Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Congratulations to Ms. Schmidt!

Albany Area Math Circle is beaming with pride to announce that our co-advisor, Alexandra Schmidt, has been recognized as a National Board Certified Teacher.

Alexandra, who teaches at Hebrew Academy of the Capital District, is one of only 50 middle school math teachers in New York to achieve this rigorous professional recognition.  She has also been a major contributor to the success of our middle school math outreach program, as well as a supporter and facilitator of many opportunities for our high school students.  She was our lead proctor when Albany Area Math Circle hosted the statewide high school math tournament, NYSML, in 2010.

Alexandra Schmidt, NBCT, in her classroom--with her Tough Traveler Albany Area Math Circle advisor bag!

Although her school is a small one, I do not know of any other school in the Capital District that includes more students as fully in their MATHCOUNTS program as Alexandra's MATHCOUNTS program does.  She shares my philosophy that the excitement, deep challenges, and collaborative shared Aha! moments of those problems ought to reach as many students as possible, not just a handful of the  "top n" students eligible for official competition.    I wish all students in the country had teachers as willing to share such engaging challenges with their students.

All students involved in her MATHCOUNTS program (not just the students on the official competition team) get invited to her home for ice cream sundaes with her special homemade fudge to celebrate afterwards.  That reflects a belief--which I share as well--that every member of the greater MATHCOUNTS community has a role to play in encouraging and supporting the mathematical and problem solving development of other members of the community.

A graduate of Stanford University, with training and experience as an engineer before she decided to teach mathematics, Alexandra brings a strong awareness of the role that mathematical problem solving and teamwork play in the "real world" to her classroom.    She also embodies all that is best about the spirit of generosity of math coaches, helping students everywhere, not just students in her own school.  (For more on this spirit, see here and here.) She has also composed her own original problems and contributed them to the greater national problem solving community.  MATHCOUNTS chose to highlight those problems as the "Coaches' Problems of the Month" in January 2010.  You can find her problems and annotated solutions here.    (MATHCOUNTS is happy to accept original problems from students as well as coaches--if you have problems to contribute, check out this link.)

Update:  As of September 2014, Alexandra is now a math teacher at Emma Willard School in Troy, bring the positive energy of collaborative "extreme math" to the high school level.

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