Wednesday, March 27, 2019

MCubed Registration Open

MCTM is excited to announce that MCubed is open for registration.  MCubed will be June 12th and 13th in Butte.  The cost to attend is $33 for MCTM members and $58 for non-members.  If you have a t-shirt idea be sure to submit it (along with your registration) by May 20th.  The winner of the t-shirt contest gets a free year of MCTM membership.

Register online using this link:

Hotel information:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Election results

This year’s elections were extraordinarily close, we had so many qualified nominations!
Please join me in congratulating our new President Elect:
Jennifer Brackney
Please join me in congratulating the following candidates on their election to the MCTM Board of Directors (alphabetically by last name):

Kerry Gruizenga (Region 4, High School)
Chris Linhart (Region 3, High School)
Beth Walsh (Region 3, Middle School)

These individuals will be installed at the June 11th board meeting in Butte.

Friday, March 1, 2019

MCTM Elections

MCTM Elections are underway.  Here are the bios for each of the candidates on the ballot.

Name: Jennifer Brackney
Region/Representation: MCTM President-elect
School: Castle Rock Middle School
City: Billings

Present Teaching Assignment:
·         7th Grade Honors Pre-Algebra
·         8th Grade Pre-Algebra
·         8th Grade Foundations (a support class for our struggling 8th graders)

Education Background:
·         I received an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Black Hills State in Spearfish South Dakota in 2004
·         I completed a Master’s in Middle School Mathematics program through Walden University in 2009

Teaching Experience: This is my 15th year teaching middle school mathematics. I taught for 3 years in the Lockwood School District, before taking a job with Billings Public Schools in 2007.

Activities in MCTM:
·         Regional MCTM Math Contest Director, 2006-Present
·         MCTM Math Contest test writer
·         MCTM Board Member and Secretary 2013-2016
·         MCTM Trivia Night Host, 2014-Present
·         MCTM Presenter at MEA 2004-Present

What positive traits you will bring to the board? I am organized and outgoing. I enjoy being involved in the organizations that I am a part of and look forward to taking on a leadership role in MCTM.

What role MCTM should take in Montana mathematics?
I believe that MCTM should take an active role in providing support to both our state’s teachers and students through high quality professional development, scholarships and contests.

Name: Michelle Brown
Region/Representation: Region 2; 9-12 grade band
School: Great Falls High School
City: Great Falls

Present Teaching Assignment: College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Intro Stats, Honors Stats

Education Background: CMR High School, MSU Bozeman (BS), Lesley University (MA)

Teaching Experience: I am currently in my 25th year at GFHS and my 18th year at Great Falls College MSU as an adjunct.

Activities in MCTM: I was the handy assistant to our regional math contest director for the first 20 years of my career and then stepped up to my current role as the director for the Great Falls region. I have benefited greatly over the years from MCTM sponsored activities and now want the opportunity to give back! 

Other Information (activities, awards, organizational memberships, etc.): Active member of both MCTM and NCTM. Awards and honors: BNSF Teacher of the Year 2018; GFCMSU Outstanding Adjunct of the Year 2017; State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching 2015; GFPS Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018; Stanford University Teacher Tribute 2008; Trig-Star Teaching Excellence Award 2007. I love to jump into all things math related so my activity list is long and fun. :) 

What positive traits you will bring to the board? I absolutely love math, students and teachers! I enjoy working with colleagues from around the state in all school sizes and grade levels to ensure that our students are getting the best mathematics experience possible. I am a good listener and value what each of us has to bring to the critical conversations needed to advance our mathematical growth. Having taught all high school courses from the low to the high, I bring experience and a definite belief that all students can and should be exposed to the coursework needed to maximize their own growth and help them find their true potential. Not only am I supportive of students, but I feel our teachers need this same support, encouragement and growth. :) 

What role MCTM should take in Montana mathematics? MCTM should help take care of teachers, inspire teachers and provide opportunities for teachers to grow. Our teachers can then reach out and impact all of our students. Student opportunities are also there through MCTM, but it all starts with the teachers first. ​

Name: Christopher Linhart
Region/Representation: Region 3; 9-12 grade band
School: Hobson Public School
City: Hobson, MT

Present Teaching Assignment:
I am currently the Mathematics teacher for all classes 8th Grade through Calculus. I have taught classes as low as 6th Grade in the past.

Education Background:
Undergraduate: Bachelors of science, Mathematics, University of Montana - Montana Tech in Butte, 2004-2008, graduated with honors. Teaching certificate University of Montana Western. At Tech I was an active member and held offices in Math Club and in the Education Club. I had the opportunity to attend NCTM three times as an undergraduate studies where I started to build my understanding of education and the importance of technology in the classroom.
Masters: Master Degree in Teaching Middle-Level Mathematics from the University of Montana – Missoula in the Spring of 2016. This experience enhanced the way I view teaching mathematics and deepened my understanding of grading to represent true knowledge learned (focus of my thesis).

