Cathy Seeley: Math is Supposed to Make Sense!

“My motivation has always been to do whatever it takes to help every student learn a high level of mathematics that can serve each of them in creating a bright future and in making contributions to society.”

Dr. Cathy Seeley is a retired Senior Fellow at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas. However, Dr. Seeley remains busy in retirement as she continues to write, speak, and consult on ways to improve mathematics teaching and learning at all levels. Dr. Seeley is the author of several books including Faster Isn’t Smarter: Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century (Second Edition) (2015) and Smarter Than We Think: More Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century (2014). Dr. Seeley also wrote two titles for The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Making Sense of Math (for teachers) and Building a Math-Positive Culture (for leaders).

During her 30+ years of teaching mathematics to students at the middle and high school level, Dr. Seeley honed the best ways of teaching mathematics, in what she calls an “upside-down-teaching” method. This method encourages teachers to create classrooms focused on thinking and sense-making. Dr. Seeley expands on this method in her second book Faster Isn’t Smarter. 

Dr. Seeley served as the President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) from 2004-2006. As president, Dr. Seeley wrote and spoke for the organization. During one of her talks for the Math Forum at NCTM, Dr. Seeley discusses the idea that teachers need to “walk the walk” and expect of themselves what they expect of students. In her talk Dr. Seeley asks the audience, “can we as leaders do with teachers what we ask teachers to do with students?”

Dr. Seeley also worked as a K-12 district coordinator, and later State Director, of Mathematics for Texas. Dr. Seeley is an advocate for educators to give new programs or initiatives a chance to work. As Dr. Seeley knows from experience, the tendency for “yo-yo decision making” in education programs plagues the system and doesn’t give new programs a chance to take off and make a difference. According to Dr. Seeley, “almost any well-conceived program probably has a chance of yielding some level of improvement if teachers work together and have the right kind of ongoing support.” It is only with a commitment to giving these programs a fair chance that education will be improved.

With her years of experience, Dr. Seeley is an advocate for the student and believes that, every student deserves a high-quality mathematics education. In the words of Dr. Seeley,

“On peut le faire!” *

To book Dr. Seeley, or other education speakers, for your next event, please contact us.

*”We can do it!” 


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