Mathematics Alumni in Education Careers

Jessica George '14

jessica george

I am currently a mathematics teacher at Hartford High School in Hartford, VT. Though I have faced many challenges throughout the first semester, I can honestly say that I love what I am doing. I've built incredible relationships with my students, and I am constantly learning from the amazing teachers in my department. At the moment, I teach Algebra 2, Geometry, and Applied Algebra. I hope to continue my own education by beginning a masters program in mathematics education this spring.

Saint Michael's mathematics education helped prepare me for teaching by providing me with the strong mathematical background in the classes I teach. I am able to make connections to concepts we covered in History of Mathematics or Geometries, and I often draw on my own experiences in these courses to create engaging lessons in my classroom.

Laura Backman '12

laura backman

I am currently teaching Special Ed Math at Vernon Township High School in Vernon, NJ. I am teaching Math for Modern Living courses, and I am the In Class Support Teacher for Algebra 1A, Algebra 1B, and Algebra 2A. I am currently taking graduate classes at Centenary College for my Teacher of Students with Disabilities Teaching Certificate.

My St. Mike's math education has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the concepts taught in high school. By taking a broad range of classes I was able to receive an in depth understanding of many concepts that I currently teach my students. The feedback I received from my professors and classmates in both my math and elementary education courses has been extremely useful when planning and implementing my lessons.

Marran Ranks '11

marran ranks

I am currently teaching high school mathematics at Salem High School in New Hampshire. I am teaching two sections of Algebra II and one section of Pre-Calculus this semester. Next semester I will be teaching two sections of Algebra II and one section of Geometry Concepts. Salem has block scheduling so I see my students everyday for 90 minutes.

St. Mike's helped me as a teacher, because I was able to take a wide selection of courses to broaden my understanding of mathematical concepts. Being able to take the Mathematics Education Seminar gave me the opportunity to teach lessons to my peers and receive specific feedback about my teaching. It was very helpful to hear different perspectives and ideas of how to become a better teacher.

Kayla Murdie '08

kayla murdie

I am currently an 8th grade math teacher at Berlin Central School in Cherry Plain, NY and I love it! I had taught at the high school level and enjoyed that very much as well. Teaching is a wonderful thing. I also just recently completed my Master's Degree in Educational Psychology and perhaps will begin my Doctorate degree in administration as well.

My Saint Michael's education in mathematics helped me when I was teaching high school classes at a different school, but as for 8th grade I had to go back and re-learn some things. Saint Michael's did prepare me for tutoring other entry-level college students with their calculus work, as well as teaching students trigonometry in high school. However, what it really did was prepare me for my graduate work; I was fully prepared based on the education I received at Saint Michaels for the time and work one has to put into a graduate degree in order to excel.

Thomas Raymond '08

thomas raymond

I teach at Gilford High School in NH, entering my 4th year there and my 6th year teaching overall now. I really do like GHS. The student body overall is wonderful, and I have a great group of colleagues. The math department is very collaborative and full of some amazing people.

In terms of higher education, I've started a program through Plymouth State. I'm taking a graduate class this summer, which will hopefully and eventually lead me to getting my masters in educational leadership with a K-12 principal certificate.

I'm also entering into my third season as the JV girls soccer coach. The varsity coach is a math department member as well, Becky Zumbach (formerly Becky Gates), SMC class of 2002.

My Saint Michael's math education has helped me for my career as a teacher because it has given me the knowledge and background to be able to teach a wide range classes, from algebra all the way up through calculus. Studying math at a higher level helped to give me perspective and insight on how many topics can be considered at different levels, such as college and high school, yet the approach that is taken when studying these concepts is totally different. For example, the way that a high school Algebra I class looks at addition and multiplication properties (associative, commutative, identity, inverse, and distributive) are very different from how a real analysis or an abstract algebra class may consider these topics. Yet, by having this higher mathematical education, I have been given insight into how important these topics are to study at any level.

Another way that my Saint Michael's math education has helped me with my career is that it has disciplined me to be focused. I am proud of attaining my bachelor's degree in mathematics because I worked hard and I was dedicated to doing my best. I think this hard work will continue to transfer into my teaching, as I strive to be a dedicated and caring teacher.

