Mr. Vern Williams

Mr. Vern Williams

H. W. Longfellow Middle School
Falls Church, Virginia

I received a BS in math education from The University of Maryland. I have taught math in The Fairfax County Public School system for over thirty years and I have taught in the gifted and talented program for over twenty-five years.I was the 1990 Fairfax County Public Schools teacher of the year and I received two awards for distinguished teaching from the Mathematical Association of America. I was a Mathcounts coach for fourteen years and my teams received regional, state, and national awards. I developed the Honors Math curriculum for Fairfax County and taught its content to selected teachers. I also developed the curriculum for the combination algebra/geometry course where two high school math courses are taught in one year and two credits are awarded. From 1994-2000, I taught Math Reasoning for The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program. In 2006, I started Math Enrichment Services LLC, a company which provides math enrichment for gifted upper elementary and middle school students, and I was appointed to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. My special interest is teaching traditional and rigorous mathematics to gifted middle school students. I currently teach math at Longfellow Middle School in the McLean area of Fairfax County.

Who was your favorite teacher?

This is indeed a very tough question for me. As a group, my junior high school teachers were spectacular and to this day, I attempt to teach my middle school students the way that they taught me. They knew their subjects, set very high standards for their students and themselves, and above all they treated us as young adults. Madame Poore (French 1) and Mrs. Chandler (Algebra 1) were representative of that amazing group. There was one other teacher whom I admire to this day. Stephen Fisher my high school Modern European History teacher taught more than history, he taught me to truly love learning.

What are three things a teacher should own? A great sense of humor A really cool vanity license plate A skateboard (for getting around and keeping you on the young side)

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?

Ray Simon, former Deputy Secretary of Education. He would be over qualified but during the last two years when I served with him on the National Math Panel, he was the ultimate role model for all of us in the field of education.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?

A research mathematician but first I would need to find a few more brain cells. Describe your all-time favorite lesson/unit activity. I present a lesson each year on the different levels of infinity. It’s part of a set theory unit that I teach to seventh graders. It opens up a whole new world of strange math to them and they love entering said world.

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