Exciting Evolutions at Burpee Museum

     Anne Weerda is the Executive Director of Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois.  She has focused on bringing natural science to the community through: 1) More inclusive Burpee programming, 2) Expanding the active science research and collection department, and 3) Offering new educational programming and scholarship opportunities to individuals from underprivileged backgrounds and with special needs.

     Anne Weerda earned her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University (‘01) double majoring in Molecular/Cellular Biology and Radio/Television/Film.  Under the leadership of well-known Field Museum and University of Chicago researcher Dr. Lawrence Heaney, she developed one of the first on-line, and searchable, Fieldiana Guide detailing all discovered mammals of the Philippines.  This tool was developed in 2001 and is still in use today.

     Responding to a call to work with underprivileged youth, Anne left The Field Museum to teach science in the inner city, southside of Chicago.  She taught high school biology, chemistry, physics, zoology, environmental science and more. 

     While teaching in Chicago, she received the Golden Apple Fellowship for Teaching, funding her work to become a certified teacher and receive training at University of Chicago and Northwestern University.  Finishing her fellowship, she completed her masters program through Northwestern University in Education & Social Policy (‘07).  Her master's thesis focused high school aged girls with behavior challenges including suspension and expulsion records.  Her research implemented a method of support that had large impact on 1) Decreasing suspension and referral rates, and 2) Improving  confidence and self efficacy in school in a longitudinal study.

     Anne continued in the education field working as a school improvement consultant, turn-around school advisor and director of curriculum and assessment  earning an additional masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision (‘09). 

     In 2013 she founded a Rockford-based company, Kids At The Core LLC., which provides educational services and professional development resources for teachers and administrators throughout the United States.  She received the most recognition for her development of assessment strategies to help teachers measure and monitor student growth, learning, and teaching impact over time.  She is a speaker and writer on the topic of education and social policy giving talks both locally and around the country to educational professionals regarding assessment development, instructional responses, and student motivation.  She has been a presenter, writer and leader through IL ASCD, the Illinois Principal Association, Louisiana Association for Speech and Language, The Art of Education, and many more.

     Anne accepted the position as Executive Director of Burpee Museum in late summer of 2017.  Anne lives in Rockford, has 3 young children and is married to Jim Weerda, a Rockford Firefighter.

     Anne will tell us about the exciting things that are happening at the museum and plans for the future.  This will be an informative program about one of Rockford's popular attractions and a chance to bring a guest or prospective member.  Julie Thomas will introduce our presenter and act as Rotary host.