The Presidential Award is a tremendous honor. It validates my deep belief that my students are not only capable of complex mathematical thinking, but that this process is inherently satisfying for them as well. Given the opportunity to solve problems in their own way, make connections, find patterns, and discuss their thinking, children will develop a lifelong passion for and ability in mathematics. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues who have supported and encouraged me on this journey.
Deborah Halperin taught at Laurelhurst Elementary for 16 years. She currently teaches a second and third grade class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
Deborah first developed a deep curiosity about mathematics education while teaching in a one-room elementary school that she founded. For the next 20 years, she investigated and studied the development of logical thinking in children, using her classroom as a research laboratory.
Deborah inspires her students to think deeply about mathematics. She teaches through posing questions, using objects, and facilitating mathematical conversations. Deborah fosters a love of logical thinking, a passion for learning, and above all, intellectual autonomy.
Deborah served as a teacher leader in the Expanding the Community of Math Learners project, a collaborative venture of the University of Washington and local school districts. She facilitated professional development classes in which she guided teachers to better understand their students' thinking and to facilitate mathematical conversations.
As a mathematics specialist, Deborah initiated monthly Family Math Nights and a weekly Origami Club at her school. Parents at her school routinely applaud her skill and enthusiasm.
Deborah has a B.A. in social ecology from Pitzer College and a M.A. in human development from Pacific Oaks College.