News from the Southern 2 Region
Paul Gray, Southern 2 Regional Director
Winter 2018/2019

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, the A/C was running. ‘Cause we live in the South.

My favorite thing about winter in the South is that it doesn’t stay long. Usually, it comes in 3-day spurts, then we’re back to shorts and T-shirts. My next favorite thing about winter in the South? Reviewing the program for the upcoming NCSM Annual Meeting and making my schedule!

See You in San Diego!

If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to register and attend the 2019 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, on April 1-3, 2019. The conference website, has all the information you need and links to register online.

How ‘Bout San Antonio or Oklahoma City?

Most of our states have their annual conferences in the fall. Texas and Oklahoma both have theirs during the summer. So if you live in one of these states, you’ll want to mark your calendar now.

  • CAMT 2019 (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching) will be in San Antonio, Texas, on July 10-12, 2010. Visit for more information.
  • OCTM 2019 will be in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, area on June 7, 2019. Visit for more information.

Math Heroes

If you follow me on Twitter (and if not, find me at @texmathguy), you’ll know that I speak frequently of my "math heroes" and "math heroines." Sir Isaac Newton is credited with having said, "If I can see farther than anyone else, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants." For me, that is certainly true. And from time to time, I add to my list of math heroes and heroines.

We all have a mentor teacher (or in my case, two or three, because some people need lots of help) who helps us out when we are just getting started. In my case, my department chair was my mentor teacher even though someone else was technically assigned to that role. She was the person I turned to as a beginning teacher for advice not just on where to find things in the building but how to actually string together a coherent lesson. She graciously helped me with questions like, "What manipulatives are the best to use for this topic?" or "How on Earth can I make a lesson about the distributive property hands-on?" She helped me make sense of students’ test results. She visited my classroom to see my teaching in action and then provided me with feedback and advice over coffee.

I tell this story because I’m wondering…who was YOUR mentor teacher? Who is one of the giants on whose shoulders you stand?

Now, think about the mentor math leader that you had. When I was in the classroom, my district’s math coordinator helped me figure out that I really was a teacher leader. He connected me with people for professional development workshops. He volun-told me that I would be facilitating district-level workshops on our district professional learning days. He directed me to a stellar advisor for my masters’ program. My masters’ advisor introduced me to professional networks that continue to nurture my professional growth today. My doctoral advisor "led from the midst," as she called it, and brought a group of teacher leaders from the classroom to different roles as curriculum specialists, administrators, and university researchers. When I was a district-level director of mathematics, I had a few colleagues in nearby districts on speed-dial so that I could tap their expertise and share resources.

When you were an emerging leader, who were the giants on whose shoulders YOU stood?

Fast forward to today. Who are the experts to whom you turn when you need to learn more about your work as a math leader? Do you seek out Cathy Seeley’s wisdom about working with recalcitrant teachers and parents? What about John Staley’s advice for making your practice more equitable? When you need help with advocacy, do you have a Linda Griffith you can turn to?

As the old adage says, it really does take a village to raise a child. Or a teacher. Or a math leader. None of us would be where we are without the help and advice from our math heroes. Which makes me wonder…how might we be a math hero to some of our colleagues? A hero isn’t necessarily someone who performs minor miracles, though he or she certainly may. But more often, a hero is someone who inspires you to do better. And as Maya Angelou once said, when you know better, do better.