Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is committed to working with teachers to assist them in integrating museum experiences into their curriculum as well as continuously improving programming offered at Phipps. The Phipps Teacher Advisory Committee is a select group of K – 12 educators who meet quarterly during the school year to foster collaboration and learning across schools and museums. The committee is made of public and private school teachers in Pittsburgh, PA. This committee will expand upon the mission of Phipps which is, “To inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse.”


Tracy Wazenegger, Sewickley Academy

Tracy Wazenegger is a high school chemistry teacher at Sewickley Academy.  In addition to her chemistry teaching responsibilities she also co-teaches an interdisciplinary global issues course and serves as the Senior Class Dean.  When not teaching, Ms. Wazenegger enjoys role-playing and board games and manages the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Coalition of Gamers (NCG)

Dan Schuller, Woodland Hills Jr/Sr High School

Dan Schuller is a science teacher at Woodland Hills High School. With certifications in Biology and Environmental Education, Dan has taught a variety of biology courses through the years. Currently he teaches Ecology and AP Environmental Science. Dan is the Girls and Boys Varsity Tennis Coach. In addition to teaching and coaching, Dan is the club advisor for the Environmental Club, called the Green Team, and co-sponsor of the Envirothon Competition teams. Outside of the classroom and off the tennis court, Dan spends his time with his wife, Rhonda, and his two boys, Andersen and Davis. They all enjoy camping, hiking, running, playing tennis, gardening and reading.

Darla Gerlach, Shaler Area Middle School

Darla Gerlach has been an educator for over 20 yrs. certified to teach elementary and middle school curricula including art; and, she received her doctorate in Instruction & Learning from the University of Pittsburgh, main campus.  Darla is currently an Executive Board Member of PA Council for Social Studies; a member of Chatham Eden Hall's Education Advisory Group; presented at the 2016 National Green Schools Conference; and, she’s a Barringer Research Fellow recognized for her gardening studies at Monticello. Darla has two grown children; her leisure time includes artwork, gardening; cooking; volunteering as a W PA Conservancy Garden Steward and she enjoys curriculum development which includes indigenous plants and animals and service learning with community garden projects.

Nadine Pisani, Keystone Oaks Middle School

Nadine Pisani is a middle school science educator at Keystone Oaks Middle School. She has a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology from the University of Rochester. Mrs. Pisani inspires student to become environmentally conscientious members of society through many hands on activities about energy conservation, sustainable practices and the effect of human actions on the natural world. 


  • Review updated lesson plans and program ideas developed by the museum educators
  • Participate in informal discussions and brainstorming sessions to reflect and share best practices in museum education and ways to integrate material into the public/private school curriculum
  • Assist in evaluation and feedback for resources and programs produced by Phipps educators
  • Discuss strategies for aligning the museum’s K – 12 school-based educational programs and resources to city, state, and national standards in a variety of curricular areas
  • Pilot new programs and/or materials and evaluate them
  • Work as a liaison between museum and schools, promote and increase awareness of educational materials and programs offered through the museum
  • Participate in the Fairchild Challenge (as applicable) and at least one field trip or program a year


  • Receive a free two-week rental of a borrowing bin of your choice
  • Receive a scholarship for transportation and substitute teacher fees payable to your school for a field trip program of your choice
  • Receive a free Phipps individual membership
  • Provide input on the direction and growth of Phipps programs
  • Meet a variety of museum and public or private school educators with similar interests or passions

Organizers and Hosts

Phipps Science Education and Let’s Move Pittsburgh
Heather Shannon, Emily Nye and Mary Kathryn Poole

Contact: Mary Kathryn Poole, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or 412/622-6915, ext. 6751

Photos © Denmarsh Photography, Inc.; Paul g. Wiegman