T3 Leadership Award

14 Mar

A few months ago, Judy and I received an email from Kevin:

“I am so happy to send this email to let you know, based on nominations from your fellow instructors, and the decision of past award winners, that you two are the 2014 Leadership Award winners!


I have a bit of a fetish for keeping my inbox empty, but this email sat for 3 days while I mulled over a reply:

“It has taken me some time to compose a reply. This is such an honor, and I have been in a bit of shock. There are so many instructors who do such good work, and I get to learn so much from all of them. I am not quite sure how I feel about this!”

I don’t think it really mattered how I felt about the award. Although I much prefer to work behind the scenes, eventually, I decided to make the best of standing before a huge crowd of educators to accept this award and began to think about what I would say.

This blog has become my “scrapbook” of my journey in teaching, and since this award is part of that, I wanted to include those words here.


As a geometry teacher, I firmly believe in the Segment Addition, Angle Addition, and Area Addition Postulates: the part plus the part equals the whole.

But as a I reflect on the synergy of TI Educational Technology and the T3 Organization, I think I lean more towards Aristotle in my beliefs: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Whether I am in my classroom or a PD session, as my students and I enter the practice of learning each day, I recognize parts of many of you:

My love for using technology in the classroom began twenty years ago because of Vicki Shirley’s passion for teaching teachers.

We look for regularity in repeated reasoning using Families of Functions for which Bryson painstakingly made sure every piece of text was aligned – that is until the new sliders in version 3.6 came out … have you checked that one lately, Bryson?

We use TI-Nspire documents in geometry that have more when statements hidden beneath the scenes than Sean knew he could fit on a page.

We think smarter, not harder, in calculus thanks to Jill and Sam – and explorations from Dan.

We learn how to attend to precision because of Betty’s careful editing of vocabulary and thoughtful wording of questions.

We have great pictures in our sectors activity thanks to late night project emails from Ruth and Margaret.

We make sense of the sum of exterior angles of polygons thanks to countless revisions of a TNS document by Marc.

I think of David every time we use Domain & Range. Of Judy when we use activities from Algebra 2 Nspired. Of Eric when we use Area Formulas. Of Vicki Carter when we make sense of the Law of Cosines. Of Katie when we use Pearson geometry documents. Of Irina when I think of MathForward projects. I think of Corey every time I remove a contraction while editing. Of Jeff when we use the Traveling Point or look up something in TI-Nspire for Dummies. Thanks to Jeff and the other Jeff who don’t make me rent a car in cities like Atlanta and Sacramento. To Travis who always comments with “I wonder what would happen if …” on my blog posts. To Linda who tries to help me make sense of physics. And to Bryson and Jeff who are always willing to trade their vegetables for my meat.

Thanks to Ellen and Sherri who welcomed me into T3 and led me on my first writing team, resulting in many activities that my students and I still use.

Thanks to Jill and Linda and Gail, who constantly remind me to think of what the learning goals are – whether it is writing for PD, delivering PD, or teaching my students.

And thank you, Allan, for what you’ve taught me already and for the more that is to come.

This doesn’t even begin to touch the two TI teams (T3 and Product Development) that factor into the sum of parts – Those of you TI-ers who have read hundreds of my emails and answered thousands of my questions – Kevin, Charlyne, Gayle, Dale, Kelly, Wendy, Eric, and Joe – Thank you.

When I was packing for this trip, my 9 year-old asked me why I had to go. I told her I wanted to be here because of all I get to learn from all of you. She said, “But you already know a lot”. And so I owe many thanks to my husband and daughters, who let me leave home every once in a while to be with you and to learn more with you. And to my parents, who often help take care of my daughters in my absence.

You all have made me a more thoughtful teacher and leader of professional development than I was before. But more importantly, you have made me a more thoughtful learner than I was before.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts … just don’t tell my students.


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5 responses to “T3 Leadership Award

  1. Travis

    March 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Well deserved. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. Gloria Beswick

    March 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I was glad to be there to hear you give this well-deserved acceptance speech and I am glad you decided to post it. You very much deserved this award as you are an inspiration to many others and especially to me.

  3. Heidi Rudolph

    March 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Very gracious acceptance “speech”! I was overwhelmed to be awarded an honor within my state this past fall, and also grateful to NOT have to make a speech. I feel the same sentiments about how much I learn from my students and my colleagues. I would not be who I am today without all I have learned at conferences like T^3!

  4. Bryson Perry (@MrPerryMath)

    March 15, 2014 at 3:24 am

    No one more deserving!


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