Executive and Committee Members
President and Newsletter Editor
Deanna Brajcich started her career in 1994 teaching grade 9/10 Math and French. She gradually changed grades and schools to find herself teaching grade 5! In addition to working with students, she enjoys working with adult learners. She was a Numeracy Coordinator mentoring teachers, she is a member of the Island Numeracy Network on Vancouver Island, and she has worked on mathematics initiatives with the Ministry of Education. She designs and facilitates Advanced ELL programs for Foreign English teachers at the University of Victoria and in China. She is also a Queen’s University online instructor in Elementary Mathematics and ELL.
Deanna’s life also centres around her husband and her two teenage boys and spends her time following them around to practices and games. She enjoys many different fitness activities, such as running and yoga, but also likes to relax in solitude with a book.
Susan Robinson has spent her career teaching on islands in the Pacific Ocean, finally landing with her family on Salt Spring Island in 2007. She loves being surrounded by the energy and chaos of teenagers as she helps them navigate the tension between confusion and understanding. Susan completed a Masters in Arts Education from SFU, which helped her to bring creativity into her mathematics classes and mathematics into her artistic endeavours. Susan shares editor-ship of Vector with Sean Chorney, and looks for any opportunity to swim in the ocean.
Michael Pruner is a high school mathematics teacher from North Vancouver, BC and the past president of the BC Association of Mathematics Teachers. Michael recently completed his masters degree from SFU in mathematics education and is now working on his PhD in the same department. Michael is an advocate for teaching in the Thinking Classroom model, and believes that mathematics is a social endeavour best learned through collaborative activity in rich tasks. Through the BCAMT, Michael has had the privilege of visiting classrooms all across BC sharing his experience and knowledge of developing and maintaining Thinking Classrooms.
Outside of teaching mathematics, Michael likes to spend time outdoors with his family cycling, skiing, and camping.
Colin McLellan moved to Vancouver from Alberta in 2004, graduated from the UBC Teacher Education Program in 2006, and has been teaching at McNair Secondary in Richmond ever since. He is constantly reflecting on and changing his practices in the pursuit of something just a little bit better. Although this makes a lot of work for him, he strongly believes that the day he stops changing things is the day he needs to stop teaching. He joined the BCAMT executive in 2008 and has been secretary since 2011. He and his wife, who is also a math teacher, have two young kids who love to count stuff!
Jen Carter is a Numeracy Coordinator for Vernon School District and an instructor for UBC Okanagan. As a prior elementary teacher and administrator, Jen had a deep curiosity about the discomfort students and teachers felt around mathematics. This personal inquiry led to her current “passion” and role working alongside teachers to explore and rethink what mathematics education currently is, and the possibilities of what it can be for students.
Outside of her work in schools, Jen can be found taking classes at a local pottery studio, enjoying the outdoors in the beautiful Okanagan, or paddleboarding at her cottage on Shuswap Lake.
Sean Chorney taught high school mathematics for 20 years in Vancouver. He is now an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University. He enjoys working with mathematics teachers at the university, sharing his experience and lending support where he can. Sean shares editorial-ship of Vector with Susan Robinson. His hobbies include jazz guitar and tennis.
See bio above
NCTM and NCSM Representative
Marc Garneau is a Numeracy Helping Teacher for the Surrey School District, in which capacity he supports the teaching, learning, and assessing of mathematics across grades K-12. No matter what grade or concept, Marc likes to bring the lens, “Who’s Doing the Math?” to the learning experiences. In addition to the BCAMT Executive, Marc has also served as a member of the K-12 BC Math Curriculum Committee, and was the Canadian Regional Director for the NCSM (math-ed leadership organization) from 2015-2018.
Marc’s greatest source of professional development comes through engaging in the blogs and tweets of the #MTBOS (Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere). Marc’s hobbies include some TV and movies, and any activity that will take him into the beautiful nature of BC. Oh, and beer, Marc likes beer–the darker the better. Marc has four daughters, who in addition to being a lot smarter than he was at their age, are also inspiring through their music and dance. Although, Marc has been known to break into Irish dancing during social events.
Adam Fox is a kindergarten teacher in North Vancouver. He recently completed a Master of Education Curriculum & Instruction: Numeracy at SFU, and tends to say “maths” not “math.” He has a degree in computer science and in a previous life he was an IT consultant. When he is not “herding cats” he can be found attempting to play football (soccer, eh!) or ski on the local mountains.
Debbie Nelson: “Math was too much answer-time and not enough learning-time.” A six-year-old’s response to why he didn’t like math was enough to spur Debbie Nelson’s pursuit of continued mathematics professional development. She completed her Master’s through SFU with a thesis titled: Learning from Learners.
