Where we’ve been and where we’re headed
In preparing to write this column, my final one as President of AMTE, I’ve looked back at what other presidents wrote in their farewell columns. This was an interesting reflective exercise, as it both illustrated the commonalities between my two years in this office and the stark differences that the past two years have brought to our organization, our work, and our field. I am extraordinarily grateful for the experience of serving AMTE. I remember vividly the December day I received Randy Phiipp’s call informing me of the election results as I stood on the train platform in downtown Milwaukee, headed to present at the NCTM regional conference in Chicago. I remain as humbled today as I was at that moment that you all as members of this professional organization put your trust and faith in me to be a leader and custodian for our work over the past two years. And as well, the image of that particular time and place underscores how much things have changed in that intervening time.
We sit on the precipice of our first-ever virtual AMTE meeting, and I am incredibly excited for the opportunities that such a convening presents. Members of our mathematics education community who have not had the ability to attend our annual meeting will have more access than ever before to the research and practice discussions that make up the foundation of our conference. The format also allows for stronger participation from our graduate student and K-12 communities who are critical partners with us in the work. And we are able to introduce new and innovative ideas into our format, such as Community Circles that will give voice and space to critical issues that our structures may have marginalized in the past. With all of these changes, we are committed to preserving the one thing you all have told us is at the heart of the AMTE conference experience for you all – a true sense of community.
As we move through a continued dual pandemic of public health and racial injustice, I am proud of the work that we have done as an organization to support mathematics teacher educators during these times. We have mobilized resources to support the changing face of mathematics teacher education. We have reified our commitment to justice as an organization, not only through the dissemination of organizational statements but also by making justice issues even more explicit in our short- and long-term goals as an organization. As I reflect on the steps we’ve taken in the past 9 months, I note that we were incredibly well positioned as an organization to do this work, as our membership as a collective had already been thinking and acting in these spaces prior to the stark changes in our world. At the same time, I note that we have a tremendous amount of work to do going forward. What will teaching and learning look like for mathematics teacher educators in the future, and how do we ensure equity and access for preservice and practicing mathematics teachers? How do we expand our reach and scope to better partner with our K-12 partners and across our university contexts? When will we mobilize meaningful and substantive steps to diversify both the mathematics teacher and mathematics teacher educator community? And how do we use our increased voice and standing in the mathematics education community to partner with our sibling organizations to dismantle systemic barriers and promote equitable practices? These questions will continue to face AMTE as an organization and I am more confident than ever that we are equipped to be strong leaders in this work.
At the close of our AMTE meeting, I will pass the gavel to the incredibly capable hands of Megan Burton. The circumstances of this ritual underscore the changed world in which we live, as for the first time, an outgoing AMTE president will not be able to physically hand that gavel to their successor. Megan has the vision and the compassion to continue to lead AMTE through the challenging and uncertain times ahead. I am thankful to Megan, our current Executive Director Shari Stockero, our past Executive Director Tim Hendrix, and my predecessor in the presidency Randy Philipp for their amazing partnership and guidance over the past two years. AMTE is, at its heart, its people, and I have had the privilege of working with an extraordinary set of leaders during this past two years as President. They have strengthened our organization with the greatest of care and have all strengthened my capabilities as a servant leader and a listener.
AMTE is an extraordinary organization that does amazing work, and it has been the highlight of my professional career to have the opportunity to lead. Our conference sessions, webinars, journals, podcasts, mentoring via STaR, advocacy, and outreach efforts are extraordinary for an organization of our modest size. The cadre of five divisions and their vice presidents, over twenty associate vice presidents, and over eighty committee members who do this work as volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization and they put in an incredible amount of time, thought, and effort to providing service for our community. I’m thankful to them all for that work.
You are, of course, not quite finished with me yet, as I will serve the next year as immediate past president to complete my service to AMTE. But as I sign off in my role as President, I want to thank each and every one of you, our AMTE members, for the trust you’ve placed in me, for the incredible insightful conversations I’ve had with so many of you about our work, and for your commitment and service to the field of mathematics teacher education. You have provided me with an incredible opportunity to learn and grow, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as a part of our organization and field in the years to come.
Yours in service,