Montana Council of Teachers

of Mathematics

2022 Dean Preble Award Winner

Ms. Hilary Risser

Every year, the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) recognizes the significant contributions made by one of its members through the Dean Prebble Memorial Award.  The award is named in honor of Dean Prebble who made significant contributions to the council before passing away from cancer in the fall of 1998.  This year the award was given to Hilary Risser at the annual general meeting and luncheon held at the Montana Federation of Professional Employees (MFPE) Educators’ Conference in Helena, MT on October 20, 2022.  

Hilary Risser joined the faculty at Montana Technological University in 2008.  As a member of the department, she regularly teaches a wide variety of mathematics courses ranging from Calculus to Modern Geometry to History of Mathematics to Numerical Computing for Engineering and Science. She is the only faculty member at Montana Tech with a research interest in mathematics education, making her an essential member of a department that educates many of Montana’s future mathematics teachers.  Her research interests include the use of technology in the teaching of mathematics, teacher online social networks, mentoring, and the use of technology in professional development.  She has a strong record of collaboration, working with over 20 different mathematics education researchers from around the world.  Her work is published in many research outlets including well-known journals, book chapters, and compendiums.  She shares the results of her work publically in presentations and talks given around the state of Montana as well as at national and international conferences.  She currently serves as the chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montana Tech.

Shortly after joining the faculty at Montana Tech, Hilary joined MCTM.  In 2012, Hilary won the election to the board of directors.  In 2016 she was elected President of the council. During her tenure as a board member and president, she made significant contributions.  She organized new Professional Development Academies (PDAs) that introduced the Common Core Mathematical Practices to teachers across the state over several years. She was instrumental in starting the Montana Math Meet (MCubed) which is now held every summer in Butte on the Montana Tech campus.  Hilary’s leadership also brought the council into the 21st Century (maybe a little late) by instituting the use of digital communication tools and cloud-based file repositories.  She replaced the bi-annual newsletter with the MCTM Blog, enabling timelier communication.  Her efforts supporting the work of the council continues.  She serves as the MCTM Regional Math Contest director for Butte and she serves on the MCubed committee.

Hilary’s record makes it clear that she has made strong contributions to the teaching-and-learning of mathematics in Montana.  Further, she has a strong record as an active and influential member of the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  We are happy to award her the highest honor of our council, the Dean Prebble Award; we can think of no one more deserving of this honor.  

2022 Karen Longhart Scholarship Award Winner

Mr. Jake Warner

Thank you MCTM for the Karen Longhart Scholarship! I used this scholarship to pay for the Maintenance of Certification for my National Board Certification.

So what is National Board Certification anyways? The National Education Association defines National Board Certification as “a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. NBC has national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The National Board certifies teachers who successfully complete its rigorous certification process.” You can get certified in almost any content area, MCTM members are probably

interested in certifying in Early Adolescence Mathematics, Adolescence, and Young Adulthood Mathematics, or as an Early Childhood Generalist.

Why should a teacher get certified? I can honestly say getting certified made me a better teacher. The certification process covers many aspects of teaching. I was able to see where I wasn’t meeting the criteria and change my practice (for the better) to reach certification. You also stand to earn a higher salary by getting certified. Many schools offer stipends or increased salaries. The state will match the school’s stipend by $1000 or $2000 depending on your school’s rurality and poverty levels.

What does a teacher have to do to get certified? The certification process consists of 4 components covering content knowledge, differentiation, classroom environment, use of assessment data, teacher collaboration, and other topics. You must submit a video, artifacts of student work, and write about your teaching. You can get certified in as little as 1 year, or as many as 5 years. If you don’t score well on any component, you can retake that component.

How much does it cost? Each year there is a $75 registration fee, and each component costs $475. If you certify in one year the total cost is $1,975.

How do I get started? While it isn’t required, I highly recommend taking MFPE’s Jumpstart training. The instructions for applying are in PDF form and can be hard to understand. At the MFPE training, they walk you through the process and explain what is required from each component. Every year Jumpstart is offered in person and virtually.

Find more information about MFPE support here:

Find more information about National Board Certification here:

Thanks again MCTM for the support, I love being in such a great organization!

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