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Round Hill Teacher Awarded Math Educator of the Year

Shirley Fortenbaugh, a gifted resource teacher at Round Hill Elementary School, has been awarded the 2024 William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year award from the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM). Each year, VCTM recognizes a classroom teacher from each level of instruction, elementary, middle, secondary, university and math specialists/coaches, for their outstanding work in the field of mathematics. In addition to teaching experience, nominees must have also made notable accomplishments in teaching mathematics.

In her role as a gifted resource teacher, Fortenbaugh teaches math to 4th and 5th grade students as part of Loudoun County Public School’s (LCPS) Differentiated Classroom Instruction program. She also supports math education in kindergarten through grade 3. In addition to providing instruction to gifted and talented learners, Fortenbaugh supports the professional development of her fellow teachers so that each student can be better served.

When not in the classroom, Fortenbaugh conducts scholarly research on the instruction of mathematics and presents at state, national and international conferences. She has also been published in mathematical journals. Her most recent article, published in the Journal for the International Group for Mathematical Creativity and Giftedness, focused on how integrating computer science into math classes can increase creativity.  

In his recommendation, former Round Hill principal and current LCPS Executive Principal Andrew Davis wrote, “Shirley’s knowledge of mathematics as it relates to how students build mathematical frameworks and skills is unmatched. She is a talented educator who plans and implements lessons that are engaging, active and challenge students to apply what they are learning in authentic and meaningful ways.”

Fortenbaugh, who has been a teacher for 25 years, with 16 of those years in LCPS and eight years at Round Hill Elementary, said that she enjoys every aspect of being a math teacher. “I enjoy teaching math through problem-based instruction and watching children discover and have those ah-ha moments. I enjoy seeing them work through difficult problems and have that feeling of satisfaction. I enjoy seeing them grow in their own understanding. Math truly is a subject of wonder and creativity.”

Fortenbaugh will be formally recognized for her work at the 2024 annual VCTM conference in Williamsburg, VA in June.

Published April 22, 2024