Tiffany Tynes Curry
When Tiffany Tynes Curry attended a morning assembly at Weinland Park Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, in January, the third-grade math and science teacher expected to discuss a new approach to reading. Instead, she was surprised with the Milken Educator Award for her contributions to the personal development of students and teachers alike. The honor, which comes with a $25,000 prize, was presented by Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo A. DeMaria, and Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Good.
“Talk about shocked,” Tynes Curry says with a laugh. “I am so humbled to receive this award, particularly because it highlights math and science this year.”
Tynes Curry, a Doctor of Education (EdD) student at Walden University, is among up to 35 honorees who will receive this national recognition for the 2016–17 school year. She was selected specifically for her teaching style. In her classroom, students aren’t simply learning math; they are learning how to become mathematicians who develop their own theories. In each lesson, she strives to create a culture where children believe in their abilities to discuss and solve problems, which leads them to more easily explain their mathematical reasoning and answer questions from their peers.
“As a facilitator, I ask questions to make connections to their thoughts,” she says. “I ask my class to listen for understanding and then ask questions. I focus on strategy. It’s not extravagant; it’s just a different approach.”
Tynes Curry relies heavily on data to understand exactly where each student sits on the learning continuum. As a Walden doctoral student, she is as passionate about continuing her own education.
“I’m pursuing my doctorate because I want to be able to communicate the value of having specialized elementary school teachers,” she says. “We need to teach students how to think. If you’re taught how to think, you’ll be able to make connections to anything, which can lead to a lifetime of success.”