Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: MAT-Mathematics Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
Georgia State University/Urban Mathematics Educators Program
Current academic or teaching status:
5th year teaching
School and school district:
Grady High School, Atlanta Public Schools
After many years of working as a director for the YMCA, I decided to return to school and become a high school mathematics teacher. At the YMCA I learned training skills and supervised a lot of teenagers, which helped with the transition. I studied mathematics as an undergraduate at Georgia State University and graduated with honors. I decided to continue with my master’s in mathematics education so I applied for the TEEMS program. After working for a non-profit, the urban environment seemed like a great fit so I applied and received a Robert Noyce scholarship for teaching urban mathematics. I completed my master’s in a year. I went to work as a teacher for Salem High School in Rockdale County. The next year I was promoted to Athletic Director and Mathematics Teacher at Rockdale County High School. The following year I decided to move to a more urban environment and work in the city of Atlanta at Grady High School. I have been at Grady for three years and love every minute of it.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach because I have a passion for students. I understand not every kid will become a mathematician, but they all can become great problem solvers. I think more than teaching, I want to be a great motivator. I want my students to have fun and be successful in class. I want to let them know they are great even if they are not strong at math.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
During my second year of teaching I was Athletic Director and teaching a full math schedule. The school I was working at had a student die during summer football practice the year before I started. My principal was very focused on athletics and making sure all paperwork and procedures were in order. Often, focus was placed on athletics over the classroom. I was never comfortable with the decision so I always did my best to give my math students full attention in the classroom. At the end of the year, I felt like I was not the best teacher I could be due to being pulled in so many directions. The next year I transferred to Grady High School. At the end of my first year, I received an invitation to attend a banquet in Rockdale County. The invitation was for teachers who had changed a student’s life, but it did not tell you the student who had nominated you. When I attended the banquet, I discovered that I had been nominated by a student I taught the year I was athletic director. She said I changed her dislike of math, now it was her favorite subject, and she was more focused on school. In all honesty, I felt I had done an injustice to my students that year, and I would have never guessed I actually influenced one. This experience showed me that I can change a student’s life. It can happen when one least expects it.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The program first provided me with a great education. The foundation I received from Georgia State University and the Urban TEEMs program was great. Since graduation, the program has provided me with additional support and training.