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Parkersburg South teacher chosen for math fellowship

PARKERSBURG — A math teacher at Parkersburg South High School has been selected as a Mountaineer Mathematics Master Teachers Noyce Fellow as part of a $3 million grant to West Virginia University from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

Sara Klesel is one of 19 Noyce Fellows – dubbed M3T – in the first group participating in the project, representing 17 counties across West Virginia. The program is supported by additional grants from the West Virginia Department of Education.

“It’s an honor to be part of the M3T project. I am excited about the work we are doing, and hope it impacts student learning and teacher leadership in mathematics across the state,” Klesel said.

The project builds on previous efforts to support secondary mathematics teacher leadership and instructional improvement across West Virginia, which started in Pocahontas County about a decade ago. Over the next five years, fellows will work with the project leads, Matthew Campbell, assistant professor of mathematics education at WVU, and Joanna Burt-Kinderman, instructional coach for Pocahontas County Schools, who was recognized in 2019 by Education Week as a Leader to Learn From, and a team of other mathematics education faculty at WVU.

“We have a unique and powerful opportunity to work with these outstanding mathematics teachers across West Virginia over the next five years,” Campbell said. “Our state’s teachers should be at the center of improving mathematics teaching and learning and, with this cohort of fellows, we will work to understand how to make that possible.”

Noyce Fellows must continue to serve in their role as a middle or high school mathematics teacher as part of their commitment to the program. Fellows will work as a network to identify and solve specific problems in their own classrooms and share that learning. In time, they will also lead similar improvement efforts with teachers in their local school or district context. By the end of the project, fellows will be supported to mentor other emerging teacher leaders across the state.

“Math teachers’ problems, solutions and perspectives are too often locked in their classrooms, where no one can learn from or with them,” said Burt-Kinderman. “M3T fellows will link problems of teaching and learning to potential solutions across the state and nation and, as we learn to improve, we are excited for teachers across the state to learn with us.”

Since they began their work with the project this fall, fellows have met regularly to build their improvement network, attended national conferences virtually, and collaborated with the West Virginia Department of Education on the development of materials for educators across the state.

In the spring, fellows will begin a process of developing, testing, and refining possible solutions to problems they have identified in their mathematics classrooms.

“Sara Klesel is a prime example of the wonderful and dedicated teachers we have working for our students every day in Wood County Schools,” said Will Hosaflook, superintendent of Wood County Schools. “We are proud of her accomplishments and honored to have a teacher of her caliber serving our students.”

The program will accept applications for a second group of fellows in Spring 2021 with a goal to support at least 40.

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