Recipients’ Experiences


Ivan Johnson photo“Whether a great teacher is born or made, Ivan you were one, and we are all the better for it.”
     —Tom O’Shea 2012  

“It is truly exciting for a dedicated teacher to get an opportunity to attend a major international education conference and attend sessions presented by dynamic mathematics educators. Ivan has left behind a sincere legacy. His example of generosity and commitment to the craft of teaching and to the BCAMT is typical of Ivan and will long be remembered.”
     —Ian deGroot  2013

“Ivan was always seeking the highest performance possible whether it was teaching, skiing or teaming with Mathematics educators.”
     —Phil Mendez 2013

Ivan Johnson was a past president of the BCAMT and a well-known leader in mathematics education.  He was a strong proponent of cooperative learning, innovative practice, and professional dialogue among colleagues.  In 1995 Ivan was recognized for his teaching skills and contributions to mathematics education by winning the Prime Minister’s Teaching Award for British Columbia.

Ivan passed away October 14, 2010 and in his will he bequeathed funding for the Ivan L. Johnson Memorial Award.   The recipient of this award will receive funding to cover the majority of the cost of attending the NCTM Annual Conference.  Ivan attended this conference several times and he wished others might experience the same opportunity.

Thank you Ivan.  Your kindness and professionalism live on.


It had always been a dream of mine to attend a NCTM annual conference, but the limitations of costs and time away from the classroom made it seem virtually impossible. Upon learning that I was the inaugural Ivan L. Johnson Award winner, I was ecstatic; my dream was about to become a reality. Compared to the triennial Northwest Math conferences in Whistler & Victoria that I have enjoyed over the years, the size of the NCTM conference was incredibly mind-blowing! With over 750 workshops to choose from, there was definitely something for everyone. And yes, there were plenty of resources. So much so, that I filled my entire suitcase with books, activities and manipulatives for my classroom. I met many individuals who continue to share their ideas and practices with me to this day. I have always believed in improving my teaching practice through pro-d and the NCTM conference lived up to my expectations. It was the best prod-d I have ever had. If attending an NCTM annual conference is something on your wish list, I strongly suggest you apply for the Ivan L. Johnson Award. It is a great opportunity to make the NCTM event become a reality for you too.


As the recipient of the Ivan L. Johnson Award, I have had the incredible honour of attending the 2014 NCTM Annual Conference in New Orleans. While I was anticipating that this would be an adventure, I could never have expected my experience to take the form of a journey on so many levels. The connections I’ve made to people and practice have had a lasting impact on who I am as a math educator.

It was quite a feeling to travel, stay, and explore with colleagues from my own District and Province. Having the time to engage in meaningful conversation around sessions we anticipated and experienced both together and independently continues to offer me the unique opportunity of deepening and extending my beliefs around mathematics education. During the Conference I connected with educators throughout North America and beyond, and I continue to stay in touch and share questions, ideas, and a common passion for teaching mathematics.

When I reflect back on the biggest impact the experience of attending the NCTM has had on my teaching, I can say that is has inspired me to look deeper at the concept of “mathematizing”. Although I’d had an introduction to the concept through different projects in my District, the opportunity to hear and speak with presenters who have so much experience supporting students in constructing their own meaning in mathematics has allowed me to build a greater understanding. I’m looking closely at my students’ needs and questioning my practice through a newer mathematical lens, and it is also shaping professional conversations with colleagues. I will continue to seek out opportunities for professional development in mathematics, but the chance to participate in the NCTM on behalf of Ivan’s legacy is one that will continue to define who I am as a math educator.


It was a complete thrill to learn that I was the recipient of the 2014 Ivan L. Johnson Memorial Award from the BCAMT. I was excited about the opportunity to immerse myself for a few days in thinking about the teaching of mathematics, as well as the chance to travel across the continent to Boston. The conference was even bigger than I imagined. Math was everywhere, and I was surrounded by people who wanted to share their joy of math, inspire others with it, and celebrate the passion they feel for teaching math. The sessions I attended continue to inspire the work I do with my students and colleagues, and I am determined to attend this year’s conference. I feel an enormous gratitude towards Ivan’s legacy and the BCAMT for this opportunity, and would strongly recommend that others look into applying for this award.