Kathy Beatty, a math teacher at Centreville High School, has been named the recipient of the 2014 William C. Lowry Outstanding Mathematics Educator of the Year Award by the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She will receive her award at the VCTM annual conference in Harrisonburg in March.
Beatty, who has taught at Centreville since 1991, serves as an instructor in Fairfax County Public Schools’ Great Beginnings program for new teachers, and serves as a Teachers for Tomorrow instructor at her school, instructing students in the foundations of education to prepare them for internships in local elementary and middle schools.
“Kathy is a teacher and mentor to students and teachers alike in the truest sense of the word,” said Centreville High principal Martin Grimm, citing Beatty’s recent mentoring of a new calculus teacher while rewriting the school’s Advanced Placement calculus scope and sequence program. “Kathy, of her own volition, took on the task of re-engineering our calculus program to match the needs of all of our students” while addressing their differing levels of math skills, said Grimm. He praisesd her mentoring skills, saying she is able to “draw out the best in the teachers she works with."
Colleague Jessica Wallace, who requested the opportunity to collaborate with Beatty, worked with her to re-sequence the calculus curriculum for Centreville High and co-sponsors the school’s chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, the high school mathematics honor society.
“Kathy’s tremendous leadership for our chapter has provided struggling math students in the school with support through the peer tutoring program she envisioned and organized,” said Wallace, who notes that membership has increased to 190 students
Beatty is skilled at helping teachers meet challenges in the classroom, according to Kate Wolling, FCPS high school mathematics specialist. “Students aren’t engaged? Kathy shared ideas on different approaches to content through the use of Kagan structures or paired activities,” said Wolling. When proving trigonometric identities in precalculus honors, Beatty has students work in groups to solve problems, then present their approach and “discover there are multiple ways to prove the same identity. This allows multiple solution strategies to be revealed to the same problem through the discussions in which the students engage,” said Wolling.
Teacher Susan Rigby, a former electrical engineer who now teaches math at Centreville High, says Beatty was instrumental in encouraging her to pursue her teaching certification after serving as a substitute teacher. “She offered continual support and guidance and shared many of her teaching strategies with me throughout the (first) year,” said Rigby.
Beatty was a finalist for FCPS Teacher of the Year in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Gettysburg College and a master’s degree in education for secondary mathematics in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University.