I am very excited about joining the board of NCSM at this most important milestone in their history of serving the mathematics education community for 50 years! As Position Papers Editor, my charge is to assist the board in identifying compelling topics for leaders in mathematics education and developing position statements that will support high quality teaching and learning. I will do this diligently, as I will learn from my research into these important topics.
As a 28-year mathematics education professional, I appreciate the networking and learning opportunities NCSM provides. I started my career as a middle school mathematics teacher and then as a mathematics supervisor. For several years, I concentrated on planning and implementing professional development workshops for classroom teachers. Currently, I teach mathematics, curriculum, and methods courses to preservice and in-service teachers.
As John C. Maxwell has said, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”. As I take on this leadership role, I hope to inspire teachers to empower their students to be confident in their understanding of mathematics and their knowledge of how to use mathematics to improve their lives, their communities and their world.
My continuous growth as a mathematics education leader has always involved a network of people. My mentors, colleagues, friends and family. It is so true that you never stop learning. NCSM is one of those organizations that provides opportunities for the lifelong learning of many aspects of the leadership process. Let me tell you briefly how I came to this point.
As a young teacher, I attended a workshop session where Steve Leinwand was the presenter. At that time, Steve was the Mathematics Consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. He spoke about reform mathematics and I wanted to know more, so I inquired. Next a colleague, Jorge Pezo, invited me to participate in a training program to pilot a new NSF-funded middle school mathematics program (STEM) and he also invited me to participate in the Project to Increase the Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS). There I met who would become my mentors, Dan Dolan and Mari Muri. Finally, my math supervisor at the time, Leroy Dupee, invited me to participate in a grant-funded Algebra program called PUMP Algebra, in Peoria, Illinois. All of these experiences led to me study mathematics education at Illinois State University to obtain my doctorate degree.
I tell this story and name names because it is important that my colleagues know that even when you are just “doing your job” as a mathematics educator and leader, you are having an impact on someone. Another colleague I will name is Shawn Towle, the current NCSM Regional Director Eastern 1. While attending the Associated Teachers of Mathematics in Connecticut (ATOMIC) Conference, Shawn invited me to renew my NCSM membership. I had let it lapse for several years. I thank Shawn for bringing me back into the exciting world of NCSM. As I continue in my career as a mathematics education leader, my hope is to have a positive impact on educators just as I was impacted by people such as the late Carol Malloy, by those I’ve previously named, and many others I haven’t named.
Currently, in addition to working with NCSM I am actively involved in several other education organizations. I am the Northeast Director for the Benjamin Banneker Association, Inc. and a member of NCTM, ATOMIC, and the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators in Connecticut. My research focus is on how to assist educators in teaching mathematics from a culturally relevant perspective.