Theresa Ryan '07

I continue to teach at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA. It is a private, co-ed, boarding school and I absolutely love it. I teach such courses as Math 1, Math 2, Math 3, and Math 4 as well as honors versions of these courses, that cover Algebra I and II topics, geometry, and pre-calculus. Aside from my teaching duties, I am a dorm parent and coach. I am the assistant Girl's Varsity Soccer coach and the Head Softball coach.

Other than my professional duties, Lawrence Academy strongly encourages and supports professional development and has many different committees for faculty to be a part of. I have taken advantage of these opportunities whenever I can. This year I will be a mentor for new faculty members.

I recently earned my MAT degree with a focus in secondary mathematics education and my New York State teaching license from Union Graduate College in Schenectady, NY. I also was recognized with a Presidential Leadership Award for my work with the College during my graduate work.

Saint Michael's really helped my confidence level as I moved into the real world. My mathematics professors showed true dedication and helped me pursue my goals every step of the way. I would not be where I am today without the support and guidance I found at Saint Michael's and I am truly appreciative of all I gained during my time there.

Tate Shippen '07

I am a high school mathematics teacher and math team coach at a small public school just outside of Boston. I currently instruct 97 students in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. I also help coach the middle school and high school math teams, as well as the Ultimate Frisbee Club.

I have also applied for the graduate program at Salem State College for the Fast Track Math Certification Program, and will be applying to the Master's in Education program following completion.

The St. Mike's math program gave me the mathematical background that I need to provide an in-depth education to high school students. I have used topics from many of the classes I took at St. Mike's (Number Theory, and the History of Mathematics, to name a few) to get students interested and engaged in the material for the classes I teach.

Wayne Younghans '07

wayne younghans

I am an integrated mathematics instructor at Youth Connection Leadership Academy in Chicago, IL. YCLA is an alternative charter high school, part of the Youth Connection Charter School network, which has 22 campuses in Chicago. My work at my school is exciting; we are changing our model towards a competency-based program, which is different than the normal way of going through high school by gaining credits. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but this should really benefit our students and make our school more effective. I am the Union President, and I also head our 3-person math team, so I will be heavily involved in helping to roll out this program in the coming years. I really like the direction our school is going, and I still love working with the kids in my school. I am also a 2011 Teach For America Corp Member.

Prior to coming to Chicago, I was a math teacher at Colchester High School for 3 years, and I taught algebra to 8th graders at Williston Central School the year before that.

My experience at Saint Michael's College was integral to my own personal development as a student and leader, and the math department was a very big part of that experience. The most important thing I learned at St. Mike's that I still use on a daily basis is the ability to build strong relationships and work well with others in pursuit of a goal. I do this with my colleagues and my students, and there is no way I would be where I am today without that knowledge.

I also gained a very strong foundation in mathematics through the department at St. Mike's. This has been crucial in my ability to plan curriculum on a long term and daily basis.

Lastly, I think about specific classes at St. Mike's that combined my love of math and teaching. Two that stand out are the Mathematics Education Seminar and the History of Math class. They put a spark in my own learning that I often think about when envisioning how I want my students to feel in my classroom."

Diana Coulter '06

diana coulter

This is my third year at Clarkstown South High School in West Nyack, New York. I received tenure which I was very excited about. I also received a grant for "Math Bingo" which is a game I implement in my classroom in order to help students review material in a more fun and exciting way.

I am currently attending St. Thomas Aquinas College getting my master's in special education. I have a year left before I complete the program.

I think that the most important thing I learned from the math department at St. Mike's was the willingness of the professors to help students at any time. I think that many math professors at St. Mike's have a open-door policy. Although every professor has specific office hours I could get help at any time of any day as long as I asked for help. I carried this into my teaching career and I try to be as available to my students as often as possible because I think that fostering relationships with students is a major key to academic success.

Ben Epstein '05

I am a mathematics teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont. After having worked mostly with high school juniors and seniors in Probability and Statistics, Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, and Math of Finance, I am now in a position in the Chittenden Core working with freshman (CVU splits their freshman class into four houses, where the core curriculum of math, science, English/writing and social studies/history is taught by four teachers from each discipline).

