Candidate Statement

Susie W. Håkansson

Office of President Elect

Susie W. Håkansson was Executive Director of the California Mathematics Project (CMP) from 1999 until the end of 2012. CMP is a network of 19 California Mathematics Project (CMP) Sites on university campuses the provide professional development for teachers of mathematics. She provided technical assistance to sites, made site visits, monitored site activities, wrote grants to support CMP, and represented CMP in various venues in California. Some of her efforts in CMP included the following: established the English Language Development Institutes in Mathematics Content (ELDI-MC), hosted two ELD-MC Symposia, developed content to increase teachers’ content knowledge of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M), established the CMP-Career Technical Education-Connection Institute, and wrote and implemented a six-year mathematics teacher retention grant. In all of her efforts, providing access to high cognitive demand mathematics tasks for ALL students, particularly English language learners, was of highest priority. She was a former high school teacher and the former site director of the local CMP site at UCLA.

“In the 1970s and 80s, I taught mathematics for eight years in an inner city high school in Huntington Park, CA, with over 90% Hispanic/Latino students. Most of the students had potential, but many of them lacked opportunities. I started the AP Calculus program there and provided the opportunity for students to enroll in a high-level mathematics class. Many English language learners thrived in my mathematics classes because I met their needs by providing access to high quality mathematics content. The students wanted to learn! As I went on to the CMP, first as the UCLA Mathematics Project Site Director, and later as Executive Director, I wanted to ensure that ALL students, particularly Hispanic/Latino students and English language learners had qualified and effective teachers who believed that they could achieve. Thus working with teachers was critical to providing access.

“The focus of TODOS must be the students. That is TODOS’ mission, and we need to highlight this mission. We also need to find ways for educators to be productive as members of TODOS and find that TODOS supports their efforts as they work with Hispanic/Latino students. In professional development, we need to deepen teachers’ understanding of the CCSS-M, but more important, we must deepen teachers’ understanding of how to support the learning of ALL students. The TODOS banner has the question ‘Do you teach Hispanic/Latino students?’ When teachers or conference attendees come up to the booth and answer yes, we tell them that TODOS is the organization for them. TODOS is also for Hispanic/Latino educators whether or not they work with Hispanic/Latino students. They bring resources that can have a positive impact for ALL students. There is a place for ALL educators in TODOS, and we can learn from them. Just as Hispanic/Latino students need advocates, so do Hispanic/Latino educators.

“My vision for TODOS is to increase its visibility and presence all areas in the U.S. that serve Hispanic/Latino students and that TODOS is a name the people associate with high cognitive demand tasks for all students. This means developing more TODOS members willing to speak at conferences as part of a TODOS’ strand and finding resources to support these speakers. This also means collaborating with other organizations committed to equity to work towards closing the achievement gap, or as some say, the opportunity gap. My vision is to increase the TODOS membership, and increase the number of members willing to volunteer for TODOS committees. My vision is to continue the efforts of the previous presidents to make TODOS a viable and healthy organization that will be sustained for many years to come. My vision is that TODOS’ efforts lead to increased mathematics proficiency of ALL students, particularly Hispanic/Latino students.

“I bring this passion and commitment to TODOS. I bring an idealism tempered with realism. I bring my expertise of collaborating with people of differing philosophical beliefs to follow a shared vision of effective teaching of mathematics for all students and of being able to maneuver around the political minefields that sometimes exist.”

Håkansson is the recipient of the 2009 Walter Denham Memorial Award as an unwavering advocate for excellence in the learning and teaching of mathematics and of the 2009 Robert Sorgenfrey Distinguished Teaching Award as a lecturer at UCLA. In addition, the Southern Section of the California Mathematics Council (CMC) established the Susie Hakansson Award for Fostering Emerging Leadership of Math Educators of Color in 2012 that will be awarded yearly to CMC members.

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