Denise Finley

DeniseRegional Program Manager, GEAR UP Kentucky
Educational Programs Specialist
Science Specialist

“I get most excited when I see someone take an idea and make it their own, whether it’s students or teachers themselves—when the light bulb goes on.”

Denise brings great enthusiasm and deep experience in the teaching of science to her work—but it’s her willingness to meet educators wherever they are in understanding and practice that distinguishes her approach to professional development. “I like to find out what educators need and give it to them, so they can get where they need to go—recognizing that’s also going to move their students,” she says.

With 22 years as a science teacher for grades five to 12 in the Jefferson County (Kentucky) Public Schools (JCPS), and as science resource teacher for JCPS and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Denise never expected to leave the classroom. Then, as the first science teacher to participate in the Louisville Writing Project, she discovered that her own ability to reach students got even better with the support of a mentor coach, and she wanted to bring the same guidance and encouragement to other professionals.

Denise is Regional Program Manager in CTL’s partnership with GEAR UP Kentucky. She has also served as Project Manager in CTL’s partnership with GEAR UP Berea, as a coach in the federally funded Striving Readers project, as project manager for the Kentucky Mathematics and Science Partnership project, and as a consultant in our work with the Regional Education Laboratory (REL)-Appalachia, on the federal Promise Neighborhoods planning grant, and on teacher preparation re-design with the University of Memphis College of Education.

She has also been a consultant to the Louisville Science Center, and received training at the Bronx Zoo in New York and the Lawrence Hall of Science of the University of California, Berkeley, where she participated in the design, field testing and analysis of student work for the Science Education for the Public Understanding Program (SEPUP). Denise has presented workshops for the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, the Kentucky Association for Gifted Children, the Kentucky Education Technology Conference, the Kentucky Teachers of English Conference, the National Middle School Association, and the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Denise is married with a grown son and daughter, and the proud grandmother of three beautiful grandchildren.

  • Consultant, Louisville Science Center
  • Kentucky Odyssey of the Mind Board of Directors
  • Master of Science, Secondary Education/Science, University of Louisville
  • Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky


Contact Information

Denise Finley
Regional Program Manager, GEAR UP Kentucky
Educational Programs Specialist
Science Specialist

502.895.9500 x337
Email Denise

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