As I begin my presidency of AMTE, I am honored and humbled by your confidence and inspired by the momentum from our recent conference. I am also enthused by the opportunity to lead our organization at a time when it is essential that AMTE be solidly positioned and recognized as the voice and leader of mathematics teacher education among all stakeholders. Over the past year, I have been immersed in preparation for my term of office. In particular, I have two people to thank for their unwavering support and mentoring. First, I express sincere gratitude to Fran Arbaugh, our immediate Past-President. I vividly remember receiving the phone call from Fran to inform me of the results of the election. The excitement in her voice as she expressed her readiness to work with me over the coming year signaled me that this was going to be the beginning of a strong working team. Indeed I am truly appreciative to Fran for allowing me to formulate questions for us to tackle as we brainstormed together and as she continued fulfilling the vision of her presidency. Second, I thank our Executive Director, Tim Hendrix. Tim has been instrumental in making certain that I had access to all necessary resources and has continuously shared his plethora of knowledge. He is always within minutes—via email–in responding to all questions and requests. With certainty our teamwork has served AMTE well. Next, I turn our attention to the results of the 19th Annual Conference, the 2015 strategic priorities, and becoming involved. I close with my vision for AMTE.
Nineteenth AMTE Annual Conference
A huge thank you goes to everyone who contributed to the success of the 19th AMTE Annual Conference. I especially thank Susan Gay, Conference Director, Dustin Jones, Program Committee Chair, and the other members of the conference leadership team and Program Committee, the Co-Chairs (Erhan Selcuk Haciomeroglu and Enrique Ortiz) and other members of the Local Arrangements Committee, and all of our conference presenters. Given all of the time, effort, and energy invested, the 19th AMTE Annual Conference is now recorded as a time in which our community of mathematics educators came together to be inspired, renewed, and rejuvenated.
There were a total of 197 sessions on the program with 463 presenters. Over the three days, we had opportunities to hear phenomenal speakers share their perspectives. Margaret (Peg) Smith, our General Session speaker and outgoing Editor of the Mathematics Teacher Educator, shared the three-year history of the journal and reminded us of the mission of the journal to build professional knowledge and provide a means for practitioner knowledge in our field to be “public, shared, stored, verified, and improved over time.” In her delivery of the Judith Jacobs Lecture, Nadine Bezuk challenged us to examine “what we are doing,” to think about “can we do more?” and “can we have a bigger and more systemic impact?” in supporting elementary teachers.
It was an honor to have Sharon Robinson, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Karen King of the National Science Foundation and long-time member of AMTE, and Ken Krehbiel of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics present as panel members for the advocacy breakfast. Sharon Robinson also presented as a session speaker in which she engaged with Deborah Ball in “conversation about policy issues in teacher education.” Then we had the luxury of hearing from our award recipients, Blake Peterson, recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Teaching in Mathematics Teacher Education Award, Amanda Jansen, recipient of the Early Career Award, and Jennifer Nickell, recipient of the National Technology Leadership Initiative Award. Throughout the numerous conference sessions, we had opportunities to hear exceptional speakers share their perspectives — all indicative of the excellence, wealth of knowledge, and talent that resides in our community.
2015 AMTE Priorities
During the AMTE Board of Directors meeting held on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, the Board established the priorities for the organization for 2015. Over the following three days as I engaged in sessions and in conversations in our Annual Conference, it became clear the priorities and direction established by the Board to strengthen connections and strengthen advocacy were also aligned with the vision of our members. For example, it was reaffirming to hear the many commendations for AMTE’s letter to Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, on the proposed Federal Regulations for teacher preparation programs. The same alignment was heard in the affiliates session where there was a call for professional learning to strengthen our approaches in advocating for excellence in mathematics teacher education in our states and local arenas. The 2015 AMTE Priorities are:
- Strengthen connections across the organization to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education through evidence-based decisions:
– Connect member to member, member to resources, and members to board leadership.
– Connect committees to members, committee to committee, and committees to board leadership.
- Strengthen AMTE’s advocacy for high quality mathematics teacher education in support of quality mathematics teaching.
– Bring attention to what we know about quality mathematics teacher education and be a catalyst for the improvement of the profession of mathematics teacher education.
– Support members as advocates.
Notice that the Board includes an emphasis on evidence-based decisions as we focus on connections that reflect our members and our committees. The AMTE Board will take the lead in engaging in these evidence driven decisions. Furthermore, we call upon all who are involved in the ongoing work of AMTE to a share a similar line of thought. In doing so, we all contribute and share in the prominence of AMTE as the lead organization for mathematics teacher education.
We recently sent a request for volunteers. Please take time to complete the form to become involved. For an overview of ways to become involved visit the AMTE website for more information about the AMTE committees and the committee charges. Also, plan to attend the AMTE reception, 6:00 - 7:30 PM, Thursday, April 16, 2015, in the Marina Ballroom (II and III) at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, which is the NCTM Conference headquarters hotel. I look forward to seeing you.
What’s Ahead for AMTE in 2015?
Finally, I return to my vision statement for AMTE as crafted for my nomination to become President. I find what I wrote in 2013 to be as pertinent and timely today for the leadership of AMTE and I close my first column as President of AMTE with this vision statement:
In this current climate of ongoing scrutiny of the effectiveness of teacher education programs, AMTE is well positioned to support its members in addressing the issues and in serving as an authority and public voice for mathematics teacher education. My goal is to further solidify AMTE as the premier organization promoting the improvement of mathematics teacher education though the dissemination of high-quality educational research and innovative models for teacher preparation and professional development. I am committed to promoting and advancing the mission and goals of AMTE.