This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine

  • This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine

    March 2020

    As I reflect on recent weeks, I am thankful for the numerous people who have worked diligently in helping NCTM pivot toward making the best of an unprecedented situation. For many of our members, these people may not be visible, meaning they are working behind the scenes to ensure that “the little light” of NCTM shines. In this message, I want to acknowledge the work of various people who have worked behind the scenes because, I believe, they all deserve for others to see their light shine.

    I want to acknowledge the NCTM staff for everything. My heart is full, knowing that the NCTM membership has people who willingly go above and beyond. Although I cannot name each NCTM staff person, I want to acknowledge how these people come together to collectively shine the light of NCTM under leadership at Headquarters.

    • Ken Krehbiel, NCTM’s Executive Director: I firmly believe that Ken is the heartbeat of the Council. The Council is so fortunate to have a leader who is thoughtful, with a demeanor that keeps us calm and steady in not only this unprecedented situation but throughout all the challenges that the Council may face.
    • Dave Shayka, NCTM’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer: Dave, along with Jody Wolfe, NCTM’s Director of Finance, worked diligently on the budget, keeping the Board informed on news as it unfolded. Dave and Jody are the budget gurus who have educated the NCTM Board on the budget implications of many decisions.
    • David Barnes, NCTM’s Associate Executive Director for Research, Learning, and Development: Dave’s research, advocacy, and policy expertise is a valuable asset for the mathematics education community. I am thankful for Dave because he makes me smarter about research, advocacy, and policy. He also worked closely with the authors and managed the development of all three Catalyzing Change books.
    • Delilah Peyton, NCTM’s Director of Conference Services: Delilah and the entire Conference Services staff invested many hours in the Centennial Annual Meeting & Exposition, and my heart hurts that we were unable to experience the fruits of their labor.
    • Eileen Murphy, NCTM’s Director of Membership: Eileen and the Membership and Marketing staff invested a lot into growing membership and marketing NCTM resources and services. Eileen’s level of energy and expertise with regard to membership and marketing is unmatched.
    • Eleanore Tapscott, NCTM’s Director of Publications: Eleanore and the Publications staff (Editorial and Creative Services) launched a new, digital-first journal to get the Centennial year started. Eleanore’s publications expertise has positioned the Council to offer high-quality resources for teachers and students. Eleanore and her team edited and produced the Catalyzing Change series on a tight timeline.
    • Chonda Long, NCTM’s Director of Professional Development: Chonda’s willingness to think outside the box is representative of the shift in the type of professional development and resources the Council offers.
    • Denise Mann, NCTM’s Executive Office Manager: Dee does all the nuanced things that make an organization function smoothly. Whenever I have a question, Dee most likely has the answer or knows how I might find the answer.

    The Chicago Centennial Program Committee, Host Affiliates, and all volunteers deserve recognition as well. Cindy Bryant, Program Committee Chair for the Centennial Meeting, and the entire Program Committee worked overtime in planning this special occasion. I want to acknowledge the Program Committee and Host Affiliates volunteers.

    Chicago Centennial Program Committee

    • Joanna Burt-Kinderman, Pocahontas County High School, Dunmore, West Virginia
    • John Carter, New Trier High School, Winnetka, Illinois
    • Oscar Chavez, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
    • Scott Fellows, Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Falls Village, Connecticut
    • Tara Guerrero, Crane Elementary School District, Yuma, Arizona
    • Christa Jackson, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
    • Susan Katt, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, Nebraska
    • Ryan Nivens, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
    • Michael Shaughnessy, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
    • Benjamin Sinwell, Anderson School District 4, Anderson, South Carolina
    • Jennifer Suh, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
    • Christine Suurtamm, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Host Affiliates

    • Matthew Rosenberg, Host Affiliates Liaison, Chicago Public Schools, Illinois
    • Jaclyn Murawska, Saint Xavier University, Illinois
    • Annie Pestro Forest, LaVergne Education Center, Illinois
    • Mary Wiltjer, Glenbrook South High School, Illinois
    • Steve Condie, Illinois Math and Science Academy (retired)

    I am so thankful for the willingness of the Centennial Program Committee to take on the task of planning 100 Days of Professional Learning as a virtual presentation. In anticipation of the St. Louis Annual Meeting & Exposition (October 21–24), I will kick off 100 Days of Professional Learning on April 1. The tentative plan is to offer the presentations selected for the Chicago Centennial Annual Meeting & Exposition throughout the 100 Days. Details are still being worked out, but I am excited about this opportunity for the membership, the Program Committee, and presenters. Specifics will be posted on the NCTM website and on social media. All 100 Days of Professional Learning will be free to the community.

    I would like to focus on the NCTM Board of Directors. I am especially thankful to our outgoing Board members, who deserve acknowledgment from our community.

