Professor co-authors book for principals about importance of mathematics

November 07, 2011

Long-time mathematics education advocate, McDaniel professor Francis “Skip” Fennell teamed up with two colleagues to author a new book, "What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Mathematics."

Designed to help principals and other educators create challenging mathematics experiences every day for every child, the book is co-authored by Tim Kanold, Diane Briars and Fennell and co-published by Solution Tree and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

“The book emphasizes key points related to mathematics content and instruction that engage the Common Core State Standards,” says Fennell, L. Stanley Bowlsbey Professor of Education and Graduate and Professional Studies and project director of the Brookhill Foundation-supported Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project.  “This CCSS focus is particularly important as 45 of our states move toward implementation.”

According to their website, the Common Core State Standards, on which Fennell served as a member of the writing team, “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

Although just released Nov. 2, the book is already being lauded by mathematics educators across the country.

“These three outstanding mathematics teachers and renowned leaders – Tim Kanold, Diane Briars, and Skip Fennell – provide specific information for principals who face the challenges of implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  In this comprehensive book, principals will have the resources and perspectives to develop an intentional plan to support their teachers and students in the newly organized content, mathematical practices, instruction, and assessment,” writes Shirley M. Frye, mathematics educator, former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics on the back cover.

A recent past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Fennell served as a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel from 2006-2008 and has been a faculty member at McDaniel College for 36 years. He has published widely in professional journals and textbooks, while serving in key leadership roles in mathematics teacher education and mathematics instruction nationally and internationally.

Timothy Kanold is the former director of mathematics and science for Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125 in Lincolnshire, Ill., where he also served as superintendent. He conducts professional development leadership seminars worldwide with a focus on initiatives that create and sustain greater equity, access and success for all students.

Diane Briars is a mathematics education consultant and co-director of the Algebra Intensification Project, an National Science Foundation-supported research project for underprepared algebra students. She was mathematics director for Pittsburgh Public Schools for 20 years.