The VMI Leadership

Kenneth I. Gross is the Azarias Williams Professor of Mathematics at the University of Vermont and is the founding Director of VMI. Ken is a distinguished research mathematician and educator whose educational interests stretch from teaching arithmetic to mathphobic adults to advising mathematics doctoral students. He is an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and has received a number of awards including the Haimo Distinguished Teaching Award, the Chauvenet Prize, and the Lester R. Ford Award from the Mathematics Association of America; the Stanley S. Bezuszka Lifetime Service Award from the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New England; and the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Member Award and the University Scholar Award, the highest honors in teaching and research, respectively, at the University of Vermont. Ken co-founded the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition and the Vermont High School Summer Mathematics Enrichment Institute (now the Governor's Institute in the Mathematical Sciences), and he founded the Lesley University Center for Mathematics Achievement (on leave to Lesley from University of Vermont). He has also served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation in both Research and Education, and he has been Assistant to the Vermont Education Commissioner for Mathematics Education.

Judith Laird is the VMI Executive Director, responsible for coordinating the development and integration of the four VMI program components: mathematics content, effective classroom practice, action research, and teacher leadership. She is a graduate of the first VMI master's degree cohort in 2002. Prior to joining the VMI staff, Ms. Laird was a middle school educator for sixteen years, was an Assessment Consultant for the Vermont State Department of Education, and served as a network leader for the Vermont Portfolio Assessment System. Ms. Laird has also been responsible for the development and implementation of a four-year initiative aimed at improved mathematics instruction in Vermont's geographically largest and most rural supervisory unions. In 2001, Ms. Laird received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was recognized for her achievements in Washington D.C. Ms. Laird has presented at numerous workshops and teaches graduate level mathematics courses to teachers through Lyndon State College and the University of Vermont.

Bob Laird is an instructor for the VMI courses on Statistics, Action Research and Inquiry into Effective Practice, a mentor of VMI teachers, and developer of materials for the teaching/learning strand of the VMI. In addition to his work at the VMI, Bob is co-author of Bringing Research to the Classroom: A Focus on Fractions (Petit, Laird, and Marsden, 2010) which communicates the cognitive research on how students develop their understandings of fraction concepts, common errors students make, and preconceptions and misconceptions that can interfere with students' learning. He is also a co-leader and developer for the Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP), a comprehensive mathematics formative assessment system. Bob works with teachers, schools, districts, and district leadership in Vermont, across the country, and internationally to assist in systemic changes in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Prior to joining the VMI in 2006, Bob was a classroom teacher in grades 5-8 for over 20 years. He proudly graduated from the VMI in 2003!

Susan Ojala is VMI's Lead Course Instructor and is currently leading the expansion of VMI to the high school level. Susan is a 2003 graduate of the VMI and in 2014 completed a Master's Degree in Mathematics. In addition to teaching the full range of VMI mathematics courses, she also teaches UVM undergraduate mathematics courses, and she has co-developed VMI courses in discrete mathematics and linear algebra. Susan also mentors teachers enrolled in VMI by supporting them in transferring their deepened mathematics understanding to effective practice in their classrooms and in accelerating their success in their action research and leadership responsibilities. Prior to working for the VMI, Ms. Ojala had been an award winning middle level educator for ten years, had written mathematics curriculum for two Vermont school districts, and had been a state portfolio scorer and a benchmarking assistant for eighth grade mathematics. Her love of mathematics inspires her students to stretch themselves to reach new levels of understanding and to tackle challenging problems. She loves to solve math problems and is very interested in conducting research that focuses on the difficulties many students have with problem solving.

Kathy Lamphier joined the VMI staff in 2005 as Program Coordinator. In addition to assuring the smooth daily operation of the program Kathy also mentors teachers enrolled in VMI. Kathy began her educational career teaching special education in Massachusetts, which included individual mathematics tutoring. During the next ten years Kathy taught social studies in grades 7-12 in Virginia and Connecticut, which included piloting a new AP course, leading grade level curriculum committees, and mentoring new staff. Kathy completed the VMI master's degree program in 2012. She enjoys working with the VMI participants and appreciates taking part in improving mathematics education across Vermont.

The VMI Instructors

George Ashline is Professor and Chair of Mathematics at Saint Michael's College. Dr. Ashline has strong interests in both K-12 and undergraduate mathematics education. He is a participant and consultant in Project NexT (New Experiences in Teaching), a Mathematical Association of America program created for new or recent doctorates in the mathematical sciences that are interested in improving teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. In addition to his research publications he has co-written a number of articles concerning mathematics pedagogy. He has served as a faculty consultant and grader for the Advanced Placement Calculus examination. He also is a participant in the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition's Expanding Horizons Program, through which college and university faculty are invited to give presentations and visit classrooms across the state of Vermont.