    • Linda Davenport, Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts
    • David Ebert, Oregon High School, Wisconsin
    • DeAnn Huinker, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
    • Daniel J. Teague, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina

    Board members have served the Council through a time in which tough decisions were made with regard to changes in the journals, shifting the Annual Meeting from spring to fall, expanding professional offerings, revamping the membership model, making tough budgetary decisions, and dealing with a global pandemic. Although the group above will be transitioning off the NCTM Board, their impact will be long-lasting. I am sorry that we will not be able to acknowledge them publicly in Chicago before they finish their Board terms in April.

    Finally, I want to thank NCTM members for your willingness to pivot. I know many of you have moved toward teaching in alternative ways in a short window of time. Many of you are engaged in managing your families while working from home and worrying about friends, colleagues, and loved ones. I want to invite you to engage in self-care and reflect on the truly wonderful things about you. I am sorry that we were unable to celebrate in Chicago, but I want us all to be safe and check in on one another. Let’s look forward to celebrating NCTM’s Centennial together in October in St. Louis.

    Robert Q. Berry III
    NCTM President

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    David Ebert - 3/27/2020 5:27:09 PM


    Thank YOU for your leadership during this difficult time.  It has been an honor to serve with you on the Board.


    Janie Merendino - 3/23/2020 2:36:37 PM

    And this is why I'm proud to be a member ! Great letter ! 

    Mary Lindquist - 3/22/2020 10:14:07 AM

    All of you deserve our thanks; we often forget how much volunteers contribute to  NCTM. And, without the dedicated staff, we would not accomplish much. NCTM had no choice, but is making the best of this situation.  Thanks to you, Robert, for your leadership.  Let us all know what we can do from a far.  Mary

    W Virginia Williams - 3/21/2020 6:35:10 PM

    Presidegt Berry,

    The comments you made about the various persons involved in NCTM organization were quite thougtful and insightful. I am a retired NCTM employee anda  current memer of NCTM. At the time of my retirement (2008) I managed the Affiliate Services Departnment, served as staff liaison to the Affiliate Services Committee, and was involved with the Board of Directors. Much has changed since my retitement. But I was blessed by your recognition of and comments about all of NCTM's various constituencies. I pray that your tenure as presiident the NCTM organization will be a time of vision and growth.

    W/Virginia Williams, EdD

    Hector N. Torres - 3/20/2020 8:46:20 PM

    Dear Dr. Berry;

    An unforgettable journey...and tenure at the helm of the best organization in the world...NCTM! I have been fortunate to met and converse with you on topics of mutual interest...all of them in an attempt to make mathematics education better...and what an excellent job you have done. 

    I am still hopeful that you can visit us here at Bethune-Cookman University...let's make it happen...we will really appreciate your insides.

    Be well and keep in touch...Dr. Torres (386) 481-7802...cell phone number... keep in touch.

    Merry Carney - 3/20/2020 5:52:38 PM

    Having free professional developement?!  That would be so awesome!!

    Thank you

    Merry Carney SLC, UT


    Marti Wayland - 3/20/2020 5:44:56 PM

    Thanks for all the work being done for math teachers in this unprecedented time in our history.  Is it possible to make some ILLUMINATIONS activities available for a limited time, perhaps until the end of the school year, to teachers who are not NCTM members?  Committed math teachers throughout the country are scrambling to provide excellent resources online, and NCTM has those resources.   The teachers I serve would be very grateful.

    Kim Krusen McComas - 3/20/2020 5:15:27 PM

    I love the idea of the 100 days of professional learning!  Thanks to all of you arranging that!

    Jose Ortiz - 3/20/2020 4:00:13 PM

    It has been important to me that you tackle the societal issues that are issues in public education. I understand that it is more polite to not discuss in mixed circles, but then again, nothing will change. So, kudos to you and NCTM for being strong advocates for change.

    Martin Gartzman - 3/20/2020 3:15:55 PM

    Thanks for this nice message.

    Shelly Jones - 3/20/2020 3:04:56 PM

    THANK YOU for your service to the NCTM Board Robert as President. Thank you to the outgoing board and for those continuing on. Welcome to the new board, we will see you in St. Louis! Thank you to the Centennial Program Committee, we all know that you worked so hard on this celebration and we celebrate you! To all the others Robert mentioned, Thank you. We truly do appreciate all that you do on our behalf as educators and on behalf of our students. 

    Francis (Skip) Fennell - 3/20/2020 2:43:25 PM

    Such a timely and truly appropriate President's Message. Appreciation of all those who have "come together to collectively shine the light of NCTM" is particularly meaningful as we all pivot - seemingly, daily.  Thank you, Robert.