Educator Recruitment, Preparation, and Recognition
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
2012 PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS
New Jersey STATE FINALISTS
Kristina Lasher has worked at Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, NJ since 2004 where she currently teaches fifth grade mathematics and a section of seventh grade Algebra I. She feels that spending part of each school day teaching a higher level course helps her keep an eye on the future for her fifth graders.
Kristina studied Psychology and Educational Studies at Swarthmore College. During college she worked as a research assistant to a professor studying the impact of student interest on achievement. She graduated with a B.A. in 1990 and began teaching at Swarthmore-Rutledge School while working part-time as a research assistant. While teaching first and second grade she became interested in individualizing instruction for vulnerable learners. She pursued a Masters in Education degree at Arcadia University, which she completed in 1996, and began professional training with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to lead the Instructional Support Team in her school. In this role, she worked with parents and teachers to identify and implement strategies and classroom adaptions to help struggling learners in the regular classroom.
In 2000, she stepped out of the brick and mortar classroom and into the virtual classroom to work as a project manager for the Math Forum at Drexel University. (http://mathforum.org/). This math education website specializes in online professional development and collaboration, non-routine problem solving, and communication in mathematics. She worked on numerous projects connecting with students, teachers, and researchers from around the world. Her work there included writing weekly challenge problems and mentoring elementary students to improve their use of strategies and communication. In a related project she helped pre-service teachers learn techniques for mentoring students in mathematics.
Since joining the faculty at Gill St. Bernard's School, Kristina has taught 5th through 8th grade mathematics. She worked with the middle school faculty to develop a two-year Algebra course to allow more students to successfully complete Algebra I while in middle school. She presented with a colleague at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting in 2006 on the topic of “making math real” so that students can make connections and remember what they are learning. As the K-6 Math Coordinator, she helped the lower school faculty research, select, and implement their current Singapore Math curriculum. She is now teaching the students who have followed this program for three years and reports about the thrill of teaching students who face mathematics with enthusiasm, flexibility, and confidence.