OPS TLA | Profiles

Molly Mertz and Kenzi Medeiros teaches at Lewis and Clark in 2015

Molly Mertz and Kenzi Medeiros

OPS TLA Math in the Middle

Lewis and Clark Middle School

Before Math in the Middle began, Molly Mertz thought it was going to be like other graduate programs she had heard about.

“I thought it would be filled with classes, sitting in the back, taking notes, and doing coursework independently. I was very wrong,” Mertz said. “From the first day of class, Dr. Jim Lewis had us interacting with one another, getting one another’s phone numbers, working in collaborative groups, solving problems with manipulatives, and asking questions. This is not your ordinary graduate program. This program has done more for me than I ever expected.”

Mertz and her Cohort 1 colleague Kenzi Medeiros both have been teaching at Lewis and Clark Middle School since 2012. Medeiros teaches the honors math students in Algebra and Geometry in seventh and eighth grades, while Mertz teaches English as a Second Language to the same grades. Both Medeiros and Mertz aspire to become leaders in their school. Medeiros already became a part-time math coach at the school for the 2015-16 school year.

“I have always preferred to lead by example,” said Medeiros (pictured), who is from Central City. “I want to share my successes as well as my failures with others to assist in their progress as educators.”

Mertz added that she hopes to become someone whom her peers look to as a resource, just as she has reached out to them.

“I believe in collaboration,” said Mertz, from Minden. “The teachers at my school answer my questions, provide me with strategies, and are there to listen. I would have never tried for this collaboration without the help of Math in the Middle and Dr. Lewis’ encouragement. The courses are set up with a huge emphasis on communication with classmates. I have learned something from each of them.”

Medeiros wants to end the stigma about math among her students.

“My goal as a math teacher is to instill an understanding and appreciation of mathematics, even a love of math, within my students,” Medeiros said. “I love the logic, reasoning and proof of mathematical properties and theorems. I try and show as many real-life applications, supporting methods and pictures that I can so that my students not only get the procedural material, but also understand the reasoning behind what they are learning.”