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TNTP Re-imagine Teaching

Kelly Zunkiewicz

9th-12th Grade Precalculus and AP Calculus, Earl J. Lennard High School Ruskin, FL

An Ohio native, Kelly Zunkiewicz teaches Precalculus and AP Calculus at Lennard High School in Hillsborough County, FL. Opened in 2006 to relieve overcrowding at a nearby school, Lennard is the smallest high school in the district, yet still serves nearly 2,000 students, 75% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch. Kelly has taught at Lennard High since its second year and is now both a classroom teacher and math coach.

As the school has grown, so has Kelly’s teaching practice. She is voracious in improving her own practice, visiting classrooms outside of her own area – like JROTC – in search of new ideas and strategies. In her own classroom, she uses student autobiographies, surveys and conversations to inform her every decision, which has helped to propel her students to make astounding gains. In her first year teaching AP Calculus, the exam pass rate was 11%, and over a five year period she increased that rate to 80%. More recently, this year her students have already earned a 93% average on their winter benchmark exam, beating out every one of the other 26 schools in Hillsborough County, which average 73%. Perhaps one of Kelly’s proudest accomplishments, however, has been increasing the number of female students taking her AP Calculus class from two to now more than half the students in the class.

Kelly’s impressive results stem from the power of her planning and ability to develop relationships with her students while holding them to high expectations. Her TNTP classroom observer noted, “Kelly is masterful at diagnosing student understanding through formal and informal checks, and she asks excellent questions while never giving away an answer. It’s clear she always knows what her students know and don’t know, and she focuses her lessons on pushing for full understanding.”

Kelly has earned impressive accolades, including being named Teacher of the Year for her school, Mathematics Teacher of the Year for Hillsborough County, and serving as a representative for the Measures of Effective Teaching Project for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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