Communications from the AMTE Board

Welcome to a new regular feature to the Connections online newsletter—Communications from the AMTE Board. Sometimes, it seems that the work of our organization revolves around the Annual Conference—both because the conference is an annual high point for the organization and preparations for the next year’s conference begin almost immediately after the current year’s conference. However, throughout the year, the AMTE Headquarters, the Board of Directors, AMTE Committees, Special Task Forces, and a host of other volunteers are all engaged with the ongoing work of AMTE. We recognize that AMTE is involved in many different efforts to impact mathematics teacher education—standards writing projects, professional development webinars, the STaR early career induction program, identification of emerging issues for our consideration, publication of a new book series in mathematics teacher education, etc. AND…at the hub of all of these activities is the work of our AMTE Board of Directors. In each newsletter, we will include an article describing the recent work of the Board and provide you an update on the pulse of the organization. In this first edition, we will also provide general information about work of the Board; thus, this first article will be longer than usual.

General Work of the Board

In our Board Meeting at the Annual Conference, we welcomed three new board members (Randy Philipp, President-Elect; Anita Wager, Treasurer; and Mike Steele, Member-at-Large) and we paid tribute to the contributions of three outgoing members: Fran Arbaugh, Past-President; Suzanne Harper, Treasurer, and Ed Silver, Member-at-Large. If you see any of these individuals, please take the opportunity to thank them for their service to the organization. (For a list of the AMTE Board leadership, visit the AMTE Website.)

The AMTE Board of Directors meets monthly for two hours online via Go-To-Meeting. For each Board Meeting, board members give a written report via Google Docs of their ongoing work as well as an update from the committee for which they serve as liaison. Annually, the Board meets face-to-face in an all-day meeting one day prior to the Annual Conference. In the past, the Board also met face-to-face one entire day during the NCSM/NCTM week. However, last fall the Board held an initial Annual Retreat for 1.5 days at the AMTE Headquarters in Raleigh, NC. This type of working retreat allows the board to work in a more concentrated fashion without the additional distractions of the NCSM and NCTM conference events.

Highlights of Recent 2016 Board Meetings

January 27, 2016 in Irvine, CA: The Board reviewed a summary of 2015 actions and activities of the organization. The Board voted in support of the recommendation from Christine Thomas to extend the term of Megan Burton as Affiliates Director for an additional year. We reviewed the finances of the organization at the “midway” point in our fiscal year. We discussed the role of board members to be effective liaisons to AMTE Committees and assigned liaisons for the upcoming year (see AMTE website). The Board discussed an image copyright infringement claim being brought against the organization, and resolved to settle this claim. Most importantly, the Board discussed and approved the strategic priorities for 2016 (see President’s Message) and focused a great deal of time on the possible restructure of our organization’s infrastructure.

February 19, 2016 via Go-To-Meeting: The Board voted to settle the copyright infringement claim for a reduced amount plus legal fees. We discussed feedback about various aspects of the 2016 Annual Conference including the newly inaugurated Poster Session. Overall, feedback of the 2016 conference, like that of past conferences, was very positive, and yet we use survey feedback to continue to improve future conferences. Susan Gay reported that Site Services is widening the search for 2018 conference location possibilities. The Board discussed our current conference cancellation policy, and after robust discussion, decided to keep the policy unchanged. While we sympathize with emergency-related events that often result in a late cancellation, AMTE has already committed funds for conference-related expenses at that point. After investigation, we found that our cancellation deadline is generous compared to other comparable organizations. A larger portion of the meeting was devoted to discussion of the next steps in the AMTE restructuring process. After the meeting, via email, the Board voted to be a signatory on the letter in support of the nomination of Diane Briars, NCTM President, to participate in the Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking setting regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Incorporation: At the Annual Business Meeting, you might have heard that AMTE is seeking incorporation. Let me give you a quick update and explanation. When I became Executive Director, I recommended that we engage both legal counsel (to assist with contracts, have on retainer) and an accounting firm (to assist the organization with tax preparation and best practices). Both entities immediately asked where we were incorporated. After extensive research, we found that AMTE is a non-profit unincorporated association. We do have 501(c) 3 status, but have never become incorporated as an entity. In today’s environment, it is typical that we would be an incorporated non-profit entity, again with 501(c) 3 status. Many states include incorporation as an assumed first step in establishing a non-profit association. Why is this important? An unincorporated association puts its officers and board of directors at risk in terms of liability. Essentially, there are no protections for the organization or its officers/board members without incorporation. Thus, we have engaged our in-house legal counsel to assist us with the process of incorporation and are working towards that goal. In the next newsletter (Summer 2016), we will share more with you about the process and how we will transition to becoming an incorporated non-profit association.

Restructuring: In the President’s Message, Christine Thomas shares the rationale for looking carefully at our infrastructure. In essence, we have grown tremendously in recent years and our scope of influence and involvement has widened. We operate much as we did when we were a smaller organization, built largely on the work and dedication of volunteer members. However, we also associate with and work on a level with sister mathematics and education professional societies that operate with full time headquarters and staff members. AMTE is not positioned to make such a leap, but we must consider how we organize our work both for efficiency and to better meet the goals of AMTE. We will be sharing in subsequent newsletters the steps we are taking to reorganize. Your support as AMTE members is important in this process and we want you to be informed! The restructuring effort is separate from the incorporation process, but the fact that we are undertaking both concurrently is beneficial for the organization. 

As 2016 continues, we will provide updates on our ongoing work, and on these major projects for AMTE, both in Connections and on the website. If you ever have a question about the work of the AMTE Board of Directors or the AMTE Headquarters, please do not hesitate to talk to an AMTE Board Member. Please contact me if you have questions, concerns, or feedback. We love to hear your ideas, and benefit from the synergy of those ideas coinciding with AMTE meeting its priorities!

Respectfully submitted,

Tim Hendrix, AMTE Executive Director