The process of applying for the Presidential Award has had all the elements of great inquiry. Through this process I have discovered strengths I did not recognize in myself before. I have uncovered my own misconceptions about teaching and learning. I more fully appreciate the relationships I have with my colleagues, including my students. And, like all the best learning experiences, I have connected more closely with my life's purpose: to help myself and others become more human.

Vivian Shell Salt Lake City, UT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2011

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Vivian Shell has taught middle and high school mathematics in the Salt Lake City School District for 15 years. She has spent the past 4 years at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education, teaching and helping build a school for diverse learners. Previously, she taught Prealgebra, Algebra, and English as a Second Language (ESL) Math at Northwest Middle School. During a sabbatical, she worked to help students transition from middle to high school. Vivian provides all students with access to quality education by working with their individual strengths. In her quest to help students find success and a sense of belonging, she has implemented support structures such as Girls’ Math Club, a Math in the City project, Math Lab, and an afterschool homework hall. Vivian’s belief in collaboration has led to work with several learning communities, including cross-curricular teams, networks for inclusive practices, and curriculum design teams. She is a mentor for new teachers in the Support and Mentoring in an Alternative Route to Teaching program with Math for America. She is known for her innovative and accessible teaching methods and has presented throughout the State. Vivian has a B.S., cum laude, in geology from the University of Utah. She is certified in geology and mathematics education and endorsed in ESL.

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