Candidate for Secretary
Cynthia E. Taylor
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Participation in AMTE and/or AMTE Affiliates(s)
I have been an active member of AMTE, participating in annual meetings since 2008 and presenting more than sixteen sessions during that time. I have also reviewed proposals for the annual conference over the years. Furthermore, I have been an active member of the Pennsylvania AMTE Affiliate (PAMTE) for the past six years as: a) PAMTE Board Member-at-Large (May 2013-May 2015 & May 2015-May 2017), b) PAMTE AMTE Affiliate Representative (May 2016-May 2018), and c) the current PAMTE President (President-elect [2017-2018], President [2018-2020], Past President [2020-2021]).
I am deeply committed to the mission, goals, and priorities of AMTE, both as a researcher and as a mathematics teacher educator, and would like to contribute to the continued growth and strength of the organization through the Secretary role.
Participation in Related Organizations
I am a member in good standing of NCTM (1998-present) and have served as a reviewer for the practitioner journals Teaching Children Mathematics and Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. I have also been active in the Pennsylvania NCTM Affiliate (PCTM) as a Board Member (2013-2018), Co-Editor of the PCTM Magazine (September 2013-September 2018), and Program Co-Chair for the Annual PCTM Conference (August 2015-August 2018). In 2017 and 2018 I organized the first and second “east” and “west” preservice teacher day in Pennsylvania, co-sponsored by PAMTE and PCTM. I am also a current member of The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education.
Qualifications for the Position
With respect to my service and various leadership roles in PAMTE and PCTM, I have needed to be detail oriented, be a strong collaborator, work well with others, and be a good communicator (both verbal and written). These experiences have provided me with opportunities to better understand the function of professional leadership at national, state, and local levels. As a leader, I strive to be an active listener, be an excellent team member and communicator, and maintain an efficiency to lead the organizations to further their missions and goals. These set of experiences will help me contribute to the AMTE leadership.
Three Goals AMTE should make a Priority
My first goal relates to broaden the outreach and membership of AMTE to extend to other mathematics teacher educators beyond traditional 4-year university faculty. It is essential that we spread the word about AMTE to mathematics teacher educators across the country and invite them to join us at the annual meeting. This group includes, but is not limited to, instructors from community colleges, district mathematics supervisors, and colleagues from non-academic educational organizations (e.g., organizations that provide services such as curriculum development, instructional improvement, educational planning services, instructional materials services [technology], continuing professional development, etc.) that work closely with prospective teachers and/or in-service K-12 teachers of mathematics. Networking, connecting, and having the AMTE organization reach out to these populations will incorporate a more diverse group of mathematics teacher educators, who can bring a range of mathematics teaching experience and ideas that will push the organization “to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education, K-12” and will increase the diversity of the AMTE membership. As secretary I could help develop brochures to advertise what AMTE does to this population and connect with them via social media and through connections AMTE Affiliates and current AMTE members have.
My second goal is for AMTE to annually offer a half-day pre-conference seminar for AMTE Affiliate leaders where they can collaborate and network (in person) on issues important to affiliates. As an active PAMTE Affiliate member, for the past four years, I have attended the affiliate connection session that is offered at the annual AMTE conference and this past year shared what PAMTE is doing to foster a new partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. I find the annual sessions spark new ideas for how PAMTE can better support their members, increase attendance at affiliate conferences, collaborate with other state professional organizations that also have a stake in mathematics education, etc. However, beyond this one session, there does not seem to be enough time to network with other affiliate leaders at the conference. It is vital that AMTE foster AMTE affiliate communication in order to help promote MTEs to get involved—not just in AMTE, but in areas close to AMTE members' homes, region, nationally, and beyond. This is a way affiliate members can let people know about the importance of mathematics teacher education and AMTE every day.
My third goal for AMTE is to update the history of AMTE. As secretary, I would update the document “The Beginnings through January 2012” that outlines “A History of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators” and make the presence of the information more searchable on the AMTE website. Since the inception of AMTE in 1991 where approximate 15 individuals met, the organization has grown. Preserving the historical happenings of the organization will help get the word out that AMTE is an organization that has a vested interest in effective mathematics teacher education programs and practices. As Sid Rachlin stated in the Spring 2006, Connections Newsletter, “While all [MTEs] are flapping as fast as they can to keep up with their busy personal and professional lives, by joining together as an association, AMTE members move towards our goal more quickly because we travel on the thrust of another. If we stay in formation and willingly accept the help of others and give help to others who share in the goal, we can travel farther.” As an organization we have come far since 1991 and updating the history for current members to see what AMTE has accomplished may inspire new ideas and directions for them to pursue.
I work at a state university in Pennsylvania where my primary responsibility is to teach 24 semester hours per year (i.e., fall and spring semester). According to the Basic Carnegie Classification, Millersville University of Pennsylvania is a Master’s College & University: Larger Program. When I look at the schools the AMTE leadership team represents, most individuals are at Doctoral institutions with a Very High research activity classification and the student population at these schools are more than 20,000. However, there are three team members who are at Private schools where the student population is less than 10,000. Thus, my election to the board would provide representation from a Public teaching institution of ≈7,700 students.
I spent nearly 10 years as a high school mathematics teacher and the past 8 years as a mathematics teacher educator in a department of mathematics where I teach content and methods courses for prospective teachers as well as service courses for non-mathematics majors. Over the years, these teaching experiences have enhanced my skills at communication, organization, and attention to detail—essential qualities that are needed to lead AMTE as secretary. My election to the AMTE board would bring the experience of a secondary mathematics teacher who is currently teaching prospective teachers both content and methods courses.
All of my life, I have wanted to do what I am doing—teach future teachers at the university level. AMTE is the annual conference I get the most professionally out of and I would like to give back to the organization that has given me so much “food for thought” these past 11 years. I feel I am making a difference at my institution and am supporting the mission of AMTE “to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education, K-12.” If elected, I would be an advocate for increasing the number of sessions offered at the annual conference so additional mathematics teacher educators can share the work they are doing with current prospective teachers. Furthermore, despite the fact that I am at a teaching institution and teach in a mathematics department, I am an active researcher where my research focus is on preparing prospective teachers on equitable mathematics instruction in their future K-12 classroom. My research supports AMTE’s focus on equity and aligns to AMTE’s goal “equitable practices in mathematics teacher education, including increasing the diversity of mathematics teachers and teacher educators.” Thus, I support and would advocate for mathematics teacher educators sharing research and other scholarly endeavors related to mathematics teacher education with AMTE members as an elected board member.