It is through the reasoning and problem-solving skills we learn in our early mathematics education that we start to make sense of the natural world. From the most mundane task to the most complex problem, perseverance and flexibility in problem-solving help us manage and navigate our lives. Unfortunately, so many students in the U.S. miss out on the opportunity to learn these critical skills. I have first-hand experience with an education system that didn’t meet my needs. As a student, I was always considered “bad” at math and I struggled to even graduate due to my poor performance in my math classes. It wasn’t until I became an educator myself that I realized my struggles in mathematics were not a reflection of my abilities but were instead a reflection of the lack of opportunity I had to engage in math in relevant and meaningful ways. My way of sense-making in math didn’t fit in with traditional processes and algorithms, which was interpreted as a lack of understanding. This epiphany led me to pursue leadership roles in the education field, particularly around mathematics, in an effort to create change and equitable learning opportunities for all students.
This journey resulted in me working at the district level as a mathematics coach and now as a lead developer of professional learning for educators and leaders across multiple, national projects. My focus is on increasing equitable access to quality mathematics experiences for all students across districts and states. My experience as a leader in the education community has taught me that, above all else, ALL students CAN learn math. It is up to us as educators to take responsibility for facilitating learning by providing opportunities for all students to engage in meaningful mathematics experiences in ways that make sense to them. This is especially important for those students who have been marginalized and whose educational experiences have hindered their ability to achieve their hopes and dreams.
I consider it an absolute honor and privilege to serve on the NCSM Board of Directors as the Regional Director for the Southern 2 region. My years of teaching and working at the Dana Center has taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with people whom you can learn and grow from. This role will allow me to learn from the experience of my colleagues in this region as well as others across NCSM. I look forward to contributing to the common goals of the organization.