Ralph Bernardini received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont. After working at IBM in Essex for six years, Ralph became a teacher through the Teachers Apprenticeship Program and is currently teaching middle level mathematics at Vergennes High School. He is a graduate of the Vermont Mathematics Initiative where his research interests around effective interventions for mathematics led to the development of a Mathematics Enrichment class and an after school mathematics program at Vergennes. According to school data, the class and enrichment program developed by Ralph have had a significant impact on student achievement.

Priscilla Bremser has been Professor of Mathematics at Middlebury College since 1984. Recently she has designed and taught Mathematics for All, a first year seminar, and Mathematics for Teachers at Middlebury. She enjoys doing mathematics with people of all ages, and has given many presentations in Vermont schools as part of the Expanding Horizons Program. Priscilla served as Higher Education representative to the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics from 2009 until 2014. She is a loyal alumna of Smith College, and received her PhD in mathematics from Johns Hopkins with a thesis in Number Theory.

Joshua Bunker is a graduate of the VMI program and a sixth grade teacher at Rutland Intermediate School. He has been a math leader in his school for the past few years. Josh has served as a VMI instructor and has also taught VMI courses in Little Rock (AR) and Cincinnati (OH). In addition to being a teacher leader, Josh started a MathCounts club at his school, and his students have placed as high as second in the regional competition.

Douglas G. Dickey has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degrees in Mathematics, Education, and Statistics. For the past decade he has been a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Vermont and currently also serves as Assistant Dean for operations in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Doug regularly teaches VMI courses in Statistics and Discrete Mathematics. Prior to turning to academia Doug had a successful career in the financial industry.

Carol J. Eckels is the former principal of Leicester Elementary School and is currently serving as a mathematics specialist for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union. Carol holds a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont with a focus in curriculum. She is a veteran teacher who has taught middle level, high school and college mathematics for twenty years, has mentored gifted elementary aged youngsters in mathematics, and has provided professional development to elementary teachers in mathematics content. Carol has served on several statewide committees and boards that examine, recommend and set education policy. Carol has been teaching VMI courses ever since VMI was founded in 1999.

Luke Fisher has worked in elementary education for 23 years. For twelve years Luke taught kindergarten and worked as a reading and math interventionist at Woodstock Elementary School. He has taught fifth or sixth grade math for 8 years. Currently Luke teaches sixth grade math and is the district math coach, serving five elementary schools. As a math coach Luke focuses on helping teachers use research based best practices in their instruction through individual work with teachers and district inservices. Luke received bachelor's degrees in Civil Engineering and Geology from Lafayette College and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Castleton State College. He is a graduate of the VMI and for the past four years he has been an instructor with the VMI. Prior to his career in education Luke had other occupations, including ten years as a piano tuner/technician specializing in rebuilding player pianos. Luke collects math books, about 275 at last count. He figures that he will be able to read them all if he lives to 105!

Elisabeth Gambler is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Vermont Technical College. Professor Gambler has over thirty years experience teaching mathematics at the high school and college levels. She recently retired after an outstanding career at Vermont Technical College (VTC). At VTC she developed the mathematics curricula for the degree in Architectural Engineering Technology as well as the developmental program and served as advisor to Phi Beta Kappa Honor society. Professor Gambler also taught statistics for IBM employees and was a faculty consultant and grader for the Advanced Placement Calculus Examination. She has given in-service presentations on teaching mathematics and has presented papers at professional meetings on the use of technology and interactive television in teaching mathematics. She has been teaching VMI courses since the year 2000.

William Jesdale, Co-Principal at Lincoln Elementary School, is a retired principal from the Lincoln Elementary School in Lincoln, Vermont. In prior years he has served as principal at all three educational levels—elementary, middle and high school. He has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and a graduate degree in science education. His teaching includes physics at the high school level and mathematics at the elementary through college levels. He has received several awards for distinguished teaching and community service.

Anthony Julianelle is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at University of Vermont. He holds a doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts. Before attending graduate school, he taught in the public schools in Hamden, Connecticut. Dr. Julianelle also taught mathematics at the secondary level with the Peace Corps in Botswana. He has been a faculty consultant and grader for the Advanced Placement Calculus Examination. In addition he has edited several textbooks. Dr. Julianelle is a member of the school board of Underhill Central School as well as a member of the curriculum committee for the Chittenden East Supervisory Union. Dr. Julianelle has given enrichment presentations to secondary students and has served informally as a consultant for IBM.

