Hi everyone, I'm Shawn Towle from Portland, Maine and I am currently the President of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England and the Historian for NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education. I was a 2009 PAEMST awardee. This is year 33 teaching mathematics to middle school students.
Since my awardee year, my career has been marked by leadership and service to professional organizations locally, in my state, region and nationally, while remaining a proud classroom practitioner. My calculus professor in college, Fr. Stanley J. Bezuszka, SJ at Boston College said "you join your professional organizations" and in the early 90's that meant some volunteer time at my first NCTM conference in Boston as a student. I believe in the value of our professional organizations in leadership of mathematics education and joined NCTM early on in my career.
Since my awardee year, I've had some absolutely wonderful opportunities to serve my fellow mathematics educators by volunteering my time with many professional organizations and have served in many different roles. I am a past president of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine and am the current President of ATMNE (Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England) and was a co-chair of our 6 state conference held in Portland, Maine. Nationally, I have served on the NCTM Affiliate Services Committee as a member for two years and then ultimately as chair, and have over a decade of service on the NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education board beginning as web-editor, moving on to an elected position as the Eastern 1 Regional Director and most recently served as 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President for the organization. Additionally, I have been so fortunate to be part of the Connected Mathematics Project work at Michigan State University and workshops for over two decades and recently am an adjunct instructor in mathematics and mathematics education courses at the University of Southern Maine.
I have a personal belief that every CPAM member is already a leader and I think that there is incredible, untapped potential in teacher leadership from those of us who still wear the badge of full time classroom teacher/practitioner with pride.
I have found great joy in all of the networking opportunities and more broad understanding of mathematics education across the country that I have learned by being part of organizations
I am forever grateful to Glenda Lappan, Betty Phillips, Jim Fey, Susan Friel, Yvonne Grant, MaryBeth Schmitt, Jackie Mitchell, Suzanne Mitchell, Jenny Jorgensen, Linda Gojak, Diane Briars, Mona Toncheff, Valerie Mills, John Staley, Connie Schrock, Paul Gray, Kim Morrow Leong, Paula Hodgkins, Tad Johnston, and so many more friends along the way. I want to ultimately be like my mentors who opened doors for me by encouraging me, taking a chance on a classroom teacher-leader, pushing me in the right direction, and mentoring me along the way in my growth as a leader in mathematics education. I want to be like each of these individuals and pay forward all that I have been given in my career. I want to be that person who taps someone on the shoulder and encourages them to embark on some truly wonderful experiences they may not believe they are yet ready for.
As a first step, I encourage all CPAM members to become members of NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education (if you are not already). My good friend and colleague Jenny Jorgensen told me I needed to join NCSM as the next step in my journey, back in the early 2000's and I think many CPAM members would also find a math leadership home with NCSM.