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About Us

A Mission for Sustained Innovation

StartUp STEM provides professional development in STEM instruction for elementary educators. Our mission is to:

  • Streamline teacher planning and productivity

  • Create an interdisciplinary approach to STEM

  • Build STEM community


STEM instruction engages and energizes students. STEM populates the future with critical thinkers and innovators.  Bringing purpose to learning, STEM strengthens the social emotional needs of today’s learners. Students in STEM make a difference in a rapidly changing world!

Meet The Team


Colleen Howard

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PBS Teacher Innovation Award winner
NSTA Making a Difference Award winner
National Space Foundation Teacher Liaison
IDEA Museum Ideologist

Colleen Howard inspires educators to engage students in STEM learning and put joy back into the classroom! She studied Elementary and Special Education (BA) at Arizona State University and Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) at Northern Arizona University. Since graduating, her experiences include teacher grades 4-12, middle-school flight instructor, designer/instructor of immersive STEM learning experience for sixth grade students, Co-Project Manager of a NASA STEM Grant and K-12 STEM Specialist.


Colleen is skilled in curriculum design, STEM program development, for students and STEM professional development nationwide. Currently she is the owner of StartUp STEM, LLC and serves as a STEM Professional Development Specialist for the company. She believes in supporting her community by serving on committees, working with local museums and making  connections between educational stakeholders throughout her state of Arizona.  

Colleen loves spending time with family and never turns down an invitation to go out to dinner! When she's not focused on STEM, Colleen is an author, musician and patron of the arts. 


Kitty Burgess

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2010 Arizona Teacher of the Year Finalist

AVID Elementary Education Trainer

Instructional STEM Coach

Kitty Burgess empowers teachers to prepare students for lifetime learning.  Passionate about STEM education in the earliest grades, Kitty practices educating teachers through professional development aligned with state standards.  She believes in empowering teachers to integrate all subjects with STEM education; real life applications with current curricula. 


Kitty studied Elementary Education (BA) at the University of Arizona and Bilingual/Multicultural Education (MA) at Northern Arizona University. As a 2010 finalist for teacher of the year, she has stayed committed to aligning reading education with all areas of the curriculum.  She has served as a STEM contact for the school system, helping to write curriculum for teachers. Kitty taught grades K-6 and was an instructional coach as a Title 1 School Improvement Specialist.  Currently, she is a substitute teacher and consultant for StartUp STEM. 


In her free time, Kitty enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, gardening and reading.




We approach STEM education as an integrated way of teaching. We empower educators to create lessons using existing English language arts and math curricula. Our process ignites teachers’ passion for increasing student engagement and community involvement.

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