• Chamber News

  • Discovery Museum Announces New Educational Director

    Santa Maria, CA – August 5, 2019 – The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is pleased to welcome Ilsa Toepfer as its Educational Director, a newly created position supporting our objective to create a more robust playful learning experience for our visitors.

    Ilsa Toepfer obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development with a minor in Psychology. She later received her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on Teaching. Ilsa comes to the museum with nearly 15 years of experience in education, including traditional classroom teaching, as well as homeschool and charter school teaching, with an emphasis in hands-on STEAM learning activities and Classical Education. Ilsa also has a background in theater and is currently involved in murder mystery dinner theater. She hopes to bring more performing arts and dramatic play elements to the museum, along with new and exciting STEAM educational programs.  
    “The museum is excited to have someone of Ilsa’s caliber on board to help guide the future of our educational programming,” said Nancy Gastelum, the museum’s executive director. “Ilsa’s creativity and depth of knowledge regarding child development will spark the curiosity of visitors of all ages and enable them to experience learning in a playful, engaging way. We feel she is the perfect fit to bring our new educational programming to life!”

    “I am incredibly thrilled to be a part of the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum!” said Toepfer, a longtime museum member and the mother of four children. “I am excited to contribute creativity, imagination and educational insight and strategy to the ‘dream big’ plans our executive director has for the Discovery Museum in the years to come!”

    The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, celebrating its 23rd year, is expanding its many existing educational programs to include exhibit-specific pop-up programming and a vast variety of new STEAM educational programs. She will also be developing additional field trip programs designed for students in grades three through five that includes facilitated educational activities that compliment a teacher’s classroom curriculum. 

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