Gerken Wins NCCTM Outstanding Math Teacher

Gerken Wins NCCTM Outstanding Math Teacher
Posted on 10/27/2016

Northview’s Gerken Wins

NCCTM Outstanding

Math Teacher

Amanda Gerken, a math teacher at Northview Middle School, has been selected as the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) “Outstanding Secondary School Mathematics Teacher” for 2016. Gerken will be honored for her award during the NCCTM Annual Conference in Greensboro on October 28.

Gerken, a North Carolina teacher for the past 17 years with 11 years at Hickory Public Schools, started her career in education as a NC Teaching Fellow, upon her graduation from Western Carolina University.

She grew up in Statesville, falling in love with mathematics at an early age. “I have always loved math. In fact, I get giddy when I do math,” she said. “I do math for fun—with teacher friends who text math problems to me. I guess I’m just a math geek—and it’s wonderful!”

The greatest reward in teaching math is helping a student overcome the fears of the subject, said Gerken. “I have students who arrive in my class telling me how much they hate math. I work to change their perspective—letting them know that I believe in them and together, we will make it work. They don’t have to love math, but they can learn to understand and respect the applications used in the real world,” said Gerken.

Gerken’s approach must be working as her Algebra students all scored a 100 percent passing rate on this past year’s End-of-Course exam. “These kids are the reason I come back to my job every day. I love what I do and I love seeing them conquer the math skills,” said Gerken.

Northview Principal, Stephanie Dischiavi, shared Gerken is a master teacher who seeks to acquire, understand and utilize strategies to increase student engagement in mathematical thinking and problem solving.  “When visiting Mrs. Gerken’s class it is a common experience to observe students working through math problems in an unexpected way,” said Dischiavi. “After her keen observation of student work, Mrs. Gerken thoughtfully engages the class in investigating the unique strategies used by their peers.  This regular practice of exploring alternative entry points and mathematical reasoning is celebrated rather than discouraged. 

“Mrs. Gerken has undoubtedly earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues, administrators and students.  Never wavering from her high expectations for both her students, as well as herself, paired with her passion to develop confident, math minded students is exactly why Mrs. Gerken was selected for this honor,” said Dischiavi.

Gerken frequently takes her students to Appalachian State University for math competitions. “Our middle school students have competed against high school students—still earning first and second place,” said Gerken. Her classroom is filled with trophies earned by her students.

Gerken and her husband, Chris, are the proud parents of five year-old, Addison—who clearly will grow up learning to play “math games.”

Amanda Gerken, center with certificate, is recognized by the HPS Board of Education for her award.

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