In the fall of 2005, I was a new district-level mathematics leader. That first year was exciting and overwhelming – much like every year since. A few days into the job my boss, mentor, and eventually best “math friend” told me I would be going to the NCSM Annual Conference in St. Louis. I was certainly interested but quite a bit anxious. I knew I would learn something. I was anxious to find out all that I didn’t know and more importantly all that everyone else DID know.
That first conference in 2006 hooked me. At one of my first sessions on Monday morning, I had to talk with other leaders from all over. The same thing happened in the next few sessions. I came to find quickly that there were so many like me. We ALL were facing challenges, finding solutions, and pushing to better our programs for the sake of our students. I swapped stories, shared experiences, and exchanged contact information. I saw the same people for three days. And I still see many of those math friends, along with many new math friends, each year I have been back.
That first conference opened the door. Each meeting since has been as rich and worthwhile. And those meetings have helped me find all of the other tools that NCSM has to offer that help me in my daily work. Over the years, the organization has helped me so much. I realized in Philadelphia in 2012 (or maybe it was Denver 2013) that I needed to give back. I began by volunteering at conferences. I got involved in our state affiliate. Now, I have the privilege of serving the Council on the Board of Directors. I look forward to what is in front of me and NCSM. I look forward to meeting that first-time conference attendee in Chicago and each meeting after. If that’s you, say hello. I can’t wait to find out what we, NCSM, can do together going forward.