Robert Q. Berry III Speaks at Annual Mathematics Education Lecture
Robert Q. Berry III discussed the research he conducted to understand black children’s mathematics experience.
Robert Q. Berry III
President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
On Monday Sept. 9, Hood College hosted Robert Q. Berry III, Ph.D., president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, at the 11th annual Mathematics Education Lecture. During his talk, Berry discussed the research he conducted to understand black children’s mathematics experience. This included the students’ mathematical identities and student agency. He also shared different learning strategies that will help students in the classroom.
“Based on my experience being a classroom teacher for nine years in a predominantly black school district in Virginia, and having the context of my experience there, I knew when I wanted to get my graduate degree that I wanted to understand how we can support black students to access mathematics,” said Berry.
Raised by a single mother, Berry states the women in his life, including family members and teachers, had a major impact in his personal life and educational life.
“My sixth-grade teacher, Edna Cherry, had a big impact on me in terms of my confidence,” Berry said. “The books she gave me allowed me to gain confidence. I also did a project in her class where she let me ‘tinker’ in trying to build a motor using a fan.”
He earned his Bachelor of Science at Old Dominion University. Soon after, he earned his master’s degree in mathematics at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. Finally, he earned his doctoral degree from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Berry was elected to the board of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2011 and remained on the board until 2014. In 2017, he was elected president of the Council. Founded in 1920, the Council’s mission is to advocate for high-quality mathematics teaching and learning for every student.
Currently, Berry is a mathematics professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“My advice to students is to persevere,” said Berry. “We all have ups and downs, peaks and valleys. No matter what, we should persevere.”