Hello to everyone in the area!  I’d like to introduce myself as the new ICTM Regional Director for Northwest AEA.  This is my 5th year at NWAEA as an Educational Consultant, where I focus my energy on K-12 Gifted, K-5 Math and Mentoring & Induction.  My background is in both mathematics and English, and I taught in Millard Public Schools and Omaha Public Schools previously.  My favorite math experiences were at a K-4 Math, Spanish and Technology Magnet School in Omaha, where I taught for 10 years.  The integration of these threads made each day very exciting!

     In my role at NWAEA, I work with many teachers in professional development.  My goal is to rejuvenate them, share ideas and learn from them!  This comment from a recent PD reinforced just that.  “You make me feel great about what I do…and inspire me to try other things.  It’s all about the ideas!”  I hope my teachers know it’s a 2-way street on the inspiration and ideas, and I am so thankful for the relationships I have with the teachers in my area!  In my workshops, we are diving more deeply into the Iowa Core standards and studying their coherence.   Additionally, we are looking at resources to increase rigor, as well as resources to provide interventions. 

     My passion areas in K-5 math are number sense, geometry, manipulatives, and writing in mathematics/journals.  Obviously, I focus a great deal of my personal learning in these areas, and I’d love to collaborate with all of you that are also dedicated to these topics.  Since I’ve been in the field of Gifted Education for over 30 years, I also analyze my math work through the lens of gifted teachers and gifted students. Other areas of significant interest to me are brain research, poverty, behavior, and creativity.

     Regarding my state-wide work in mathematics, it wouldn’t be possible without the direction of our Department of Education Mathematics Consultant, April Pforts.  She is always accessible, willing to share and learn with me, and has set up a large out-reach not only in Iowa, but nationally.  If you have not connected with her, please take a moment to join one of the state-wide networks.

     Finally, I’d like to send a thank you to Brooke Fischels for her warm welcome to the ICTM Executive Board Team.  I’m excited to work cooperatively with math experts from across the state!  Please contact me anytime!

—Shari Collins

scollins@nwaea.org