The purpose of the Dr. Lee Stiff Instructional Leader of Mathematics Teaching Award is to recognize and reward an individual at the district or school level who has made an outstanding and noteworthy contribution to mathematics education and NCCTM by working directly with classroom teachers to improve student learning of mathematics.
This individual may support classroom teachers through coaching, professional development, demonstration lessons, and/or the development of curriculum materials and resources. Nominations may be submitted at any time.
Questions? Contact Ana Floyd, Asheboro City Schools [email@example.com].
Dr. Lee Vernon Stiff passed away in March 2021. He was a nationally-recognized expert and scholar on equity and mathematics education who served and led in NC State’s College of Education for 37 years. He was past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and winner of the W.W. Rankin Award. Throughout his nearly 45-year career in education, Dr. Stiff worked to improve mathematics education at the state and national level for all students. He served our organization and was devoted to improve student success and teacher effectiveness. This award, the Lee Stiff Instructional Leader of Mathematics Teaching Award, was named in honor of him and his legacy to mathematics education in North Carolina.
The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual at the district or school level who has made an outstanding and noteworthy contribution to mathematics education and NCCTM by working directly with classroom teachers to improve student learning of mathematics. This individual may support classroom teachers through coaching, professional development, demonstration lessons, and the development of curriculum materials and resources.
Laura Baker has exemplified this role as a coach and instructional leader. She is currently the district-wide Elementary Mathematics Coach for Kannapolis City Schools. Laura supports classroom teachers in ways that directly improve student learning of mathematics. Not only does she lead curriculum development so that teachers have consistent, aligned instructional materials, but she also provides layers of ongoing support for teachers to deliver the instruction to students effectively. She models effective planning processes and provides feedback and instructional strategies to teachers. She often participates in PLC meetings across the district and unpacks data on a variety of assessments. Her work also includes regular classroom visits to observe instruction and give teacher feedback.
Laura is known for being dependable and hard-working, and she strives to help others. Laura extends her support to provide additional one-on-one coaching support for individual teachers, especially beginning teachers, through co-planning, co-teaching, or modeling instruction. She works with teachers to learn how to teach mathematics from an inquiry-based approach, implement number talks, move towards a student-centered model, and build classroom community. She provides tools and strategies to use in the classroom and models how to facilitate such strategies. In addition, Laura plans and delivers professional development in varying models for schools and the district. This includes both school and district administrators to help them understand major underlying concepts as well as identify specific look-fors in the mathematics classroom based on the content standards as well as the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
Laura not only serves her district. She also seeks to improve mathematics education in our state. She has worked with the NC Department of Public Instruction to expand the library of K-2 assessment tasks and items. Laura was a lead writer and professional development facilitator in theTools4NCTeachers grant, and she also served as a member of the NC2ML Instructional Framework group providing feedback and helping to determine which standards would be grouped into clusters. One administrator in her district praised Laura’s knowledge, understanding, and dedication to mathematics: “Her knowledge of content standards for kindergarten through 5th grade is profound. She is able to assist teachers with aligning standards while providing rigor to students. Further, she has been willing and able to support teachers in their classroom to support their mathematics teaching.” Another school administrator stated, “Laura was instrumental in opening our teachers up to the idea that moving the work and discussion to a student-centered model would increase student understanding while building classroom community. As a result, teacher confidence grew and classroom conversations became more evident and frequent in math classes. She was so successful the teachers asked for an extension of the professional development for the next year.”