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900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

For Immediate Release (01-63)
Date: November 16, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970
Montgomery College Professor Named 
Math Teacher of the Year 

Montgomery College Professor Thomas Sonnabend has been named Maryland College Mathematics Teacher of the Year for 2001 by the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM).

“This is the first award I’ve received,” said Sonnabend.  “It makes me feel good to know that other people appreciate me and that I’m doing a good job.”
 Sonnabend was cited for the stimulating and engaging methods he uses in motivating students to make mathematical discoveries on their own and to get them thinking about math applications in the real world.  For instance, he uses a toy cell phone to have imaginary conversations with imaginary people who ask for help in solving real-life math problem.

Deborah Poese, chair of the Rockville Mathematics Department and Sonnabend’s nominator, says Sonnabend is intimately involved in the College’s assessment programs that place students in the appropriate math courses. “We couldn’t do it if he weren’t involved,” she said.

Plus, says Poese, “he’s always looking for what’s out there in terms of research, talking to people, finding out what’s going on in our area and letting everybody know about it.”

Sonnabend plays a critical role in coordinating and teaching math courses to elementary and secondary school teachers, an area in which community colleges are playing a greater role. He also is a frequent speaker at national math conferences.

Of his position at Montgomery College, Sonnabend says, “this is a good math department with a lot of people with considerable experience. There’s a real sense of community and working as a group; it’s really exceptional.”

Sonnabend lives in Rockville and has taught at Montgomery College for 16 years. He is the author of the classic textbook, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: An Interactive Approach, which soon will appear in a third addition.

He received the Maryland College Mathematics Teacher of the Year award at an October MCTM ceremony in Columbia.

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