Kiran MacCormick. received a master's degree is Statistics from the University of Vermont in 2010. He is currently employed as a Data Scientist at Dealer.com, a Dealertrack Technologies Solution in Burlington, VT where he uses statistics to help understand how car buyers use the internet to shop for vehicles and help dealers better serve those customers. Kiran has been a key member of the VMI staff since 2001. He has assisted in developing materials for VMI courses and serves as an instructor. Kiran attended Clarkson University as a National Merit Scholar and graduated in just three years with 'great distinction' and University Honors in Mathematics. While at Clarkson, Kiran served as a teaching assistant in calculus, differential equations, and statistics courses. Prior to entering Clarkson, Kiran had a distinguished career at Burlington High School (BHS), having received numerous awards. Among his many accomplishments, in middle school Kiran was state MathCounts champion and in high school he led the BHS mathematics team to multiple league championships and received top individual honors. Kiran also captained the BHS Scholars Bowl team that finished fourth in the United States.

Robert Rosenfeld retired after thirty years on the faculty of Nassau Community College in New York. He developed the statistics content and school based research components of the VMI. He holds MS and M.Phil. degrees in Biostatistics (Columbia), an MAT in Mathematics (Harvard) and is author or co-author of seven textbooks, including the book "Statistics for the K-8 Educator" which forms the basis for the VMI statistics curriculum.

Sandi Stanhope is a 2010 graduate of VMI. As a VMI mentor and instructor Sandi is able to share her knowledge and experience. Sandi worked in Franklin County for over 30 years as a primary classroom teacher, teacher leader, math interventionist, and math coach. She has spent more than 12 years digging into the research on the ways in which young children develop early numeracy, additive reasoning, and their overall sense of mathematics. She is one of the lead facilitators in the development and implementation of and training for the Primary Number and Operations Assessment (PNOA), a tool used throughout the state to identify what young students know and can apply around concepts in early numeracy. In addition, as a primary mathematics consultant she provides professional development through teaching workshops and graduate level courses in school districts across Vermont. All of these courses support the teaching and learning of essential mathematics content, knowledge, and pedagogy for teachers and students. When she is not immersed in researching the mathematics of young children, Sandi enjoys time off with her family and traveling.

John R. Tapper is Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at University of Hartford in Connecticut. John has worked as an elementary classroom teacher, a mathematics specialist, and a professional developer. His research interests include instruction for struggling math learners, pre-service teacher preparation in mathematics, and teachers-as-researchers. John is the author of Solving for Why: Understanding, Assessing, and Teaching Students Who Struggle with Math.

Julie M Theoret is Professor of Mathematics at Johnson State College. Dr. Theoret has a strong interest in mathematics education at all levels. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at Johnson State College, she serves on the Education Council, a faculty committee that acts on issues concerning pre-service teacher education at the College. Dr. Theoret served as the coordinator for the Secondary Education Program at Lyndon State College before moving to Johnson, and she has worked with the Vermont Agency of Education to strengthen the mathematics requirements for elementary education licensure. Dr. Theoret received her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont, earning awards as the outstanding mathematics major and for outstanding student leadership, and received her doctorate in mathematics at the University of Virginia, where she co-authored a handbook on teaching for the Department of Mathematics.

Sheila O'Leary Weaver is a Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at the University of Vermont. She teaches courses in mathematics and statistics, including Mathematics and the Arts; Mathematics and Social Justice; Statistical Programming; Statistical Quality and Productivity; and a course in Risk, Decision Making, and Bayesian Statistics. She is interested in effective and innovative teaching methods, and has recently begun teaching introductory statistics using randomization and bootstrap methods. Also interested in encouraging younger mathematicians, Sheila has been a Program Director of the Governor's Institute in Mathematical Sciences for several years, and has served on the Vermont State Math Coalition. She has also worked with teachers, teaching courses for the Vermont Mathematics Partnerships (VMP). She especially enjoys working with the VMI cohorts, and has taught each of the VMI statistics courses over the years.

James Wright is Associate Professor of Mathematics at Westfield State University. Dr. Wright spent 14 years at Green Mountain College before moving to WSU. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Washington with a specialty in probability. His passion about mathematics fuels his desire to help people see the beauty and utility of mathematics and to help develop mathematics courses for undergraduate elementary education majors. He has been teaching courses for the Vermont Mathematics Initiative since 2002.

Questions about the VMI? Email us at vmi@uvm.edu or call 1-802-656-4281.