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Conference to Target Mathematics Education

Area school administrators will gather at SUNY Cortland Tuesday, Aug. 19, to participate in an interactive panel discussion as well as hands-on activities geared to foster effective approaches to teaching mathematics to kindergarten through the ninth grade.

During the conference participants will break for comedian Dan Viola who, as a husband and father of seven, connects with any audience, especially those willing to think “outside of the gutter.” He incorporates his myriad life experiences into smart, clean and razor-sharp comedy. 

Viola has worked his magic alongside Jon Stewart, Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon, Jay Pharoah of “Saturday Night Live,” Sam Kinison, Steven Wright and The Shirelles. The Rochester, N.Y.-based entertainer also hosted the comedy game show “The Battle of Wits.” Viola’s credits include appearances on The Nashville Network and in TV commercials.

The conference program, “Getting to the Core of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics,” is offered during the 2014 Francis J. Cheney Educational Leadership Summer Conference, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Sperry Center.

Dan Viola
Comedian Dan Viola will regale his audience with humor directly after lunch.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about implementing the modules in the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS),” said Kevin Mack M ’74, C.A.S. ’78, coordinator of the Educational Leadership Department in SUNY Cortland’s School of Education. “Every administrator had to deal with the modules through the ninth grade last year. This year, we’re asking administrators to bring teachers to the conference. As the school year is coming on soon, it’s a good time to have this conversation.”

Participants will address the following questions:

• What do schools do to successfully implement the CCLS/modules using a district-wide curriculum?

• How do schools incorporate the modules into the curriculum?

• How do leaders set teachers up for success in implementing CCLS?

• What are essential and guiding questions and how should educators use them in their teaching?

Sponsored by Louise M. Conley, Ph.D., and the Cortland College Foundation, the free conference is geared for all area school administrators, future administrators and students enrolled in SUNY Cortland’s Educational Leadership Department. The administrators are encouraged to bring with them their teachers of mathematics, kindergarten through ninth grade.

Participant registration is required to attend the conference. To register for the event, which includes lunch and refreshments, or to receive more information, contact the Educational Leadership Department by calling Gen Herrling at 607-753-2444 or by contacting Janice Eaton at 607-753-2447.

Gary Astles, the retired principal and a Board of Education member in the Trumansburg Central School District, will facilitate the panel discussions, which will spotlight specialists from many school districts across New York state and at SUNY Cortland.

The administrative panel will feature Jeffrey Evener ’02, M ’05, C.A.S. ’07, a principal at Lansing Middle School; Zane Mahar C.A.S. ’08, high school principal in the Sauquoit Valley Central district; Sara  Vakkas C.A.S. ’11, director of instruction for the Trumansburg district; and Stephen Dunham C.A.S. ’10, principal at West Genesee Middle School.

The planned teacher’s panel presentation will include Tracy Orr Durkee ’90, M ’95, a fifth grade teacher in the Homer Central district; Jackie Mack, a first grade teacher in the Cortland City district; Abbey Hadzicki Albright ’02, Mathematics Department chair for the Cortland City district and one of 35 participants in SUNY Cortland’s new Master Teacher Program; and Isaac Maslyn, special education teacher in the Cincinnatus Central district.

Then Denise Harvey Cook ’93, C.A.S. ’06, elementary principal in the Deposit Central district, and Kevin Mack will address the essential questions of the gathering.

The summer conference marks its sixth year as an annual event.

Kevin Mack, who chairs the Educational Leadership Department, works with an 11-member advisory board composed of regional school administrators to organize the one-day summer conference, arranged to encourage the free exchange of ideas in a small-group setting.

Named after Francis J. Cheney, who served as Cortland Normal School principal from 1891 until his death in 1912, the educational conference was created and funded by Cheney’s granddaughter, Louise M. Conley of Princeton, N.J. Conley chairs the Cortland College Foundation Board of Directors.

The conference’s mission is to create a learning community for educational leaders that enhances and supports the success of all students through ongoing professional development, refinement of leadership skills and networking.