Teruni Lamberg, University of Nevada, Reno College of Education associate professor of elementary mathematics education, has a passion for preparing current and future educators to teach math more effectively. As the program director and principal investigator for the Nevada Mathematics Project, a collaborative statewide mathematics initiative to improve math and science instruction and student achievement in Nevada, her passion led her to another area of interest, leadership. Now, she has written two books on the subject.
"One of my goals is to transform math education in Nevada and to discover how we can create change and innovate," Lamberg said. "Those goals led me to become interested in leadership and innovation within all disciplines."
In her recent books published by Rowman & Littlefield, "Conducting Productive Meetings: How to Generate and Communicate Ideas for Innovation" and "Leaders Who Lead Successfully: Guidelines for Organizing to Achieve Innovation," Lamberg focuses on how successful leaders develop their leadership skills and forms of communication to lead purposefully and creatively. Utilizing the Nevada Mathematics Project as a case study, both books look at stories from successful leaders as well as voices from within the K-12 fields. The books are useful for researchers leading research teams to generate new ideas as well as leaders who are looking to create innovate change.
Instituted in 2014, The Nevada Mathematics Project is the one of the few research to practice programs that involves a statewide collaborative effort to link research to improve math education in schools. Professional development was delivered using research and it also generated research to inform the field and future work in Nevada. The statewide effort includes the University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Northeastern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program; Western Regional Professional Development Program; Nevada Department of Education and every school district in Nevada, as-well-as some charter and private schools. In addition, the collaborators were from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Central Connecticut University, University of Utah and Northwestern University.
"In the process of writing these books, I was interested in looking at how leaders and individuals learned to make a difference within their work," Lamberg said. "So, when I interviewed individuals from the K-12 settings, I wanted to make sure that I included the voices of the people involved, those that are working every day to make a difference. Getting their perspectives was invaluable."
Over the past five years, during Phase I and II of the project, more than 500 Nevada K-12 teachers were provided with support, impacting approximately 12,000 Nevada students. Key to the project's success has been its development of teacher leaders who support other teachers and their districts in mathematics education. These leaders were provided with the necessary tools to communicate with one another throughout the year, only enhancing statewide collaboration among math teachers as they continued to implement the content standards and go about new ways of teaching.
"We really have created a great network that communicates with each other," Lamberg said. "Recently The Nevada Department of Education created its own math network based off of ours. In some ways, it's history in the making."
The research team is currently developing a series of papers on institutional context/policy, integrating STEM, teachers' use of curriculum, formative assessments and how to support math learning.
The Nevada Mathematics project is now formalized as an institutional initiative, with support from the Nevada Governor's office and the Nevada State Board of Education.
"As research to practice partnerships become more common nationally, there really is an opportunity to create widespread change," Lamberg said. "In these books, I hope to explain some of the tools necessary for individuals to solve problems, creatively come up with a project idea as well as communicate with a team to achieve those goals."