Sarah Stecher is driven. Born in Germany, Sarah's journey has taken her to the University of Michigan, East Kentwood High School, Calc Medic and Math Medic, and as a fellow in Stanford University's Hollyhock Fellowship Program, a research-based professional development program aimed at fostering equitable learning opportunities for all students. She's passionate about making learning accessible and engaging for all students.
Sarah is the Secretary of the Board of Directors. Below is an interview we recently conducted.
Math Medic Foundation (MMF): What is your favorite part about your job?
Sarah: I love seeing students interact with the resources and hearing from other teachers about the effect of these lessons on their classroom culture. I also get to work with excellent colleagues whose collaboration I highly value.
MMF: Why were you interested in becoming involved in Math Medic Foundation?
Sarah: Making math education more equitable has always been a huge passion of mine. I want to change how students experience math class and make rich instruction more accessible to students in all school contexts.
MMF: Did you always want to be involved in education?
Sarah: I got my first teaching job right after graduating college. During high school and college I did a lot of tutoring and baby-sitting. I've wanted to be a teacher since 1st grade, although I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher for many years.
MMF: What is a work experience that you are most proud of?
Sarah: Having the opportunity to speak at the California Mathematics Council conference was a huge honor. I so enjoy getting to learn from other speakers and to see attendees also show up for my session was the icing on the cake. Meeting teachers from across the country and getting to share the math lessons we've created is a delight.
MMF: What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
Sarah: I love being outside, taking walks or running, being on the beach, canoeing, all the warm-weather activities. I also love baking and reading.
MMF: Where might we find you on the weekend?
Sarah: Farmer's market, the beach, having friends over for dinner
MMF: Tell us about your family.
Sarah: I have two older siblings; one lives in Chicago and the other lives in Germany. My parents currently live in Georgia and all my extended family is in Germany. Family reunions are less common but it's always nice when we get to be in the same time zone again.
MMF: What’s a book you’ve read recently or a podcast you enjoy listening to that you’d recommend to others?
Sarah: I recently discovered podcasts during the pandemic. My favorite ones are Making Math Moments that Matter, The Lazy Genius with Kendra Adachi, and She Reads Truth.
(Sarah was recently interviewed on the Making Math Moments that Matter podcast. You can listen to that episode here.)
MMF: What's a fact about you that not a lot of people know?
Sarah: I lead a handbell choir at my church. I love that it uses a different part of my brain than my job and it's fun working on a challenging piece of music.
MMF: Who inspires you? Why?
Sarah: I'm most inspired by trailblazers in the math education sphere, people like Deborah Ball, Jo Boaler, and Ilana Horn. Their vision for what math education could look like is so inspiring and reading about the work they've done is always a joy. Watching Deborah Ball teach at the Elementary Math Lab put on by the University of Michigan was one of the most defining moments of my professional life.
MMF: What's your favorite show to binge watch?
Sarah: Great British Baking Show (or Grey's Anatomy)
MMF: What's something you're really bad at?
Sarah: Drawing; every animal I have to draw looks the same (potato and four stick legs)
MMF: Favorite sport(s) and/or favorite team(s)?
Sarah: Soccer/ German national team and FC Bayern München
MMF: What's your favorite movie?
Sarah: Dan in Real Life
MMF: What else should we know about you?
Sarah: I have been accused of being a pretzel snob. They're one of my absolute favorite foods and with that comes some very particular ideas about what makes a great pretzel. I have yet to find ones that parallel the ones in the German bakeries.