Graduate Faculty Focus | Christy Graybeal
“I am very enthusiastic and passionate about math. I feel like I get the best of both worlds by helping teachers and instructing students. By working with teachers, I am hopefully impacting their students as well.”
Christy Graybeal, Ph.D.
- Mathematics Instructional Leadership (M.S.)
- Mathematics Education (M.S., Certificate)
Hood College held a math education event hosted by Christy Graybeal, Ph.D., on February 6. The event, called “Making Math Make Sense,” showcased interactive exercises and activities used to help students ease into understanding the topic.
Ming Tomayko, Ph.D., a professor at Towson University, invited by Graybeal, who discussed her desire to break the stigma around mathematics. Anyone can be a “math person,” she said. It is important to get students talking about math casually, let them make and learn from mistakes, and build their self-confidence.
Around 40 guests registered for the event, and participants engaged with the problem-solving tasks that Tomayko had constructed for her students. She noted that, from her experience, the tasks were more effective for learning than a typical worksheet of math problems.
Could you briefly describe your education and career background?
I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, though I initially considered being a German teacher. I went to Moravian University, where I had some great math instructors. I double majored in elementary education and math.
From there, I went on to teach middle school math at Montgomery County Public Schools for multiple years. While teaching, I pursued and obtained a master’s in mathematics from American University in 2002. I applied for a few graduate programs while working toward my doctorate at the University of Maryland College Park, which I finished in August 2008.
What drew you to Hood College? How long have you worked here?
I was very lucky to be hired by Hood College, as it was the only job that I applied for while studying. I appreciated the similarities Moravian had with Hood, as it felt like home for me.
I was hired by Hood in fall 2007 and started in summer 2008. I was originally hired in the education department, but I became heavily involved in Hood’s new math department. I eventually got a joint appointment with education and mathematics.
What is it like working in Math Education?
I love it! I am very enthusiastic and passionate about math. I feel like I get the best of both worlds by helping teachers and instructing students. By working with teachers, I am hopefully impacting their students as well.
What is the Mathematics Education Dine and Discuss event? How long has it been going on?
It is an event for anyone interested in math education. It is an interactive presentation with hands-on activities, food and opportunities to talk and discuss what we have learned. The goal is to make mathematics more accessible and understandable.
This is the 12th math education lecture we have had at Hood. We started in 2009 and continued it each year until 2019. The pandemic prevented us from holding it in 2020 and 2021. We’re excited to have it back in person! Ming Tomayko, a Towson University professor, will be talking about how to cultivate a growth mindset and make sense of mathematics. We went to University of Maryland College Park together.
About 40 people have registered to go to the event on Monday. Most of the people coming are current teachers from the area. Hood College is co-sponsoring it with the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Are there any success stories with your work that you would like to share?
I was the founding president of the Association of Maryland Mathematics Teacher Educators in 2011 to 2013. I wanted to have a group of fellow teachers to share ideas, syllabi and struggles with.
In 2016, I was on sabbatical leave and worked with three teachers in Frederick County to foster curiosity in their students. Two of them were my former students at Hood who had gone on to teach. The videos made during that time are available for free, and they still get visits to this day. This is my sixth year as the chairman of the Hood College Education Department. I feel like I have made a difference, especially in my role as the co-chair of Maryland Deans and Directors of Teacher Education.
I will be doing similar sabbatical work next year to help teachers in Frederick County foster curiosity in math. The idea is to help with discourse and how students talk about math to each other.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work in education?
My biggest goal is to have every person see oneself as a math person. You just have to do the math and work at it.
Would you like to share any fun facts about yourself?
One of my biggest life accomplishments is that I read the entire Harry Potter series aloud to my youngest son.
I had two children while studying full time for my doctorate. When I started at Hood, I had a two-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old. I had my third child in 2010 while I was here. My oldest is a girl, and I have two boys.
Inspired by Professor Graybeal’s experiences or the math education presentation? Ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn more about Hood College’s graduate programs, including the mathematics education M.S., by clicking here.