I work at the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin which is a mission driven organization working to bring an equity-minded focus and heartfelt passion to ensure that all students—from kindergarten through postsecondary—have access to an excellent math education. My role is to work with every level of the education system—from local K-12 systems all the way through state-wide education systems and advocacy organizations—to bring innovative thinking and research-based approaches to pedagogy, curriculum, instruction, and professional learning.

In the past several years our education systems have been facing a crisis unlike any we have seen in recent history. COVID-19 and its effects on our schools has resulted in larger gaps in learning for both the teacher and for the students. This is especially true for our Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, and low-income students. While there were certainly small triumphs and lessons learned from the experiences we have had over the past several school years, many educators are feeling overwhelmed and lost when it comes to addressing learning gaps. As a consequence, we are seeing more teachers than ever leave the field.

I believe it will take systemic, focused collaboration to achieve NCSM’s vision of every student in every classroom having access to effective mathematics teachers, relevant curricula, culturally responsive pedagogy, and current technology. This lofty and vital goal can only be achieved if we are working together, and I hope to use my skills and abilities to recruit and motivate a professional and diverse community of educational leaders to advance this mission. To quote Doctor Who, “If great men (and women) are forged in fire, it is the privileged few who get to light the flame.” This is our opportunity to light that flame for our students. This is the time to light the flame for great teachers. It begins with us, and working together we can make a difference for all students.

By: Michael Greenlee, Regional Director – Southern US 2 (2022-2025)