Find Your Fred

I just returned from the NCTM’s annual conference. This year it was in San Antonio. Having never been to San Antonio, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Riverwalk as well as the simple charm the city itself offered. I’d go back to San Antonio in a heartbeat, with or without a conference.

While in Texas, I got to hang out with several math friends. I’m always so grateful to the Park City Math Institute for connecting me to so many talented people. Any given math conference becomes like a mini PCMI reunion: Gail E, Ashli, Tina, Ben, Matt, Carl, Dylan, Ron, Brian, Mary, Vicki, Suzanne, Gail B, Nicole, Ryan, and of course, Fred.

I say ‘of course, Fred’ because he has helped me bridge the gap between PCMI and NCTM.  In fact, he has helped many of the aforementioned people get more professionally involved. Most of my friends were there as speakers and/or were on the Program Committee. Fred had a hand in all of it with his various recommendations and encouragements.

Without Fred, I would not have applied to speak. He gives great advice on how to write a proposal so that it will likely get accepted. He should know: Fred has been reading and writing them for years. He is a regular and popular speaker, as well as a frequent committee member.

Thanks to Fred pushing me, I put myself out there professionally, and it’s paid off. I am doing more beyond the classroom than I ever have before. I am speaking at conferences. I am on committees.  I am now working for PCMI.

And…Suzanne even asked me to do an Ignite talk in San Antonio.

If you don’t know what an Ignite Talk is, listen up: You have five minutes to tell your story, and the PowerPoint slides advance every 15 seconds, whether you are ready or not.

That’s when I really started thinking a lot about the impact that Fred has had on me in the years since I’ve met him. I knew then my Ignite talk would be an homage to Fred.

So I called it, “Six Degrees,” and used the whole ‘six degrees of separation’ theory to connect Fred not just to me but also to the rest of the math world. He’s like the Mayor of math circles. You simply cannot walk through a convention center without being stopped multiple times by this friend, or that colleague, or some former student.

Fred knew he was in my talk, but I don’t think he expected the talk to take the turn it did: The Six Degrees of FRED: Fred as a teacher; a PCMI participant; an NCTM ambassador; a math speaker; an author. Fred as a friend and mentor.

Yes, you Fred, are the total package: professional, caring, funny, and intelligent. Absolutely one of the best. Everyone needs someone like Fred. Find YOUR Fred.


#xmath #NCTMannual #SanAntonio #Ignite #FindYourFred #TeamFred

P.S. There is a video to follow. But for now, here is the PDF. Stay tuned.


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