Name: Nichole Lindgren
Title: 6th Grade Mathematics and Science Teacher
Institution: Buncombe County Schools

 

My journey as an advocate for equitable and high quality mathematics did not begin in my first years of teaching. After some time in elementary classrooms, I realized that I have a passion for learning and teaching mathematics over the other subjects I taught and wanted to learn more about how to develop a love and deep understanding of mathematics for young learners. I pursued and attained a master’s degree in educational leadership with a mathematics specialist leader focus. During this time, thanks to some amazing teachers of my own, my eyes were opened to how mathematics should be taught and to the inequities and gaps that were created and widened by teaching like I had learned as a young student. This is when the seed was planted and my passion for equitable mathematics began to grow.

After getting my degree, I served as a Title I Mathematics Resource teacher. In this role, I was a mathematics leader supporting teachers with instructional practices, through coaching and professional development, that would enable all students in the mathematics classroom to access curriculum. Having had experience in the classroom, I recognized that there were areas that I felt underprepared for, such as supporting students that have mathematics knowledge but may be emergent in their English development. As a coach, I worked with teachers who were also underprepared to support all students in their classroom. I spent time helping teachers gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and assets of their students and how to build from and with this to make instruction deep and meaningful.

As my passion for equity and access to high quality mathematics instruction grew in this role, so did my drive to influence more teachers and ultimately impact the growth of more students. I moved into a division level position that enabled me to work with all the elementary schools in our division. My title was Elementary ESOL Mathematics Instructional Support Teacher. I facilitated professional development for mathematics teachers, ESL teachers and administrators to change negative assumptions about students’ abilities based on culture and language and build their understanding of language development and how to support the development of mathematics understanding and language in meaningful and authentic ways. It was in this role that I applied for and supported North Springfield Elementary school in their work with the TODOS-MET Grant: Fostering Support of Mathematics Learning in Multilingual Classrooms. Through this grant, I helped teachers gain an understanding of the impact they have on their students’ identities and how they can inspire and nurture positive mathematics and multilingual identities through the instructional practices they use in their classrooms.

I spent over three years as an ESOL mathematics coach for Fairfax County Public schools. During this time, I learned so much about being an advocate, about equity, and about how much work still needs to be done to provide access to all students in the mathematics classroom. I have since moved to Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina and am back in the classroom using what I have learned to teach and be an educational leader within my school and outside of my school. I believe that being a former coach and a current teacher leader can bring a valuable perspective and voice to TODOS. If elected, I would be honored to continue my journey as a learner, as a leader, and as an advocate in the role of Director to support and advance the mission and goals of TODOS.