This past Friday, October 16th, Cynthia Stecher, past Coordinator of Teacher Certification for the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Northern Illinois University, was awarded the first ever Fred Flener Award: Engaging Students in Math Beyond the Classroom by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics at their 60th annual conference in Peoria, Illinois. This award was presented to Cindy for her leadership in creating and improving opportunities for students to explore mathematics outside of the classroom.
Cindy Stecher has had an enormous impact upon mathematics education at the national, state and university levels. Since 1994, Cindy Stecher has guided, nurtured, and mentored 297 undergraduates to becoming secondary mathematics teachers. As NIU is one of the three largest secondary mathematics education programs in the country, Cindy may well have had the most influence upon the teaching of high school mathematics of any one individual.
Cindy's university responsibilities included teaching the department's clinical experience courses, the secondary mathematics methods course, and the student teaching seminars each semester. She coordinated the student teaching with the classroom teacher, the university student, and the university supervisor. For each senior, she coordinated, evaluated, and certified the student's fulfillment of the mathematics department requirements, university graduation requirements, and state certification requirements.
In 2005 Cindy Stecher was presented with the University's Excellence in Teaching Award. This past spring, Cindy retired from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Northern Illinois University. As our NIU mathematics graduates have excellent teachers retention rates, Cindys impact will live on in the lives she has touched for the next 30 to 40 years.
Alan Zollman, October 2009