Rachel Gelderman has more than 24 years total experience in math education, serving as a public school teacher and as a private math tutor. Her expertise and understanding of advanced math concepts have made her an outstanding teacher in Honors and Advanced math courses. Susan West has been a math teacher in a public school for 20 years, serving students at all levels from foundational courses to Honors courses. Her ability to approach math concepts in a variety of ways, making complicated topics simple, has made her a valued teacher and colleague. Together Rachel and Susan work to produce math warm ups to review and/or reteach math concepts and to prepare students for standardized testing. They have also developed a number of math materials (such as the Quick Reference Guide to Fractions) to help parents and students more easily understand math topics and processes. They spend many hours writing (and editing) step-by-step solutions to the warm up problems they develop so that students will be better able to understand how to arrive at a valid solution and why specific steps were necessary.
From manipulatives to group investigations (math “labs”), Rachel and Susan have used a variety of methods to reach students. Over the past 20 years, instructional methods have continued to become more student-centered. Rachel and Susan have been willing to experiment with new methods, adopting approaches that improve student learning and retention of skills. They have been advocates of sound pedagogy, discouraging colleagues from resorting to jingles, songs, and meaningless acronyms. They encourage students to take risks and ask questions.
Rachel received Mount Holyoke’s Jennifer Dawn Landry Memorial Award, presented to one Mathematics, Statistics, or Computer Science major who shows a compassionate interest in people with a special fondness for children. As Susan graduated from college, she received Castleton’s Presidential Awards in both Mathematics and Education.
Both Rachel and Susan have mathematics degrees with certifications to teach grades 7 through 12. Rachel’s degree is from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts; Susan’s degree is from Castleton University in Vermont. Both Rachel and Susan completed their student teaching experiences in Middle School environments, preparing to make a difference with students at a challenging but critical age. Rachel and Susan have continued their education with various courses while serving as math teachers in public high schools. They continue to grow as educators through their students, uncovering difficulties that challenge children and young adults, and developing alternative solution methods (sometimes “guessing and checking” is simpler and easier on a multiple-choice question). They work to provide quality materials which will help students to succeed in mathematics.
Rachel and her husband are currently raising two talented and gifted young women. She divides her time between her family, math tutoring, and creating products for Math Momentum. Rachel also spends time as the Facebook facilitator. Susan has been a single parent of four fine young men who are now college graduates, working in their fields. She has always promoted the life-changing power of education. She has recently retired and plans to spend more time producing material to support mathematics educators through Math Momentum.