Debbie’s great passion is being available for learning alongside adults and students through her role as Curriculum Support Teacher K-7 in the beautiful Comox Valley. She aspires to help children, adults and families find healthy perceptions of themselves as mathematicians, and views mathematics lessons as a great “learning time.”
Alex Sabell has been an elementary school teacher in the Surrey School District since 2010 during which time she earned a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on numeracy. This fostered Alex’s passion for mathematics which is now an integral part of her teaching practice. She strives to provide learning opportunities for students that change the way they see and experience math. Alex believes in creating a caring, collaborative learning environment for her students that promotes the building of concepts through exploration and discovery. Her teaching methods have the goal of creating curious, confident and enthusiastic learners. In 2018, Alex received the Outstanding Elementary Teacher Award, as well as the Ivan. L Johnson Memorial Award. As a professional, she is always striving to improve her practice and believes in the power of collaboration among colleagues.
Outside of work, Alex enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. As well, she has been a Big Sister for over 12 years and spends part of her summer volunteering at a youth camp. She loves to run, play ultimate and read.
Ron Coleborn graduated with a Physics degree in 1988 and then worked for four years as a geophysicist. He decided to try teaching for a year or two and has never looked back. He was hired as a mathematics teacher in Burnaby and joined the BCAMT Executive early in his career thanks to his teaching mentor, Ivan Johnson. Ivan played a key role in shaping Ron’s thoughts around education.
Outside of work, Ron has a teenage daughter who continues to keep his wife and him busy–in a good way. Ron currently teaches in Surrey and is really enjoying working with students from grade 8-12.
Josh Giesbrecht teaches math and digital media arts at Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts. He has a background in computer engineering, programming, and game development.
Josh enjoys being a bad influence on his three boys by playing video games with them. He also like to dabble in things like digital visual art, playing guitar, writing, and continuing to mess around with coding small fun things. Having grown up in Manitoba, Josh is bound by law to never complain about the weather in the Lower Mainland.
Chris Hunter has been teaching in Surrey for more than twenty years. Currently a numeracy helping teacher, formerly a high school math teacher and department head, Chris collaboratively works with–and learns from–teachers of mathematics from Kindergarten to Calculus; it is his privilege to be invited to teach in many different classrooms throughout Surrey. Chris is passionate about designing experiences that engage learners in mathematical problem solving, reasoning, and communication. Chris is also an active member of the “MathTwitterBlogoSphere,” an online community of math educators; he tweets at @ChrisHunter36 and blogs at reflectionsinthewhy.wordpress.com. Outside of the classroom, Chris enjoys spending time with his family; he and his wife—a Grade 1 teacher—are parents of two young mathematicians.
Minnie Liu is a mathematics teacher in the Vancouver School District. She is trained in chemistry, biology, and mathematics but mathematics has always been closest to her heart. Minnie is also a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University. She currently focuses on using a variety of activities to build a thinking classroom and to promote her students’ numeracy skills. Minnie enjoys hanging out with friends and family, coffee and dessert dates, cooking, and practising yoga. Oh, and retail therapy.
Amanda Russett is in her seventh year as the Numeracy Coordinator for School District 73 (Kamloops/Thompson). She really enjoys collaborating with teachers, not just in math class, but also through project-based learning. Prior to this role, Amanda taught Mathematics 9-12. In her spare time Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband, Chad and their children Blake and Danica. She also enjoys curling through the winter and spending time on Shuswap lake in the summer.
Dr. Peter Liljedahl is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Peter is a former high school mathematics teacher who has kept his research interest and activities close to the classroom. He consults regularly with teachers, schools, school districts, and ministries of education on issues of teaching and learning, thinking classrooms, assessment, and numeracy.
Independent Schools Representatives
Darien Allan began her teaching career at New Westminster Secondary, teaching all ranges of secondary mathematics courses and in the International Baccalaureate program. After 12 years with the district, she moved closer to home and now teaches at an independent school in West Vancouver.
Richard DeMerchant worked in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Alberta before settling in British Columbia. While he has spent the majority of his career as a classroom teacher he has also worked as a mathematics, science and technology coordinator at the provincial and territorial levels as well as a vice principal. Richard is currently teaching grades 6-8 at St Michaels University School in Victoria and serves as the Independent School Representative for the BCAMT.
Richard spends his free time supporting his son as a Scouter and with his sports activities. He enjoys many different outdoor activities including geocaching, kayaking, and hiking.