Faculty & Staff

ISP welcomes 3 new members

The Institute for School Partnership (ISP) is delighted to announce the addition of three new staff members.


Growing up, Melanie Turnage was the kid who would take apart her radio to see how the pieces worked. Or when her parents bought new furniture, she’d put it together. That yearning to know led her to a degree in elementary education.

She taught in the Ritenour School District for 14 years before accepting a position as K-8 coordinator of science curriculum at ISP. She first encountered ISP as a teacher, using the MySci STEM kits and was instantly impressed.

“Science educator Paul Markovits came out to my school and did a training session and I thought ‘Wow, it’s like when I was a kid and I watched Mr. Wizard on TV. I have Mr. Wizard right here. This is so cool!’”

Turnage says the best part of her job is teaching teachers and creating opportunities for children to learn in different ways.

“I like creating those aha moments for kids and seeing it happen for them,” she said. “That look of recognition on their face…I’m like yes! All that planning was worth it.”

Turnage says writing curriculum allows her to reach hundreds of kids every year rather than one group of 30 kids every year.


A field trip to Shaw Nature Reserve her senior year in high school sparked Lauren Ashman’s interest in science and put on her an eventual path to a degree in environmental science.

“There was this tall grass prairie, and a stand of trees and we learned about succession and I thought it was fascinating,” she said.
Recently Ashman was hired as a K-8 coordinator of science curriculum at ISP.

Prior to that she worked for two-years at Lift for Life Academy, a charter school in Soulard, where she taught planetary science, earth cycles, and weather and climate.

“I had to write all of my own curriculum, which is my strong suit, so when this job came open I knew it would be a perfect fit. Plus, I really like helping teachers understand how to implement science so that we can make students successful.”


Weeks before the start of Myra Lopez’s senior year in high school, a hurricane struck South Florida. At the time, Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. Her home was destroyed, displacing her family for nearly a year. Being part of a national story piqued her interest in journalism and a need to know.

An internship in Washington, D.C. after college led to a job with The Associated Press Broadcast Center. In 2010, she moved to St. Louis with her family, and soon after shifted her career focus to higher education. In August she was named the Communications Manager for ISP.

“I’m excited to tell the story of ISP and the wonderful work it does in bringing high quality science education to students in St. Louis, and empowering teachers with the best resources” Lopez said.

August 2016 | by, Myra Lopez

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