At this point you are probably wondering what my vision is. I believe math is for everyone and until we see achievement gaps diminish, our work is not complete. We must be committed to utilizing best practices so all students have access to high quality math instruction so they develop the skills and practices they will need to have a successful future career and life. Growing up as an English Language Learner school was not an easy road for me. I struggled through most of my education but the one subject I felt confident in was math. I struggled with reading and writing but I understood numbers and feeling successful in mathematics drove me to pursue a career in education. I did not want students to experience school the way I did feeling lost and hopeless, but in math I found hope. That experience lead to to where I am today, having a passion for math education because I believe with my whole heart the teaching of mathematics is a social justice issue. According to Frey and Fisher in Visible Learning for Mathematics, ” People who know math have a better quality of life.” I have personally experienced this in my life as my journey has brought me to the NCSM board to be able to influence math education in order for all students to have access to great math instruction. I am humbled to be able to serve alongside great math leaders and share my story. Never in my wildest dreams did I think God would bring me here so I leave you with this, dream big and don’t follow the traditional road because God’s plans are always greater!
If people follow you and you influence change, then you are a leader. You don’t need a title, pay raise, or power to be a leader. Great leaders catalyze change by inspiring people to try new ideas, develop both their strengths and their areas of growth, have integrity, present people with opportunities to grow within a safe environment, and make them feel valued. All great leaders are grounded in a vision, passion for that vision, continuous self improvement, high expectations for all the people they lead, and provide hope when situations look hopeless. Most importantly, great leaders find hidden qualities in people that others cannot see and develop them so they become a better version of themselves. This type of leadership takes time, a willingness to learn, courageousness, and surrounding yourself with a circle of people that push you to become better. Your inner circle of influencers will either help you soar you to new heights or leave you where you are. Bernardo Stamateas says it this way, ” Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres”. Surrounding yourself with people that are passionate about their vision, learning, loving people, challenging you to become better and most importantly celebrating success alongside you should be the people you walk with.
Once you are a leader I believe you have three responsibilities, continue to learn best practices in order to lead people in the right direction, multiply talent within your organization in order to rise up other leaders, and most importantly create a culture of safety and celebration where people feel valued, free to try new ideas, and celebrated for their contributions. Great leaders multiply talent and collaborate with others in order to be able to help others reach the vision.