Hello, everyone!  My name is Brian Townsend and I am the Vice President—Middle Grades for ICTM.  I can’t begin to articulate how excited I am for the ICTM Conference this coming fall.

     The ICTM Conference provides a wonderful opportunity for the mathematics education community in the state of Iowa to get together and share our passion for teaching mathematics and to learn from one another about what’s going on in our classrooms.  Every year, I walk out of sessions feeling energized and excited, with ideas that I can’t wait to try in my own classroom.  The state of Iowa is home to many amazing mathematical minds and I always feel fortunate to be learning from the best.

     Best of all, if you feel that you have a particular or unique mathematical niche, it’s quite likely that you’ll run into other folks at the conference who share that interest.  The conference represents a wonderful opportunity to network with other similarly-interested folks, either through informal conversations or conference sessions.

     If you’re not convinced that there will be sessions pertaining to your particular interest (or even if you think there will be), consider submitting a proposal to speak at the conference!  Given your passion for the topic, you would be one of the best people to lead a discussion surrounding it.  And given the wide range of interests of conference attendees, it’s likely there will be many who appreciate your effort.

     As an example, a colleague and I really enjoy playing board games and, often, we end up talking about the mathematics involved in playing them.  This led us to submit a proposal to talk about board games at the ICTM Conference last fall.  We weren’t sure how many, if any, other folks might share our interest in the mathematics of board games, but we thought it would be worthwhile to open the conversation. Even on the day of the conference, we wondered what type of audience we might attract, given that our session wasn’t until the last hour of the conference.  But Iowa math teachers, dedicated as they are, showed up and we had a wonderful time.   

     I don’t know that I can recommend the ICTM Conference highly enough.  I certainly hope I get to see you there, perhaps at your session.

 — Dr. Brian E. Townsend