Summer is here and you have survived one of the most difficult years in education! Surviving is what BOLD leaders do, so I want to say thank you for being a BOLD leader and a champion for mathematics education.
Special thanks to those who were able to attend the NCSM Bold Leadership Summit in April. I hope you were able to gain more resources to equip you tools to continue your... read more
Early in my teaching career, my department chair stressed upon me the importance of being part of professional organizations. I was a poor first-year teacher, but she convinced me that the cost of membership would be more than justified by the impact that it would have on my teaching. Taking her word for it, I scraped up $20 and became a member of the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM). I will be forever grateful for that push to join VCTM. From then on, I made it a point to become a member of my professional organizations at the local, state, and national level. Eventually, I realized the additional rewards that come from working on the board of these organizations. I have served my state professional organizations for teachers and mathematics leaders (VCMS) as president and supported an NCTM regional conference as the Volunteer Committee Chair. I have continued to see the benefit of professional organizations as I moved from a classroom teacher to roles as a mathematics coach, a building-level administrator, and a division-level mathematics specialist.
Before my first day teaching my own students in my own classroom, I had completed a full teacher preparation program of coursework, readings, and student teaching to help me learn how to teach. While it certainly didn’t prepare me for everything I would encounter, it did allow me to believe (perhaps wrongly) that I had some idea of what I was doing. Contrast that to when I moved from the classroom to a district-level leadership position. Instead of the years of preparation for teaching, I was given a three-ring binder of some historical documents, an office, and a well-meaning “good luck!” Hungry for some experiences that would give me some understanding of how to do the job, I sought out professional organizations and found NCSM. The journals, conferences, and networking provided by NCSM allowed to me finally feel (again, perhaps wrongly) that I would be able to serve administrators, teachers, the community, and, most importantly, students as a mathematics leader. The PRIME Leadership Framework provided me with my overall charge and is a resource I continue to refer to for inspiration. The later resources, including It’s TIME and the Essential Actions series, continue to strengthen, and at times challenge, my understanding of what it means to be a bold leader. I am grateful for everything that NCSM has provided me as a member. Now that I am joining the board as the Southern 1 Regional Director, I am very excited to be able to support the work of NCSM in creating bold mathematics leaders and strengthening mathematics teaching and learning.