Congratulations to MCMI Coach Joanne Baker on receiving the Philip Wagreich STEM Education Award from the Learning Sciences Research Institute at University of Illinois at Chicago. This award recognizes an individual’s contributions to the improvement of STEM education through scholarship and service.
Joanne’s exceptional ability to establish and nurture positive relationships with both administrators and teachers has enabled her to affect changes in their practice and structures. For almost three decades, Joanne has been a catalyst for change in mathematics education.
Joanne started out as a classroom teacher when she herself was barely older than her students. Joanne began at UIC as a Program Associate in the All Learn Mathematics Project supporting Chicago Public School teachers who were working to change their instruction through the implementation of the Maneuvers with Mathematics materials developed at UIC. It was clear in her initial work piloting the materials in her own classrooms that she had an exceptional ability to establish and nurture positive relationships with both administrators and teachers, so that she was welcomed into the schools and classrooms and able to affect changes in their practice.
Joanne co-directed the All Learn Mathematics Project as the project expanded to work with teachers using Connected Mathematics and other elementary resources. Building on these experiences, Joanne directed the Cluster 4 Middle Grade Mathematics Project, a collaboration with Chicago Public schools focused on improving instruction at the middle grades. She served as a coach and co-director for the Middle Grade Mathematics Alternative Certification Program, which was designed to meet the need for highly-qualified teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. Not only did she facilitate courses in this program, but she mentored teachers who were transitioning from fields outside of education and beginning careers teaching mathematics.
Joanne coordinated the implementation of university course offerings for the Suburban Cook County Mathematics Initiative, serving as a liaison between the Office of Continuing Education, the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, the Initiative, and the teachers participating in the courses. Her personal contacts with the key stakeholders were essential in teacher recruitment efforts and resulted in more than 60 middle grade mathematics endorsements for teachers in west and south Cook County.
As a key member of the MCMI project team, Joanne engages in ongoing problem solving when issues and dilemmas arise and uses her expertise to support other members of the team. She continues to design and provide professional development at the district and school levels, and works with teachers in grade level teams and on an ongoing basis in their classrooms.
We are so honored to have Joanne on our team and thrilled to see her work recognized with the Philip Wagreich STEM Education Award. Congratulations, Joanne!