Innovator Award

The purpose of the NCCTM Innovator Award is to recognize and reward individuals and/or groups who have made an outstanding and noteworthy contribution to mathematics education and/or NCCTM.

Nomination Instructions and Form (PDF)

Questions? Contact Ana Floyd, Asheboro City Schools [].

2023 Recipients

Joshua Griffin; Project Math Success

NCCTM proudly recognizes two recipients of the Innovator Award: Dr. Joshua Griffin and Project Math Success.

Josh Griffin and Karen McPhersonDr. Griffin was a high school mathematics teacher for 6.5 years in Wake County before deciding to leave the classroom.  He applied for a job with the NCDPI Division of Testing and School Accountability to both learn about and be involved with test development and implementation at the state level. In 2015, he took the Test Measurement Specialist position at NCDPI where he led the creation of summative mathematics assessments from grades 3 to pre-calculus.  He is currently the Director of Testing and Accountability for Franklin County Schools.

Dr. Griffin was instrumental in helping teachers and administrators better understand how standards were being tested. He provided critical insight on assessment development to public school educators and mediated between mathematics educators and NCDPI assessment. Dr. Griffin was willing to share important information with educators across the state so that assessment could inform teaching.

Dr. Griffin has also been an asset to the North Carolina Collaborative for Mathematical Learning community.  He met with NC2ML teams during the creation of the Instructional Frameworks to explain the process of creating assessments and the ways in which such documents would be used in the process. As such, he was instrumental in ensuring that the development of the NC Check-Ins would align with the Instructional Frameworks that NC teachers had worked so hard to develop. One person stated, “We feel strongly that Josh Griffin is an outstanding nomination for the NCCTM Innovator Award.  It is rare to find someone so willing to help bridge the gap between policymakers/test designers and public schools. Such bridge building is innovative in this state.”

Karen McPherson with Project Math Success FacultyProject Math Success is a strategic partnership between Guilford County Schools and North Carolina A&T University.  The goal of this project is to increase educational equity within secondary mathematics through the purposeful enactment of high impact tutoring. Project Math Success leverages the content expertise of NC A&T graduate students in non-education degree programs such as engineering, computer science, and information technology to provide students in Guilford County additional, effective mathematics tutoring.

Project Math Success purposefully recruits racially and ethnically diverse tutors from NC A&T (over 98% of tutors are non-white). These tutors engage in continuous professional development surrounding pedagogical best practices that are vital to providing high impact tutoring.  They act as mentors and provide opportunities for diverse secondary students to form relationships with similarly diverse instructors currently in graduate school.  Given the disproportionately low diversity present within the teacher workforce, increasing representation in this way is an important feature of the project.  Additionally, the project hopes to engage the tutors within educational spaces to encourage them to continue to be involved and connected with education. One such tutor stated:  “I think the Project Math Success program is an amazing program for both the students and the tutors. Through the Professional Development materials, tutors can learn and put to practice this knowledge to impact the lives of the students, this I think is great.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Coleman, Dr. Faith Freeman, Dr. Paula Price, and Kara Hamilton, this innovative partnership has resulted in initial positive student outcomes, as well as widespread support from students, school administrators, and families.  It has also garnered national attention as a model for enacting high impact tutoring.

Previous Recipients

2022 Dawne Coker
2019 Nathan Borchelt and Sloan Despeaux- Math Teachers' Circles Project
2018 Denise Johnson; NC Collaborative for Mathematics Learning
2017 Ellen Hilgoe
2016 Eric and Kimberly Marland
2015 The Burroughs-Wellcome Fund
2014 Drew Polly; NC Component of the American Mathematics Competition (AMC)
2013 Sid Rachlin; Editors of The Centroid
2012 Math Celebrations (Logo Contest)
2011 NC School of Science and Mathematics
2010 Vincent Snipes
2009 Archie Benton
2009 Charlotte Mathematics Club
2008 Bampia Bangura
2008 Professional Engineers of NC
2007 Susan Friel
2007 State Math Fair Committee
2006 Lothar Dohse
2006 State Mathematics Contest Committee
2005 Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics
2005 Gail Stafford
2004 Jeane Joyner
2003 Becky McLawhorn
2002 Betty Long
2001 W. Earl Mitchell, Jr
2000 Tom Blackburn and Virginia Hawn
1999 Clifford Z. Adams
1998 Harold Williford
1997 Harold B. Reiter
1996 Jerry Taylor
1995 John Goebel
1994 Ralph Willis

A Message From Our President

Karen McPherson
High School Mathematics Coach
Buncombe County Schools

You have the power to change the future of Mathematics Teaching in North Carolina.

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NCCTM Statement on Equitable Access to Quality Mathematics Instruction

Students need to experience mathematics in ways that allow them to be successful and that give them the power to change the world. This experience needs to be delivered with both excellence and equality while resonating with the lives of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and all marginalized peoples. Racism cannot be tolerated, and we as teachers must be vigilant that we do not tolerate nor contribute to racism, bias, hate, or violence in our classrooms.

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