This year, TCTM is pleased to honor Vodene Schultz for her leadership across the state of Texas.
Vodene Schultz started her teaching career in Carlsbad, NM in 1962 beginning with middle school mathematics. Next in the progression was a move to High School Mathematics when a shortage of math teachers led to any certified math teacher being required to move to high school for accreditation purposes. She had to learn to be a good teacher and made her own manipulatives (there were none to be bought) and tried different strategies to ensure that the students understood mathematics. During those years she was active in the New Mexico Council of Teachers of Mathematics, becoming president of the group. Being active in the National Education Association as well led to a term as the New Mexico President which gave her the opportunity to continue to push for good mathematics education. Upon completing that elected position she moved to teach in the El Paso area. First in a private school for three years, then she was recruited to become the math/science specialist at Canutillo ISD. From Canutillo she went to UT-El Paso with the first Urban Systemic Initiative to work with math/science specialists. The focus was on improving elementary teachers content and pedagogy knowledge about math and science. We believed that improvement in elementary math and science would then lead to an improvement in middle and finally high school achievement in math and science.
The superintendent of El Paso ISD then asked Vodene to work in his district to continue the work of improving math education. Choosing to work with elementary teachers helped Vodene understand the challenges in the elementary grades and work for solutions to help the school teach mathematics for understanding. During this time she remained active in the Greater El Paso Area Council, serving as chair of the regional conference in El Paso. She also served on the NCTM materials committee helping to decide on what type of publications to promote. As a sideline to her career in the public schools, she usually taught a math course at either the community college or at UT-El Paso. After her retirement in 2005, she continued to teach a couple of classes for UT-El Paso, usually math methods classes for either middle or elementary teachers.