President's Message

Revisiting the Past Two Years and Going Forward!

Over the past two years I have had the honor of serving as President of AMTE and will conclude my term of office during the 2017 Annual Business Meeting. At that time, I will turn the gavel over to Randy Philipp, who will serve as the 2017-2019 President of AMTE. In this, my final message in Connections as President, I revisit AMTE’s accomplishments over the past two years.

I begin by returning to my vision for AMTE and the 2015 and 2016 strategic priorities. As a 2015 candidate for President-elect of AMTE, I stated that my vision was to further solidify AMTE as the premier organization promoting the improvement of mathematics teacher education through the dissemination of high-quality educational research and innovative models for teacher preparation and professional development. In 2015, our strategic priorities were to strengthen connections across the organization to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education through evidence-based decisions and strengthen AMTE’s advocacy for high quality mathematics teacher education in support of quality mathematics teaching. Then in 2016, our strategic priorities were to reflect on AMTE’s impact and celebrate the past 25 years as an organization and to strengthen the AMTE infrastructure to support our individual and collective capacities to advance mathematics teacher education for the next 25 years. Let’s review specific accomplishments with respect to our priorities over the past two years. I do so with themes as I go through various stops along the way.

First stop, the AMTE Mathematics Teacher Preparation Standards. It was during the 2015 Annual Conference that the AMTE Board of Directors was challenged by Nadine Bezuk, during her delivery of the Judith Jacobs Lecture at the Annual Conference, to develop standards for the preparation of mathematics teachers. I vividly recall her saying that as the lead organization for mathematics teacher education, AMTE should be the organization that provides guidance for the preparation of mathematics teachers. In the April 2015 meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board approved going forward to develop standards and established a leadership team for writing the document. Since that time, I have continued to inform our members of the progress as I shared ongoing stages in the development beginning with the selection of the writing team members and with the announcement of the most recent public review of the draft document. At this time, I am honored to provide this most significant update. The AMTE Mathematics Teacher Preparation Standards will be released at our 2017 Annual Conference.

Second stop, the restructure of AMTE’s governance. As stated above in our priorities, the AMTE Board of Directors was committed to strengthening AMTE’s viability as the lead organization for mathematics teacher education. Thus, a major focus of the Board was to analyze the structure of our governance with respect to how AMTE is positioned currently and for the future to respond to challenges and issues in mathematics teacher education. This led to the Board’s decision to restructure AMTE’s governance. Thus, over the past two years the AMTE Board has been immersed in the design of the restructure. In my fall 2016 newsletter column, I shared the organizational chart for restructure and the background and rationale for how the Board arrived at the new structure. In that newsletter column, I also shared that under the restructured governance, AMTE has five divisions and each division will be led by a Vice President. I am honored to announce the Vice-President for each division: 

Maggie McGatha, Vice-President for Membership

Lynn Breyfogle, Vice-President for Professional Learning

Christine Browning, Vice-President for Publications

Paola Sztajn, Vice-President for Advocacy, Equity, and Research

Suzanne Harper, Vice President for Communications and Outreach

Please visit the page on our website for their bios. The restructure will commence at the close of the 2017 conference under Randy Philipp, as our new President of AMTE. Please visit my column in the fall issue of Connections for further details about the restructure and to view the organizational chart. 

Third stop, AMTE milestones. During 2016 we celebrated the 20th AMTE Annual Conference and began the 25th year celebration of AMTE. It is interesting to note, there were 125 attendees at the first Annual Conference and over 650 attendees at the 2016 Annual Conference. The AMTE membership has grown from 132 members in 1992 to over 1000 members in 2016.

The fourth stop, other major accomplishments of 2015 and 2016. AMTE has engaged in numerous initiatives during 2015 and 2016 that addressed our priorities. While not an exhaustive list, these include: being proactive in addressing national issues related to mathematics teacher education, releasing the first book in our professional book series, hosting the Elementary Mathematics Specialist Research Conference, and becoming an active partner in the collaboration for the Call for A Collective Action.

Over the past two years, AMTE has been effective in advocating for members with respect to national issues affecting mathematics teacher education. A recap of some of the advocacy initiatives include: the Emerging Issues Committee survey of members to determine the impact of declining enrollments in mathematics teacher education programs, the AMTE Board’s approval that AMTE be a signatory on the letter requesting that IES funding for research in mathematics education not be cut or reduced, and AMTE’s call for members to submit letters requesting a separate category for mathematics teachers in the federal government’s Standards of Occupational Classifications. Please visit the Emerging Issues section of our website for detailed information on these initiatives and more.

In November 2016, AMTE published the first book in its professional book series. Cases for Mathematics Teacher Educators: Facilitating Conversations about Inequities in Mathematics Classrooms edited by Dorothy White, Sandra Crespo, and Marta Civil. As stated in the description: “This book of cases provides a needed resource for MTEs to engage prospective teachers, practicing teachers, and future teacher educators in discussions about inequities, privilege, and oppression in society, in schools, and in the mathematics classroom. It is the product of the thinking and experiences of 87 authors who are committed to the improvement of mathematics teacher education.”

In May 2015, AMTE hosted the Elementary Mathematics Specialist Research Conference at the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics. Details about this conference can be found in the 2015 summer issue of Connections. I mention this conference again here as a major accomplishment and am pleased to inform you this conference influenced the development of the second book of our professional book series which will be released early in 2017. The second book, the Elementary Mathematics Specialists: Developing, Refining, and Examining Programs that Support Mathematics, edited by Maggie B. McGatha & Nicole R. Rigelman, is designed “to support mathematics teacher educators as they develop, refine, and examine Elementary Mathematics Specialist Programs.”

One of the most recent initiatives for AMTE is the engagement in the Call for A Collective Action to “Develop Awareness of Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education.” AMTE joined a broad coalition in a year of collective, organizational, and personal action. During 2016-17, AMTE invites mathematics teacher educators to join the coalition in a year dedicated to building our collective knowledge and understanding of topics and issues related to equity and social justice in mathematics education. I ask that you visit our website for details including a listing of monthly readings and upcoming webinars.

Fifth and final stop, ongoing initiatives. In addition to all that is mentioned above, it is also important to note the continuation of our webinars and publications: Connections, the Mathematics Teacher Educator and CITE-Math. The ongoing AMTE webinars and publications continued as highly effective components of AMTE through 2016 that addressed our strategic priority for connecting to our members and further strengthening AMTE’s position as a lead organization.

As I close my final newsletter column, I want to thank everyone who contributed in any way and supported the ongoing work of the organization during my tenure as president. This recap, while not an exhaustive listing, evinces our accomplishments as well as provides insight for next steps.  The AMTE Board of Directors has worked diligently to ensure AMTE remains as the lead organization for mathematics teacher education for the next 25 years. It has been an honor to serve as President of AMTE, the organization that “Leads the Way” in mathematics teacher education.

Thank you!

Christine D. Thomas, President