as the larger community, with regard to education in science, technology, engineering, and math in order to better prepare the students at BFA for success in today’s increasingly high tech world.  The goals of the Committee are to:

  • Improve the attainment in, interaction with, and experiences of the STEM subjects among students
  • Enrich, enhance, and extend the STEM related curriculum at BFA
  • Improve collaboration between schools and industry
  • Encourage students to continue their education in STEM subjects

The Committee will act as a resource to the administration and staff on innovative and engaging STEM related curriculum ideas, as well as extracurricular activities.  The STEM Committee will identify and organize speakers and provide expertise for BFA teachers as needed.  The Committee will also be tasked with organizing STEM related clubs for students after school, as well as the annual STEM Expo and Fair at BFA.

STEM Committee Nomination Form


Committee Members

    Jonathan Feiferek

    STEM Committee

    Jonathan Feifarek has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and Masters of Engineering in Management from C. U. Boulder. He works at Lockheed Martin where since 2006 he has been helping design electronic devices for the Orion spacecraft, the next generation capsule to take humans into deep space. He specializes in programmable hardware for processing video and other high speed data used for navigation and docking in space. Jonathan loves explaining how things work to youngsters and anyone who will listen. He also enjoys participating in the annual Young Minds At Work where his employer showcases products to the children of employees. Jonathan has judged science fairs and participated in the STEM Expo since his son joined the founding kindergarten class of BFA, officially becoming a STEM board member in 2016.

        Ram Sajja

        STEM Committee

            Elizabeth Billups

            STEM Committee

            Elizabeth Billups is a mother of three girls, a writing and branding consultant, and an active volunteer for a variety of non-profit organizations. She is the author of “The Carry Crew Concept: How to Build Crews to Carry People in Hard Times.” After developing and managing the very first Carry Crew, called Team Jim, to help her friend who had ALS, she wrote a book and workbook to equip others to build their own Carry Crew to help friends who need practical help, such as meal delivery or childcare.

            Billups attended Arizona State University and graduated from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism. She has more than twenty years of experience managing volunteers and non-profit organizations. She also has more than 10 years of experience in corporate marketing and public relations.

            Billups has served in volunteer leadership roles at four public schools in Douglas County and homeschooled her children for one year. She is passionately dedicated to ensuring parents have an excellent choice of educational opportunities for their children. Billups and her family live in Highlands Ranch, Co.

                Randi Curtis

                STEM Committee

                    Trent Adams

                    Communications Officer

                    Driven by a passion for science, Trent majored in astronomy at Vassar College in New York, with a related focus in physics and applied computer science.  He was also selected as an URSI Fellow, and published his thesis on the inner arm structure within spiral galaxies.  After graduation, he taught high school science at the Colorado Springs School, a college prep boarding school.  He currently serves on the BFA STEM committee, filling the role of Communications Officer.
                    Beyond academia, Trent is a technologist focused on online identity, privacy, and security.  As a Director of Information Security at PayPal, he leads the Ecosystem Security team to develop, foster, and advocate for secure technical Internet standards.  Previously, he worked on Online Trust & Identity issues for the global non-profit Internet Society (ISOC) based in Geneva. In general, he builds relationships between technologists, developers, and regulators to help them collaborate on trusted online communications.
                    Fun Facts: Trent built one of the first 500 websites, produced the first nightly online video show, and earned 3 Super Bowl rings while working as Chief Innovator for the New England Patriots.  He spends his spare time making chainmail armor and playing with his 3D printer.  He was also an extra in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

                        Tobi Anderson

                        Vice Chair, Treasurer

                        Tobi runs her own organizational development consulting business, Engagement Delta, as well as serving as an adjunct instructor teaching Management for Colorado Community Colleges Online. She generally represents the “T” in STEM and has experience creating and delivering learning curriculum, running her own consulting business, and mentoring and developing leaders. She’s worked for both private and for profit organizations in the technology, education, telecommunications, energy, and media industries. 

                        Tobi earned her Masters degree in Organizational and Professional Communication, with a major in Organizational Development and Training from the University of Denver, and her Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in International Business from DU.

                        She is also devoted to her family and has a son in Eighth grade and daughter in Fifth grade. The four of them love traveling the world and trying new experiences together.

                            Tiffany Beffel

                            Co-Chair

                                Kristi Morris

                                Co-Chair, Event Coordinator

                                Kristi Morris received a B.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from University of Colorado, Denver. She has worked for the National Park Service (NPS) Air Resources Division for 16 years, where she oversees the measurements of air pollutants that deposit to national parks and cause harm to ecosystems. The NPS monitors atmospheric deposition at more than 40 national parks, from Yosemite to the Grand Canyon to the Virgin Islands. Kristi also works to educate youth about air pollution through various outreach programs, including the Rocky Mountain Middle School Science and Math Partnership, through which she has coordinated an air quality course and field trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, where hands-on activities were arranged to understand the effects of air pollution on visibility and biota. Kristi (AKA Inspector Bolt) has been on the STEM Committee since BFA opened; she coordinates the STEM Expo and is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Committee.

                                  Agendas / Minutes

                                  2016-2017 Agendas

                                  Agendas Link

                                  2016-2017 Minutes

                                  Minutes Link