I was very fortunate to attend Saint Michael's. I believe because of the small class sizes and close relationships with faculty that the quality of instruction I received was excellent. As a result, the material I learned, I learned well, and I feel very comfortable in turn teaching those concepts to others.

Whitney Sherman '04

whitney sherman

I am a mathematics teacher at a small public high school in Connecticut, and I am one of the four mathematics teachers there. I am passing on my knowledge and my excitement about mathematics to my students as well as helping to coach the girl’s soccer team.

After graduating from Saint Michael's and traveling cross country for 80 days, I started graduate school in Connecticut to obtain my Master's in Secondary Mathematics Education and CT Teaching Certification. My Praxis II exam focused on mathematics.

My Saint Michael's mathematics education helped me earn a score of excellence within the top 15 percent of all test takers. Saint Michael's did not only provide me with mathematical skills but with a passion for mathematics that I am thrilled to be able to share with my own students. In closing, I know that Saint Michael's College was a perfect fit for me and provided me with everything I needed to step confidently into the "real" work world.

Heather Rubenstein '03

heather rubenstein

I am currently in my fifth year as a math teacher at Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, Vermont. To date I have taught, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Intermediate Algebra, Algebra II, Geometry and Math for Life. I have a wonderful job due to the students I teach. The best part of my job is getting students who hate math and sending them into the summer loving math. It is my goal to do that with every student.

I have been coaching the varsity softball team for four years and middle school field hockey for three years. I have been the treasurer for our local teacher's union for three years. I am currently a co-advisor to class of 2011 at Woodstock Union High School. I am the co-director of a local teen center that operates every Friday and Saturday night.

I was awarded the 2008 UVM Outstanding Teacher Award given to teacher's in every district in Vermont. I also received an award from the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics for excellence in teaching math. I am almost done with a Master's of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton.

I got my love of mathematics from my professors at St. Mike's. They were inspirational in how they loved math. It was apparent in every class and the amount of time they put into students outside of class. I am a better teacher because I had such great models at St. Mike's. The math program at St. Mike's gave me an in-depth look into math that I thought I would never use because the highest math level at Woodstock Union High School is Calculus. But I am amazed over and over again at the theory and specific explanation I can give my students because I had such a good math education at St. Mike's. I love explaining to my students that there is another type of geometry where parallel lines don't exist and we have a good class discussion about everything involved and how that would change the way we see the world. It is also great to explain to my students topics like the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra and a bunch of other theorems and other postulates that allow my students to dive deeper into math.

Becky Zumbach '02

becky zumbach

I taught at Kennett HS in Conway, NH for 4 years and then Bedford HS in Bedford, NH for three years. I left Kennett for the wonderful opportunity to open a new high school in Bedford. It was an incredible experience and I loved it there. I left Bedford for my job at Gilford High School when I met my husband. I've been in Gilford for 5 years and teach mostly Geometry classes, which I really enjoy. I have also been the varsity girls' soccer coach for the past 4 years.

Since graduating from Saint Michael's, I have earned my Master of Science for Teachers in Mathematics from UNH in 2008. It was challenging but a great experience. My background at Saint Michael's prepared me very well for this program. For the past several years, I've been working on my CAGS in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University. My concentration is in Athletic Administration, and I plan to graduate in May 2015.

My Saint Michael's education prepared me very well to teach math and also to be a graduate student in the field of mathematics. From a teacher's perspective, when I think about my experience at Saint Michael's, I realize again and again just how dedicated, professional, and knowledgeable the Saint Michael's professors are.

Julie Harutunian '02

julie hartunian

I am a mathematics teacher at Reading Memorial High School in Reading, MA. I originally worked at Putnam Investments for a year as a portfolio accounting analyst, before I changed paths and went into teaching. It was a great decision for me and I couldn’t be happier in the school in which I am working.

In order to teach in MA, I had to get my master's in education. It wasn't a problem at all to start taking education classes after graduation. Now, I am pursuing a second master's program in mathematics.

