Local math teachers win national award


Two local math teachers recently found out they won Edyth May Sliffe Awards, which recognize distinguished math teaching in middle school and high school.

Abby Brown
(Courtesy of Abby Brown)

Abby Brown, who teaches at Torrey Pines High School, and Brian Shay, who teaches at Canyon Crest Academy, both also received the award previously. This year they were two of 22 teachers from across the country who received the award, which is issued by the Mathematical Association of America through its American Mathematics Competitions. Students nominate their teachers.

Brian Shay
(Andy King)

“The fact that the kids took time out of their lives to acknowledge me and put my name forward is really touching and sweet,” said Shay, who has been a teacher for about 20 years, including the last 17 at CCA.

According to the Mathematical Association of America, there are about 300,000 middle school and high school students throughout the country who participate in the math competitions. The organization’s mission, according to its website, is to increase students’ interest in math and help them develop their problem-solving skills.

“It was kind of fun to get the award,” said Brown, who started teaching at Torrey Pines in 1999, seven years after graduating from the school, and took over the math club a few years after that. “I think of it as kind of a thank you for the work that I put in to help organize math club activities.”

Michael Pearson, executive director of the Mathematical Association of America, said in a statement that this year’s winners have shown a lot of dedication in their teaching.

“The hours spent preparing students for and organizing MAA American Mathematics Competitions demonstrates a passion for helping the next generation understand the importance of mathematics in shaping our world,” he said.