Candidate Statement for Director

I am a veteran elementary educator of 22 years who has loved mathematics from an early age. As the daughter of an educator, I’ve understood that the high expectations my parents had for me, and that I had for myself, would often exceed those of others who would continually underestimate me. I grew up mathematizing objects and ideas, while my father fed my curiosity with late night math magic at the kitchen table. And as my love of mathematics increased, so did the need for my mother advocating for correct course placement. As a Black woman, I internalized having to be “twice as good” to be considered equal to my peers. 

When I became an elementary educator, I sought to create the conditions that allowed me to thrive mathematically. My classroom is an extension of home – a home that assumes the brilliance of children. I have fought against deficit labels Latinx students receive simply because of their surnames. Much of my job is to make sure students acknowledge the cultural and linguistic assets they bring to class that enrich the experiences of all of us. When students, especially those who are marginalized, trust me with their authentic selves, I can use those entry points to connect to mathematics lessons. In the beginning of my career, leadership took the form of advising parents navigating systemic barriers; decades later, it has shifted to disrupting those same barriers at the school, district, state and national levels.

My commitment manifests in various ways. I have been a member of school leadership teams, led grade level teams, serve on my state and district mathematics advisory committees, and am on the executive committee of the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GCTM). As a Heinemann Fellow, I’ve been researching the ways in which positive cultural identity affects student confidence, efficacy, and academic performance. I have written for the NCTM journal, Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12 (MTLT), the Global Math Department, and EdWeek, and have been featured on podcasts such as Teaching Hard History and Pushing the Edge.  I am a member of the 2021 NCTM Annual Meeting Program Committee, a member of the NCTM Classroom Resources Committee, a department editor for NCTM MTLT, and a member of  the Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board. 

Additionally, I have the privilege of being involved in the work TODOS does. I was a guest on the TODOS podcast (Season 1, Episode 7) and a panelist on a TODOS Live! webinar discussing humanized mathematics. I have given presentations at mathematics conferences that centered the joint position statement on social justice published by TODOS and the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), as well as presentations involving culturally responsive teaching.

The problem of my lifetime, the one that keeps me up at night, is that students who look like me are always at the bottom of every list of academic achievement, especially in mathematics.  My experiences thus far pair well with TODOS, whose commitment to making bold statements of truth and the unapologetic demand for action are what I hold dear. Leadership in mathematics and the push for justice is a lifestyle. As a TODOS Director, I will continue the commitment of the organization to build pedagogical capacity among educators that results in rigorous mathematics for those who find themselves at the margins. This pedagogy should situate language and culture as assets in mathematical attainment. Furthermore, I will also continue to push for policy changes leading to high quality instruction that our students deserve.