Madison County Schools
Madison County Schools Adds Math Coordinator
“When our needs change, we change” reports Madison County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Ronnie McGehee in response to the addition of a Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator in the Curriculum Department. “As we expect our teachers and students to dig deeper into mathematical concepts, it is important that our department provide the resources necessary for the transition,” Associate Superintendent of Academic Education Charlotte Seals commented.
By casting the net wide, district leaders found a perfect fit for the newly created position in Dr. Jennifer Fillingim, a Jackson native who was teaching at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Dr. Fillingim holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematics Education. As an Assistant Professor at APSU, she was nominated twice for the campus-wide Socrates Award for Excellence in Teaching and served as the faculty sponsor for the Galois Mathematics Club, as well as a board member for the Middle Tennessee Mathematics Teachers organization.
Dr. Fillingim has presented at multiple mathematics education conferences at regional, state, and national levels and co-authored the article “Doers of Mathematics: From the Inside Out.” The article appeared in the national practitioner’s journal Teaching Children Mathematics, published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition, she recently led part of a two-week summer workshop hosted by the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at Ole Miss. Dr. Fillingim’s sessions focused on teaching Probability and Statistics, relevant to grades 4-8.
On her work with teacher preparation, Fillingim noted:
“My goal is to help teachers strengthen their understanding of the content knowledge and research-based ‘best practices’ for teaching mathematics in K-12 classrooms. A math classroom today looks, sounds, and feels very different from the classrooms that most of our K-12 teachers experienced as students. But, when you read the research that was the foundation for the Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice (CCSS-MP), it can help alleviate a lot of confusion and anxiety and also help you recognize a lot of the misinformation that’s out there about the Common Core.
Because of that, I redesigned the majority of my course components at APSU to include materials taken directly from the CCSS-M (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics) and Standards for Mathematical Practice (CCSS-MP), as well as research that supports their development and appropriate implementation. I also use these materials in my work with in-service teachers and with parents. The more informed and confident our teachers are in what they’re teaching, how to teach it, and why research supports teaching mathematics this way, the better they are able to equip our students for long-term success. And the more informed that students’ families are, the more they can help their students at home and support the hard work of their teachers.
I frequently receive e-mails from former APSU students, who are now teachers, sharing how confident they feel after our work together and how excited they are to help their teaching colleagues understand the Common Core Standards more clearly. I hope to continue to build confidence and excitement in mathematics with the teachers, students, student families, and administrators in Madison County this year.”
“The experience and background Dr. Fillingim brings to Madison County Schools will help our teachers better understand mathematical concepts and in turn, help our students develop confidence in their problem-solving abilities.” reports McGehee.
MCS teachers will not have to wait to learn from Dr. Fillingim. Upon notification of her hire, she transitioned flawlessly. Her first work in MCS was almost immediate as she developed and implemented professional development sessions for math teachers from kindergarten to high school.