WCSD Math Teacher to Serve as Regional Director for Math Educator Group

Content provided by Network Communicate Support Motivate (NCSM)

Photo of Denise TrakasNCSM Board of Directors Election Results Announced

Aurora, CO — NCSM announced today election results for the organization’s board of directors. The three-year terms of the newly elected Regional Directors will begin at the end of the April 2018 NCSM Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

As a Regional Director for NCSM, Denise Trakas, the K-6 Mathematics Program Coordinator for The Washoe County School District, will serve as a representative for her region (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) for the Council.  She will attend and provide assistance during NCSM events in the region, support local affiliates and conferences, and offer local assistance, support, and publicity within the region.

Trakas is currently responsible for all aspects of mathematics instruction, professional learning, and curriculum for Kindergarten through 5th grade in Washoe County School District (64,000 students, about 33,000 of those in K-5).  This includes developing sustainable and scalable professional learning for novice, experienced, and teacher leaders; writing and managing grants to enhance quality mathematics instruction for all learners; researching and engaging in professional activities to enhance the mathematics program; as well as working with students directly through work with schools, classrooms or intercession activities.  Other duties include planning and reviewing professional development, evaluating instructional programs and materials, creating and supporting curricular materials and documents, maintaining a mathematics plan, supporting teachers in all aspects of the mathematics program, and building mathematics leadership opportunities. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Reno; she is responsible for preparing pre-service teachers to work with young children in the area of mathematics.

In her election statement to members she wrote:

I am passionate about furthering mathematical understanding and building strong communities of learners for all.  Supporting relationship building with mathematics, whether it be toddlers forming initial ideas around number concepts and spatial structuring; elementary students grappling with the most efficient strategy based on the numbers or context of a problem; or even adult learners who are just beginning to connect and understand big mathematical ideas is the foundation of all I do.  I am passionate about sharing my love of mathematics with others and connecting their understanding to a larger mathematics picture.  I find building excitement around understanding problems and thinking deeply about ways to solve them is one of the most fulfilling experiences.  I used to think about the future in terms of what I wanted to be or what I want to do; now I just ask myself what types of problems I want to solve.  Ensuring that young children, students and adults have the opportunity to engage in high quality mathematical situations that build understanding and mathematical habits of mind is critical.  Everyone should have the opportunity to solve the types of problems they choose, I want to be a part of making that happen.

Building and supporting mathematics leaders at all levels of the education system is critical.  NCSM is the organization that is leading this charge and offering differing support for the many different types of leaders that exist within the system.  Integrating the ideas in PRIME to the framework in It’s Time have been instrumental in my work as a K-5 Mathematics Program Coordinator and a mathematics leader.

I will continue the work that NCSM has begun by providing resources, information and support to understanding that all students are able to work deeply with mathematical ideas at all educational levels.  As a Regional Director, I will ensure that this vision is lived through the work of this position by focusing on equity and access to increase active involvement by all members in the region.  Additionally, I would like to expand the network of leaders in the Western Region through actively recruiting, engaging and supporting non-members to understand the power of this professional organization and the resources available to support the vision of motivating equity and access for all students.

Additionally, I will continue to advocate to further NCSM’s work around equity and access that may otherwise prevent or limit instructional opportunities.  I will do this through sharing information and actively seeking out education opportunities. Through the work of the Western I Regional Director, I will contribute to this vision and ensure support for both NCSM members and NCSM affiliates through advocacy, access, clear communication and support during presentations and the work of the position.

About NCSM

NCSM is a collegial network of passionate and influential mathematics educator leaders.   NCSM acts with a commitment to equity, designs quality learning events, develops position statements, honors outstanding leaders and students, influences mathematics education policy, facilitates mathematics education leader networks, publishes journals and other print and online resources, and works for equity, access, and success for all students.