We ALL have a right to learn mathematics, see ourselves as mathematicians, and share our mathematics stories. The Presidential Award means reflecting as a mathematics teacher on the learning my students have experienced with the hope that they feel welcome and belong as vital members of the mathematics community. This prestigious award also gives me an opportunity to show how mathematics can and should be used as a unifier to build bridges for the purpose of humanizing those around us.

Lachanda Garrison FPO, AE | K-6, Mathematics, 2020

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

Lachanda Garrison was a second grade teacher for two years at Bahrain Elementary School (BES) in Manama, Bahrain, before becoming their mathematics interventionist this past year. Before BES, she taught at Rota Elementary School in Spain for 10 years. Her 15 years as an educator include 12 years as a classroom teacher and also as an instructional coach in both elementary mathematics and literacy. She is the 2021 State Teacher of the Year for DoDEA. Lachanda believes weaving her students’ stories and identities into lessons is the best instructional tool, ensuring all students receive an equitable education. She meets students’ needs by being trauma-informed, resilience-focused, and culturally responsive so students can learn and thrive both inside and outside of the classroom. Because of these beliefs, she fosters learning spaces where her students advocate for their learning, celebrate one another’s differences and cultures, and empathize with those around them. The epitome of a lifelong learner, Lachanda challenges herself with a mathematics-focused action research project every year on student thinking, learning, and achievement. She enjoys sharing her research by facilitating and providing fellow educators with exciting and timely learning experiences at the school, district, and national levels. Lachanda facilitates learning experiences for organizations like NCTM. Lachanda has an A.A. in computer studies and a B.S. in information systems management from the University of Maryland University College; an M.Ed. in instructional technology from Troy University; and an M.A. in mathematics teaching from Mount Holyoke College. She is a certified elementary school, middle school mathematics, and secondary business teacher. She is also a certified educational technologist.

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