Teaching Experience:
I have taught in two wonderful school districts and believe they have each taught me important lessons about students and the importance of community, colleagues, and culture. During my student teaching in Helena at Capital High School in the Fall of 2008, I was presented with an opportunity that allowed me to become a faculty member there and led to five wonderful years of support by a department and administration that helped set the foundations of my teaching of mathematics and technology in the classroom.
Having the opportunity to return home to Hobson has been a personal blessing because it has allowed me and my wife the opportunity to raise our two girls near our families. Teaching in Hobson over the past six years has taught me that education comes in many forms and what works in a class AA school isn’t necessarily what a small class C school needs. I have been challenged to step outside traditional lecture style of teaching to a more collective and collaborative approach. This builds on each student’s skills as well as supports their individual weaknesses. Technology is still an important part of the mixture, however, it has taken a backseat to a lot of the discussions and collaboration the students bring to my room.

Activities in MCTM:
● MCubed in Butte (This event is a highlight of my summer every year)
● Attendee and Presenter at MEA, (Co-presented x2 years with Mr. Michael Poser and Professor
Fred Peck).
● Montana Math Circle in Great Falls and Billings
● MCTM Mid-State Math Contest. Co-director for 2019 contest, Hobson is hosting this year’s
MCTM Mid-State Math Contest.
● TI-Nspire training at Canyon Ferry Lake

Other Information (activities, awards, organizational memberships, etc.):
● Taking students to participate in Montana Models in Bozeman (Summer 2019)
● Student Council Advisor at Capital High School (2009-2013)
● Middle School Student Council Advisor at Hobson (20013-2015)
● Tri City Junior High Football Coach (2016-2018)

What positive traits you will bring to the board?
I have a strong desire to assist small rural schools and become an advocate for programs, activities and resources. On the MCTM Board this is something I could use to help reach these schools. I view MCTM as a vital part of why I have become the teacher I am today and hope to help other teachers around the state to see what it can offer to them and the doors and opportunities it could help to open for them.

What role MCTM should take in Montana mathematics?
I view MCTM as a supportive organization for the teachers of Montana. It is an organization that
dedicates itself to making every math teacher in the state a better educator and ultimately strengthen our students. Students and their future should drive what we do in MCTM.

Name: Beth Ann Walsh 
Region/Representation: Region 3; 5-8 grade band 
School: East Valley Middle School
City: East Helena 

Present Teaching Assignment:  Math and Pre-Algebra for Grade 7 

Education Background:  Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education -math major, child development minor, English minor from Central Michigan University. 30 Credits of math training through U of M and MSU Bozeman 

Teaching Experience:16 years teaching middle school math in East Helena, 1 year teaching middle school math in Colorado, 4 years of Title One English and mathematics in Bethel, Alaska

Activities in MCTM: Interim board member for one year.  Presented "My Favorite" activity at M-cubed conference. MCTM Member for many years. 

Other Information (activities, awards, organizational memberships, etc.):  NCTM, Presidential Award State Finalist 2017 for mathematics teaching, Leader of PLC's for East Valley Middle School, Lead Teacher/Organizer for the Greater Helena Math Teacher's Circle, Carroll College Advisory Panel, MSPLead participant for two years.  Member of the Teacher Leadership Institute,  Member of the National Counsel of Supervisors of Mathematics and the Association of Middle Level Education.

What positive traits you will bring to the board? Hardwork: Never afraid to work hard and get the tasks done. Passion: I love the complexity and beauty of mathematics. Leadership: I have been developing my leadership skills through the MSPLead Seminars and Teacher Leadership Institute as well as taking on leadership roles in my district and state. I would love to have more teachers share their voices and experiences across the state.

Communication: I do my best to be an active listener and effective communicator. 

What role MCTM should take in Montana mathematics? MCTM continues their work with external agencies to make quality mathematics instruction available to all students. Professional development and leadership opportunities continues to be a major role for MCTM's work. Also, MCTM continues to be a voice for teachers and math advocates across the state.  

Name:  Kerry Gruizenga
Region/Representation: Region 4, 9-12 Grade Band
School:  Skyview High School
City:  Billings

Present Teaching Assignment:  I teach Algebra 1 to freshman (and a few others) and AP Statistics to seniors.  I love the combination of energetic, new students that can be convinced that math is fun in high school and curious, intellectually stimulating seniors who need to see math in a new way.

Education Background:  I graduated from Jamestown College with a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Elementary Education and my K-12 certification.  I got my National Board Certification in AYA Mathematics in 2012 and finished my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Jamestown (same as my undergrad, but online) this December (2018).

