This is Not Goodbye
Fran Arbaugh, President
This is my last Connections message to you as the AMTE President. At the Business Meeting that concludes our conference in February, I will (literally) hand over the AMTE gavel to Christine Thomas, who will then begin her two year term as AMTE President. For this last message, I want to communicate my thoughts about my time as President and tell you about some important work that the Board has undertaken during my tenure. I have been thinking a lot about how to characterize my tenure as AMTE President, and the phrase that I think best describes it is that is has been a period of transitions.
AMTE, as an organization, has undergone tremendous growth in the past few years. Our membership numbers are consistently climbing; current membership stands at 1082 members, up from 912 at this time in 2013. We had a record high of 470 proposals for the 2015 Annual Conference and current registration is 620 people. We have many new benefits for our members. Two examples come to mind: AMTE now offers regularly scheduled webinars and the Research Committee has expanded the content of the AMTE Research page with useful articles and audio or video recorded interviews with mathematics educators who have distinguished themselves in the field of mathematics teacher education. The AMTE website has been revised and expanded to accommodate more sophisticated utilization, including the capacity to host the on-line version of Connections. AMTE has become the professional home for the STaR (Service, Teaching, and Research) Program, a mentoring program for early career mathematics educators. The annual intake/output flow of AMTE funds through our treasury has reached almost $500,000.
Now, before you think that I might be claiming credit for all of this growth and expansion, let me fully acknowledge that AMTE’s growth is the direct result of many, many volunteers who dedicate hours of effort, intellectual capital, and boundless energy to serve AMTE. Many of the activities that AMTE is currently involved in both internally and on a national level were seeded by Past Presidents, Members of the Board of Directors, and committee members. The transition that I believe marks my presidency is the outcome of all of this work; I believe that AMTE has greatly benefitted from an intense period of growth and has fully transitioned from a small organization serving a few hundred members to a viable and thriving national leader in mathematics teacher education. My contribution, from my perspective, has been in leading several efforts to “shore up” the AMTE infrastructure so that it can support all of this recent growth and be ready for future growth. To this end, under my presidency, the Board has made a number of decisions in an effort to strengthen the infrastructure upon which all of our collected activity depends. We have engaged professional and ongoing legal and accounting services. We have worked hard to conceptualize and establish new lines of revenue (more on that in the next couple of months via email). We have continued to be engaged at the national level in ways that position AMTE as a “voice at the table” for national initiatives. We recognize that much of the work that the Board has undertaken in the last two years has not been explicitly visible to the membership at large, but this work has been essential for the health of the organization. I am happy to report to you that AMTE’s financial and legal infrastructure is strong and ready to support AMTE into the future.
Another transition that AMTE has experienced in the last two years is a change in Executive Director. If you will recall, at the end of the 2014 Annual Conference, Nadine Bezuk “retired” after 14 years of service as AMTE Executive Director (photo below). Tim Hendrix assumed this critical role for AMTE at that time (photo below). So much of what the AMTE Executive Director does on a daily basis is not observable by the membership, and I want to take this opportunity to publically acknowledge Tim’s work during the past 10 months and communicate the extent to which his work on our behalf forms the keystone that supports the entirety of AMTE’s activities and initiatives (as did Nadine’s before him). As you may suspect, and as Past Presidents and Board Members can attest to, Tim’s learning curve has been very steep during these past 10 months. I have been so impressed with the ways that Tim has approached this challenging transition. It has been a pleasure to be in a position to work with him during this period, as he has undertaken this challenge with good humor, grace, and an endless supply of energy. He works so hard for this organization, and if you are so moved, please join me in thanking Tim the next time you see him (or email him). I also want to publically thank Nadine for her support during this transition, as she has graciously answered all of our calls for help!
To end my last President’s Message, I want to say that it has been a privilege and a pleasure to have served as the AMTE President from 2013-2015. I have been amazed and impressed with the willingness of the membership to serve this organization and am so thankful to all of the volunteers who undertake important work for AMTE. I also want to publically thank the AMTE members who have served on the Board during my Presidency; it has been a pleasure to work with this group and I appreciate the work you have done in support of the organization. The state of AMTE is strong and that state is directly correlated with an impassioned and involved membership. Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting me during my time as President.
So, this is not goodbye for me - I am a life-long AMTE-er! Like many of you, AMTE is at the top of my list of professional organizations (and not just alphabetically). It is the organization in which I feel the most kinship with the full membership and I bask in the environment of connectedness with other mathematics teacher educators that this organization affords for me. For the immediate future, I will continue to serve as an AMTE Board Member (as Immediate Past-President) for 2015 and I look forward to supporting Christine Thomas in her first year as AMTE President. I encourage you to extend her the same support and AMTE love that you have extended to me.