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Ruth Parker

Ruth Parker, co-founder and CEO of the Mathematics Education Collaborative, is a leadingRuth photo expert in working with parents and the public in support of quality mathematics education in schools. She is nationally known and highly respected as a mathematics educator, professional development leader and dynamic speaker. In addition, Ruth is the author of Mathematical Power: Lessons from A Classroom.

As a new teacher in 1971 on the Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington, Ruth was part of a federally-funded project to develop a model school for Native American children. She developed the math center and taught mathematics to all K-6 students, and remains deeply committed to eliminating opportunity gaps for historically underrepresented populations. Since 1985, she has directed state and local mathematics leadership efforts and has been Principal Investigator on a number of National Science Foundation grants.  

Dr. Parker co-founded the Mathematics Education Collaboration (MEC) in 1998 to help educators, parents and the public work in partnership to improve mathematics teaching and student learning. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Ruth and Patty Lofgren co-designed and implemented MEC’s community engagement model beginning in 1999, and worked with researchers who studied the impact of the model on district mathematics restructuring efforts.          

Ruth developed Teaching Mathematics for Understanding, MEC’s acclaimed series of 9-day mathematics content courses for K-20 educators.  She directed the committee that developed Supporting School Mathematics: How to Work with Parents and the Public (Heinemann, 2006), and co-authored the presenter’s guide for this series of six interactive workshops for parents that are used by mathematics education leaders throughout the country. 

Based on her extensive experience with mathematics leadership development, Ruth was interviewed extensively in 2007 for the report, Practice-Based Insights On Teacher Leadership, prepared for the Math and Science Partnership Knowledge Management and Dissemination Project (Horizon Research, Inc. and the Educational Development Center).

As a parent, teacher and professional development provider, Ruth’s work is grounded in the realities teachers and parents across the country face every day.

“Learning mathematics in the classroom setting that MEC courses model has inspired me to recognize and appreciate mathematics relationships in the real world, ask “why” and “how” questions and have confidence in my own ability to solve problems. I have greater appreciation for the power and beauty of mathematics.”  - Elementary Teacher 


"It was important to learn what and how my children are learning math."  - Parent, MEC Math Night

“As I continued to use MEC approaches, I’m seeing students find several ways to solve problems. They share with classmates and learn from each other. Not only are the lower students learning from the higher, but high students are also learning from students previously less successful with math.”  - 5th Grade Teacher