I am humbled by this recognition as it takes a community to cultivate a compassionate and effective teacher. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by colleagues who are willing to support my efforts to engage students in meaningful mathematics, help me take many risks in my practice and provided me ample feedback. I strive to create an environment for my students where my growth as a teacher is transparent, and there is a culture where all students view themselves as mathematicians.

Heather Vonada Woodstock, VT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Heather Vonada has taught mathematics at Woodstock Union High School for 15 years. She currently teaches Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Precalculus to 8-12th-graders. Heather's students would describe her as overly enthusiastic about mathematics. She greets students at the door, uses engaging strategies, and has high expectations for all her students. Students are challenged to justify their thinking and interact with others during structured mathematics talks. In her school, Heather has been the Department Chair for seven years. Her leadership skills have moved the mathematics department forward and has made mathematics classes more equitable for all students. Her department is part of the Teachers Development Group that provides professional development. Heather is also part of the Better Math Teaching Network which focuses on teachers improving their practice to engage more students in Algebra 1. Heather has presented about student engagement in algebra at the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference and another presentation about her journey in justification at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference. Heather earned a B.S., cum laude, in mathematics from Saint Michael's College and a M.S., summa cum laude, in educational administration from the University of Scranton. She is certified in secondary education mathematics.