By Gracie Ozburn
Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor in the Baylor School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the E. Glenadine Gibb Achievement Award. The award honors a member of the Texas Council for Teachers of Mathematics for contributions to the improvement of mathematics education at the state and national level. Cooper received the award at the Conference for the Advancement of Math Teaching (CAMT) in San Antonio in the summer.
She was nominated by two Baylor colleagues — Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of mathematics education, and Dr. Ryann Shelton, PhD ’20, lecturer in Baylor’s online EdD in Learning & Organizational Change. The nomination lauded Cooper’s impact in the field, noting, “She is an outstanding colleague and offers significant leadership for the entire mathematics education community. She is an exemplary scholar, teacher, and leader.”
Wilkerson, who is now serving as interim chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, said, “It is an honor to work with [Cooper] in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, and her vision and leadership continue to move our department and the University forward.”
Wilkerson was the 2016 recipient of this award, which is named after Dr. E. Glenadine Gibb, former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and a leader in mathematics education in Texas. Wilkerson said that Gibb was known as a visionary and added, “I think that captures Dr. Cooper perfectly. She is a visionary!”
Wilkerson is currently serving as president of NCTM, of which TCTM is a state affiliate. Cooper has been a longtime member of both organizations and served as president of TCTM from 2017 to 2019. She was also president of the Central Texas affiliate in 2012-14.
Cooper received her PhD in mathematics education at Texas A&M University in 1994 and is professor of mathematics education, coordinator of mathematics education, and coordinator of the SOE’s minor in informal education. She was the founding program director of the online EdD in Learning & Organizational Change, Baylor’s largest doctoral program.
Cooper’s main research focus is related to early number development of children in PreK to second grade and the effectiveness of teachers who teach these early learners. She has applied her research to founding and leading the Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA), a summer intervention program launched in 2016 to provide positive learning experiences while developing early number concepts for children entering kindergarten and first grade. The MELA research team is currently developing a curriculum and assessments customized for early interventions.
In her acceptance speech at TCTM, Cooper spoke about how thankful she is for the recognition and for the hope and promise she saw in the roomful of mathematics educators.
“I am honored,” Cooper said. “I became a math teacher in 1985, and I have loved every minute of it. We all know we are facing a crisis in education right now. When I look out and see you, I have hope. You are here spending your time learning, and you’re going to go back and take this information to help your school grow. Thank you for what you are doing in your classrooms and schools. You are really the true champions, and I am honored to be a part of this profession.”
For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.