Teaching Experience:  I have been teaching at Skyview for 12 years.  During that time, I have taught Algebra 1, Algebra Foundations, Geometry, Trailing Geometry and AP Statistics.  Before that, I was the Youth Director at First Presbyterian Church in Billings.  This involved national work to write and publish curriculum along with planning and implementing large youth retreats.

Activities in MCTM:  I was the MCTM conference chair from 2009-2011.  Throughout my teaching career, I have attended and presented at numerous MEA-MFT conferences and Mcubed in Butte since its inception, test writer for Math contest, Room Monitor Wrangler for local contest

Other Information (activities, awards, organizational memberships, etc.): I was the 2015 President's Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching Winner from Montana and have served on the selection committee for the state nominees for the past two years.  I have been a member (and held all the offices) of two non-profit boards in Billings, my term as past president for one of them is ending this year.  I worked on committees that planned large (500+) youth conferences in my previous job so understand both the organizational process of events and committee work.  I have coached speech and debate for the past 10 years, but am looking to move my focus back to continuing the development of mathematics education in my classroom and school and in our state.

What positive traits you will bring to the board?  I am solution oriented and able to quickly see the big picture of how a plan might come together.  I speak and write well which makes me able to communicate my ideas and those of a group easily.

What role should MCTM should take in Montana mathematics?  I believe that MCTM should help mathematics educators to be effective advocates for student learning in mathematics.  That may come through education opportunities or mentoring or curriculum and may happen in person or virtually, but should include every level of experience and education.  

Name: Carly Texley
Region/Representation: Region 4, 5-8 Grade Band
School: Miles Avenue School, Billings Public Schools
City: Billings

Present Teaching Assignment: I am currently a fifth grade teacher- all subjects

Education Background: I graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula with a BA in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Spanish in December of 2014.

Teaching Experience:
This is my fourth year as a fifth grade teacher and fifth year working in Billings School District #2.  I did two years at Broadwater School, and this is my second year at Miles Avenue. After graduating from college in December of 2014, I started my career with Billings Public Schools after accepting a long term assignment position at Lewis and Clark Middle School. For the three months I was there, I taught 7th grade life science, 8th grade physical science and 7th grade Read 180.  My goal is to obtain my MA in Teaching School Mathematics in the next few years.

Activities in MCTM:
I first became a member of MCTM in 2017 and attended the M-Cubed conference in Butte that summer.  I was also in attendance at the MCTM luncheon during MEA-MFT conferences last October.

Other Information
Since teaching fifth grade, I have truly found my passion for teaching mathematics and developing many activities to support student learning within my own classroom.  For example, I developed a project that my students lovingly call “Welcome to the Real World”. It is a year-long project in which my students use the concepts they learn with numbers and operations to earn paychecks, keep and balance a checkbook, pay bills and even get exposure to some expenses that they might see in the real world (i.e. overdraft fees, medical expenses, leisure expenses, etc.). As they learn more, the more they get to practice those skills doing relevant and real-world math. In addition, I am also a co-recipient of an NCTM grant which funded the development of a series of a project intended to foster confidence and boost self-perception intermediate children with mathematics.  Another fifth grade teacher in the district, a professor at Montana State University- Billings and myself found real people in an array of different careers to interview, then developed corresponding 3-Act Tasks to show students how people use math everyday in careers that wouldn’t be expected and give them an opportunity to think as someone would in that career.

I was selected as a Teacher Leader in Number Sense Routines and 3-Act Tasks for Billings Public Schools to provide training for colleagues on how to best utilize both in a classroom and the value of doing so.  I was a member of the committee that helped develop the fifth grade math proficiency scales that are now used across all elementary schools in Billings Public Schools to measure grades. I was also selected as the 3-5 grade school representative in math cadre from 2016-2018.  

Organizational memberships:
I am currently a member of the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

What positive traits you will bring to the board?
I feel like I would be a very positive addition to the board because I eager to learn, try and share new ideas, both with the fellow board members and teachers who are unfamiliar with MCTM. Even talking with my colleagues, I am often surprised at how many teachers do not know that MCTM exists.  I believe it is important to share the many resources and opportunities that MCTM provides with other elementary teachers in my region. Hopefully by spreading the word, a professional community could start to develop that would expand the resources MCTM has to offer for elementary math teachers. I know as a teacher myself, I would love to have more opportunities to share ideas and collaborate with others in my grade level across the region.  

What role MCTM should take in Montana mathematics?
I think that MCTM has the potential to provide resources and professional development opportunities to a much higher percentage of Montana teachers than it does now, particularly those in elementary positions. The Montana education system would benefit immensely from more teachers receiving professional development that promotes foundational knowledge of number sense for young learners (K-5) and provides resources that allow for immediate implementation.  I have seen a difference in the effectiveness of my teaching after going to M-Cubed two years ago and the Math Solutions trainings I have been fortunate enough to attend. I would love for more Montana elementary teachers to be aware of and utilize the amazing opportunities MCTM has to offer.