Teacher Spotlight: Lacey Konwinski

Konwinski Lacey
Lacey Konwinski

First-Grade Teacher:
Beattie Elementary, Lincoln Public Schools

Whether it is in their building or their district, several LPS teachers have taken on leadership roles because of Primarily Math. Beattie Elementary’s Lacey Konwinski, a Cohort 4 participant, has stepped up in both settings.

“I have helped the district with the first-grade implementation of the new math curriculum,” Konwinski said. “I led monthly meetings last year, and this year I helped with the second semester update sessions.”

Konwinski and her Cohort 4 colleague Megan Slothouber, a former West Lincoln Elementary teacher, piloted the new math program Math Expressions during the spring semester of 2011. Slothouber also served as the district-wide first-grade math implementation leader and created multiple professional development sessions for teachers. In 2013, Slothouber and Konwinski collaborated to plan the second semester math professional development for the first-grade teachers.

“Lacey’s willingness to learn and openness to trying new instructional strategies in her classroom makes her a professional role model for others. We are very fortunate to have her as a part of the district leadership team as she brings many gifts as a top-notch educator,” said Susie Katt, LPS K-3 district math coach, Primarily Math instructor and Noyce Master Teaching Fellow.

Three other Primarily Math teachers also taught at Beattie with Konwinski while she was in Primarily Math: Darcy Vercellino from Cohort 3 LPS and Tracy Clements and Jennifer Woelber from Cohort 4 Lincoln. Clements, Konwinski, Vercellino, and Woelber led “Math Moments” at staff meetings in which they shared what they learned through Primarily Math.

In the first Math Moment they talked about productive struggle, asked the staff to solve the “crossing the river problem,” and showed a video clip of two of Konwinski’s first-graders solving the problem. Now, Clements is an assistant principal at Cavett, Vercellino is the interventionist at Beattie, and Woelber is a teacher in North Carolina.

Konwinski said Primarily Math has not only helped her understand math better, but also has introduced new ways to help struggling students.

“I believe students should encounter some productive struggle within their learning, and I also believe that students need a chance to explore and construct meaning for themselves as much as possible with me as a guide to get them to the desired point,” Konwinski said.

Originally from Columbus, Neb., Lacey said she cherishes the friendships she has made in Primarily Math and always looks forward to working together at course workshops and viewing the beneficial resources.

“The best part of Primarily Math, however, is seeing the differences it has made in my students’ math knowledge,” she said.