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Ontario Association for Mathematics Education
Ontario Association for Mathematics Education

President's Message - June 2022

Judy's June Message

As unbelievable as it feels to me, I have served as the OAME/AOEM President for a total of three years, and now, as the term of my second presidency is coming to an end, I am writing my final (of 12) President’s Message. As I reflect upon my incredible good fortune to have had the opportunity to lead this amazing association (twice!), I am feeling so very grateful to the many people who have offered me guidance, encouragement, and even the occasional forceful nudge, all of whom were instrumental in any successes I have had.

I was extremely fortunate to have had two innovative and forward-thinking department heads, Jeff Irvine and John Rodger, both of whom were very involved (and continue to be) in OAME/AOEM as well as their regional chapter, CHAMP (no surprises here). These two mathematics educators provided the fuel that launched my voyage to the wonderful world of OAME/AOEM.

It was Jeff’s encouragement and open-mindedness that led to the development of an innovative, individualized, five- day summative, culminating in a one-on-one role-play interview (long before Growing Success), and it was his nudge that got me to submit my first OAME Annual Conference session proposal. A participant at that session was someone from NOMA, and this connection led to an invitation to travel to Sudbury to speak at their regional conference. This was the first time I really had a sense of the chapter structure of OAME/AOEM, and the targeted and wonderful work that chapter members do to address the needs of teachers in their regionals.

John Rodger was heavily involved in organizing CHAMP’s Math Olympics, and because he recruited me to help, I began a relationship with the wonderful people at CHAMP, which culminated in my assuming the role of President of CHAMP. John Rodger was also a forward- thinking math educator, and he introduced me to new ways of thinking about instruction and assessment, especially with respect to the teaching and evaluation of students’ mathematical thinking. Many of the assessments we created under his leadership were the subject of OAME/AOEM Annual Conference sessions. In fact, I only missed presenting at one OAME/AOEM Annual Conference from that first one, up until COVID struck. As a result of giving sessions at the annual conferences, I have many, many new math friends, and I continue to learn from and with them. John Rodger also generously recommended me to work on a writing project associated with the 2007 Grades 11 and 12 curriculum revision. It was there I first saw the power of dynamic geometry software (thank you, Greg Clarke!), the creativity that university professors can bring to secondary math topics (thank you, Walter Whiteley!), and the importance of sharing resources in an open and accessible way (thank you, Myrna Ingalls!).

My next major step on the path to the presidency of OAME/AOEM came along with the opportunity to help plan and implement Math GAINS’ Math CAMPPP, and then to take a mini-version of that program out to London as a Summer Institute. It was during these two projects that I had the extreme pleasure of working with Anne Yeager, and it was Anne, who first suggested that I should run for a seat on the OAME/AOEM Board of Directors. I honestly scoffed when she first brought this up—me? I was just a teacher. But she was persistent, and lo and behold, when I put my name in for Director, I was elected. No one could have been more surprised than me. But I am forever grateful to Anne for giving me that encouragement and for bolstering my confidence, both of which I really needed. Because of her belief that I belonged in the OAME/AOEM family, I have built relationships with people who have propped me up on many occasions when I felt the ground slide out from under me.

I have sat on the Board of Directors under eight different Presidents. As President, I have had on the “3P Team” (the team of Past-President, President, and President-Elect), the extraordinary group including Tim Sibbald, Jill Lazarus, David Petro, Paul Alves, and Sandra Jean Price. What I have learned from these amazing mathematics educators and wonderful individuals could not fit into a single volume. Nothing happens within OAME/AOEM without the support of the 3P Team. Put these heads together and you know wonderful things will happen. Thank you to each of you for all you have given me.

Finally, I am grateful for the continuous leadership provided by our Executive Directors, Lynda Ferneyhough and Fred Ferneyhough, and for the wisdom and knowledge that resides in the illustrious Bill Otto. These people have been the constants during my time on the Executive Committee, and their strength and patience have always been there to support me when my own has waned.

As I say goodbye as President, I hope that everyone who reads this column will think about the people you may never have thanked and make the time to thank them. I hope that I have provided other math educators opportunities for new challenges, as well as the encouragement and support they may have needed to take on new challenges and test new directions. I hope that you, the reader, will look for those Judy Mendaglios around you, who need your encouragement and support, and convince them that they are indeed “the right people.” I know that I would be in a very different place if no one had done that for me.

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