News from the Southern 2 Region Katey Arrington, Southern 2 Regional Director Winter 2019/2020
In the last NCSM Inspiration, NCSM President Mona Toncheff asked "How can we be bold leaders if we only talk about equity and do not take action? As we lead this school year, what will be your first steps during the 2019-2020 school year? What actions will you intentionally take to develop structures that support deeper learning of mathematics for... read more
Mathematics opens the door not only to understanding and analyzing the world around us in powerful ways, but also to viable economic futures for our young people. Unfortunately, that door stays closed for too many students in the U.S. school system. I witnessed this firsthand in my roles as a K-12 classroom teacher, instructional coach, and mathematics coordinator. It’s what has inspired me to continue working to create change and equitable learning opportunities for all. This has included working at the district level as a mathematics coordinator and now as a leader of multiple, national projects focused on increasing equitable access to quality mathematics experiences for students across districts and states. Through my experience, I am continuously reminded of two important lessons: 1) All students can learn math; and 2) It is up to the adults in the system to ensure all students have access to and success in an excellent mathematics program. We must engage all students in meaningful work in ways that nurture their academic, social, and emotional development. And we have to ensure that ALL students have what they need to succeed, rather than being content with serving only some students well.
It is an honor and privilege to serve on the NCSM Board of Directors as the Regional Director for the Southern 2 region. My years teaching and working as instructional coach and mathematics coordinator have all been in diverse Texas districts. Through my work at the Dana Center I have had the opportunity to work alongside and provide services for dedicated educators in many other states, including Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama. I look forward to visiting the other states in our region and learning about the unique issues and successes they experience.
I anticipate serving in this leadership role for NCSM will not be easy, but I am up for the challenge! This role will allow me to learn from the experience of my colleagues in this region and others while also provide the opportunity for me to use the knowledge and skills I have to assist in making progress toward the common goals of our community of educators.
I have always had a strong sense of curiosity. I love to learn about new things, improve my skillsets, and broaden my understandings. When I was a classroom teacher, as I know happens so often, resources were scarce for professional development, so options were limited. I learned from colleagues who offered a wealth of expertise and I looked to more experienced teachers as mentors. I was able to attend conferences in Texas occasionally and I took advantage of readings and other learning opportunities available for free. When I stepped into the role of K-12 math coordinator for a district was the first opportunity I was given to think about a national conference, and I couldn’t have been more excited to choose NCSM.
At the annual conference and I learned that NCSM provides learning opportunities specifically designed for mathematics supervisors, including: publications, workshops, opportunities to network with colleagues, and many more. There are resources to use with teachers and leadership focused learning resources as well. The organization supports math supervisors on multiple levels to ensure their needs are being met. I have been a member of NCSM, used many NCSM resources in my different supervisory roles, and attended the annual conference nearly every year since that first experience and found it a valuable learning experience every time. I could not be more excited to serve in a leadership role for this organization that has supported me and my learning for many years. I hope to continue learning from colleagues in the organization and provide supports for others through this role. Together we can make progress toward our goal of ensuring all students have equitable access to and success in meaningful, high-quality mathematics education.