School of Education
April 1, 2009
Graduate Pursues Interest in Educational Change Process in Mathematics
Dr. Valerie Henry received her B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Davis. Upon receiving California Teaching Credentials for both Multiple Subjects and Secondary Mathematics from UC Irvine, she spent 16 years teaching at the middle school level and at Concordia University and over ten years working with the California Math Project at UCI, the California Math Renaissance Project, PBS Math Online, and Irvine Unified School District math staff development.
During her time in the middle school mathematics classroom, Dr. Henry received numerous awards, including National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Mathematics, California State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching, and Teacher of the Year for Irvine Unified School District.
From her experiences as a teacher, mentor teacher, math and technology facilitator, coach, workshop leader, and lecturer, Dr. Henry developed an intense interest in issues surrounding the educational change process.
I saw how difficult educational change was, particularly in the area of mathematics education. I noticed the role quality textbooks, or the lack thereof, played in the difficulties math reform was experiencing. I came to believe that the effectiveness of staff development and educational reform depends on clear understanding of the interplay between textbooks, students, teachers, and parents. I also came to believe that the quality of research shared with teachers, and the methods used to share research with teachers, may directly impact the success of educational reform efforts.
Dr. Henry’s fascination with the educational change process encouraged her enrollment in the UCI/UCLA Joint Ed.D. in Educational Administration, where she pursued her interests in brain research, research in curriculum and instruction, community outreach, and effective staff development. For her dissertation, Investigating Mathematics Content Standard Quality: A Review of California’s High-Demand First Grade Basic Facts Expectations, she explored how teachers’ beliefs and practices were impacted by California’s new mathematics standards and how this impacted student achievement.
While pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Henry was an active member of the Department of Education, teaching mathematics education courses. Since receiving her doctorate, Dr. Henry has been a Lecturer in the Department, teaching mathematics education courses in the undergraduate, Credential, and MAT programs.
Dr. Henry’s current research interests include early diagnosis and intervention and response to intervention for mathematics; number sense and basic facts fluency; and algebra cognition and pedagogy.