I couldn't have been more prepared than I was leaving college. Besides what I learned in the classroom, I learned how to study, work independently and with other students. One of the things I liked best about our department was the small size. I became comfortable speaking with each of my professors and benefited greatly from everyone’s help.

In college, I worked several nights a week at the Help Sessions and I also did grading for a couple of semesters. These jobs gave me some experience with instruction before going into teaching. I learned early on the amount of patience teaching would entail.

Eric Langevin '02

eric langevin

I am a math teacher at Essex High School in Essex, VT. I graduated from Saint Michael's College with a B.S. in math and a concentration in secondary education. I graduated from the University of Vermont in 2007 with a Master's in Education focusing on curriculum and instruction. At Essex High School I am also the varsity cross country coach and I also coach distance runners for indoor and outdoor track.

My math education at Saint Michael's prepared me for teaching math more than I thought it would. Knowing higher level math and theory allows me to be a better teacher. I am able to explain topics to students better and understand how concepts work. The math professors are excellent people and educators. I learned from them how to teach with passion.

Patty Clemons '01

patty clemons

I tutor high school students in math as a stay-at-home mother. I previously taught regular math and AP math courses at South Burlington High School. I intend to return to full-time teaching when my children are of school age.

Saint Michael's was a great school for me to go to because it helped me to grow mathematically. Going to Saint Michael's also opened the door to graduate school at the University of Vermont where I earned my master's degree in math. The math program at Saint Michael's strengthened my math skills and gave me all the knowledge I would need to teach. It also showed me how to work with other people and how to work with teachers. The teachers were there for me all the time so I strive to do the same thing for my students.

Jennifer Christiansen '00

jennifer christiansen

I am currently a 7th grade mathematics teacher at Winman Junior High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. I have taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. I am also graduate school at Providence College where I am studying to become a school guidance counselor.

My mathematics education from Saint Michael's has provided me with a very strong mathematical foundation. I do not necessarily use the higher level mathematics in my teaching, but it has strengthened my understanding of the subject matter that I do teach and therefore makes it easier for me to teach my students. My mathematics education has also been helpful in discussing concepts and ideas with some of my colleagues. Saint Michael's has a very good reputation and often times helped me stand out when applying or interviewing for jobs when being compared to other applicants from larger colleges and universities.

Lisa Keller '93

lisa keller

I am an Assistant Professor in the Research and Evaluation Methods Program in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before this, I taught math in grades 7-12 for four years. I went back to graduate school and received a doctorate in psychometric methods and a master's degree in mathematics and statistics. Then, I got a job at the University of Massachusetts, in which I teach statistics to social scientists and pursue research in psychometrics. My primary research focus is applying mathematical models to response data from large-scale assessments.

I love my job, and I know that my education at Saint Michael's College helped me attain my goals. The small classes and availability of professors encouraged me to deepen my mathematical skills and to give me the confidence necessary to pursue doctoral level study.

Gina Mathews '91

I am the Mathematics Department Chairperson and Master Scheduler at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, MA. I have completed an MAT from Emanuel College in Boston and a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) in Education Leadership from Bridgewater State College. I am currently looking into obtaining an Ed.D. in Education Leadership with a possible focus on Curriculum and Instruction.

At Saint Michael's, the caring professors of both the math and education departments solidified my decision to pursue a career in education.

Jon Matte '91

jon matte

I am Chair of the Mathematics Department at Greens Farms Academy, a K-12, independent day school in Connecticut. After graduating as Valedictorian from Saint Michael's, I completed a master's degree in mathematics from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo and was a full-time mathematics instructor at Sacred Heart University. Since then, I have been a mathematics teacher and department chair at GFA. I have presented at numerous conferences in such pedagogical areas as magic and card/number-based tricks. My other passion is lateral-thinking "Puzzle Hunts" (like the MIT Mystery Hunt).

When looking back at my time at Saint Michael's, I realize that it was mostly the interaction with the faculty and students that helped me confirm that I wanted to teach. Overall, I received a good mindset to troubleshoot, remain calm, and think things through. My advice to those seeking a career with a mathematics degree is: Find some corner of the math world, and explore and be passionate about at least that one thing.

See Jon's profile on the Mathematics Association of America Web site.

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