This past February at the end of the 2015 AMTE Annual Conference, Fran Arbaugh concluded her two-year term (2013–15) as President and transitioned into the role of immediate Past President.
During Fran’s term as President, I have had the honor of working closely along side her, and I can tell you firsthand her love for the organization and her desire for AMTE to be the voice of mathematics teacher education is strong and deep. She has a long history of involvement in and service to AMTE. Fran served on the Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large from 2007–2010, and returned in 2012 to begin her term as President Elect. Concurrently, Fran also served as co-editor of Volume Five of the AMTE Monographs: Inquiry into Mathematics Teacher Education (2008), whose articles helped to provide a more focused lens on a cohesive research agenda in our field.
During Fran’s presidency, AMTE has taken many strides, and they are not only worthy of our notice, but also our recognition.
Fran continued the tradition of AMTE presidents becoming involved at the national level to keep our organization not only informed in important issues, but also an important participant at the table in many of those discussions. She has worked with our colleagues in the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to build strong ties. During her presidency, the organization produced two position statements—on the Role of Elementary Mathematics Specialists in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics (December 2013) and on Improving Student Achievement in Mathematics through Formative Assessment (May 2014)—in addition to responding to the CAEP Framework Draft Standards in March 2013, and most recently, responding to the proposed Federal Regulations for Teacher Preparation Programs in early 2015. These standards and responses to national issues were the result of the work of many AMTE members who donated their time and energy, and were undertaken and accomplished during Fran's time of leadership.
Fran and Nadine Bezuk, our former Executive Director, began discussions with Information Age Publishing, Inc. (IAP) early in her time as president to explore the feasibility of republishing the AMTE Monograph Series, and making its content more widely available to our members in new ways. This led to further discussion of expanding publishing opportunities in the field of mathematics teacher education. AMTE had worked for several years with NCTM to establish the Mathematics Teacher Educator electronic journal, which was first published in Fall 2012 and has grown in the last two years. Now, AMTE is also embarking on a joint venture with IAP to co-publish a three-book series in the next five years, the AMTE Professional Book Series, edited and authored by AMTE members on topics of importance to the mathematics teacher education community. The first two volumes will focus on equity and on elementary mathematics specialists, respectively.
During her time as President, Fran has been supportive of the need for the organization to move forward, both technologically and infra-structurally. She has encouraged our expansion of the AMTE website and its transformation to become more dynamic. She has challenged us to look beyond the tasks of just any current year (or even month or week) and to think about the overall structure of AMTE, as a growing organization for the future. During her presidency, interest and involvement in AMTE is high and our membership has increased stably by at least 10%. Now, Christine Thomas is carrying the mantle of helping us look forward and envision the future of AMTE down the road. Fran’s work as Past President in the next year will focus on helping us think about policies, procedures, documentation, and archival.
But, given these many ways that the organization has advanced during Fran’s presidency, there is a story from this year’s conference that I feel most captures her impact on the organization.
On Thursday night at the conference, in the Early Career and Graduate Student Reception, I asked Fran to welcome the attendees. Those of you who know Fran know that she does not like to make long speeches. But, as she began, she looked around the room and took off her presidential hat…and spent a few minutes not just welcoming these newer members of our organization, but connecting with them to feel included. She offered advice on what’s really important in our lives and professional careers, encouraged them, gave a couple of practical tips, and embraced the early career and graduate student members as part of the AMTE family. After the reception, I had multiple attendees come tell me “that is why I am an AMTE member—Fran made me feel included and a part of the AMTE family” and “what she said to us was really important for us to hear.”
Thank you, Fran, for having served faithfully as one of our AMTE family leaders and for inviting all members to join the table. Enjoy post-presidency!
Tim Hendrix, Executive Director