UNCC Math Professor Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
, April 15, 2014-The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recently named Miriam A. Leiva as a recipient of the Mathematics Education Trust (MET) Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics Education. This award honors those who over a career have contributed significantly to mathematics education through their leadership, teaching, and service at the national level. Since the award's inception in 1994, MET has honored 47 individuals. The list reads like a "Who's Who" in mathematics education.
Miriam Leiva's passion for equity in mathematics education for all students is well known, and it continues to be the hallmark of her distinguished career. She is the founding president of TODOS: Mathematics for All, and has been highly esteemed for more than 45 years for her professional involvement in mathematics education and issues of educational equity.
Leiva is probably best known for her leadership of TODOS. She has been an avid, persuasive spokesperson on issues that affect the mathematics achievement of all students and in particular of Latino/a students in the United States. She is recognized as that rare person who makes everyone consider the disparities that exist in mathematics education for underrepresented, underserved students, and through her leadership, she has provided a call to action and reform of that environment. That mission-the mission of TODOS-still remains at the forefront of her leadership efforts today.
Leiva's service to mathematics education also includes significant contributions to NCTM. She has always been ready to step up and serve the Council. Her initial efforts included membership on the early Equity and Diversity Task Force, and later she was a member of a newer Equity Task Force that established the NCTM Equity collection and initiated the Council's Equity position statement. In the 1990s, she served as editor of the K-6 volumes in NCTM's Addenda Series, developed to support the Council's first publications calling for and setting forth learning, teaching, and assessment standards for mathematics education. She has been a member of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education editorial panel, the Research Advisory Committee, and the Nominations and Elections Committee. More recently she served on the NCTM Principles to Actions author committee, with particular emphasis on equity. Leiva has served as a member of the NCTM Board of Directors and twice stood for election to the NCTM presidency.
Leiva has spoken at every NCTM annual meeting since the 1980 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Seattle, including several invited sessions or keynotes. She has also been invited as a speaker in mathematics education around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Spain, Hungary, and Puerto Rico.
Although establishing and building the influence and success of TODOS are extraordinary accomplishments, Leiva's service to equity in and for mathematics education is much more than her work on behalf of TODOS. She has received a host of honors for her achievements, including an award from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Ross Taylor/Glenn Gilbert Memorial Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the Iris Carl Equity and Leadership Award from TODOS, the North Carolina Diamante Award for contributions to the Hispanic/Latino community in the state, and the Rankin Award, which recognizes and honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) and to mathematics education in North Carolina-the highest honor NCCTM bestows. Leiva also received the NCNB (Bank of America) Teaching Award and was the first Bonnie Cone Distinguished Professor for Teaching at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC). Leiva is currently Cone Distinguished Professor Emerita and Mathematics Professor Emerita at UNCC.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. With 80,000 members and more than 200 Affiliates, NCTM is the world's largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. The Council's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics includes guidelines for excellence in mathematics education and issues a call for all students to engage in more challenging mathematics. Its Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics identifies the most important mathematical topics for each grade level. Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making advocates practical changes to the high school mathematics curriculum to refocus learning on reasoning and sense making. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for our nation's students.
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