Welcome to MATHING FOR Equity!
My name is Naehee Kwun.
I am an educator in my 16th year of teaching and learning. My own education includes a Bachelor's in Mathematics from UCLA and a Master's in Education from UCLA's Teacher Education Program. For 15 years, I served as a high school math teacher, department chair, and instructional coach in Lawndale and Hawthorne, CA. I have grown as a teacher leader in STEM education, now supporting pre- and in-service teachers. My passion for equity-centered and justice-oriented education has driven my work as an educational leader.
Starting with my 2006-07 UCLA TEP residency year, I served as a mathematics and AVID teacher, department chair, and instructional coach in the Centinela Valley Union High School District for 15 years. During my tenure in this district, I've impacted placement protocols, transitioned math departments to implementing Common Core Mathematics State Standards and the Integrated Math Pathway, and increased the number of mathematics pathways towards graduation. All the while, as a coach, I implemented Cognitive Coaching strategies to support individual teachers in their professional growth.
In the height of COVID-related school closures and virtual learning, I took a leap of faith and left the classroom in pursuit of making a bigger impact.
Since Dec 2020, I've been serving as the Teacher Network Coordinator, an instructor, and a supervisor for University of California- Irvine's CalTeach Math and Science Credentialing Program. In this role, I design the professional development program for mentor teachers to learn and utilize mentoring practices and cognitive coaching strategies to support their own work in equitable practices and foster the growth of their student teachers' equity-focused pedagogical development.
As an instructor at UCI, I teach math methods to pre-service teachers, fostering their agency to contextualize their teaching and center equity in their work. In my role as a university supervisor for both UCI CalTeach and California State University, Long Beach, I support pre-service teachers in shaping their teaching identities and navigating the space between theory and practice.
As a coordinator of the program, I launched the inaugural Showcase in May 2023, where our teacher candidates could showcase how they embodied the pedagogies they learned in class in fieldwork clinical practice. We look forward to hosting this culminating event annually.
Additionally, I design and facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers across Southern California, primarily in the Los Angeles area. As a program designer and facilitator for UCLA Math Project, I support and collaborate with math learners and educators from across the country. As a secondary math specialist for UCLA Curtis Center, I've worked with university mathematics professors to develop mathematics curriculum, provided professional learning for K-12 mathematics teachers, and presented several times at their annual conference.
In the past few years, I've collaborated with multiple university partners, museum programs, and community organizations to create interdisciplinary projects that serve teachers across the country. These PLOs are shared nationwide through my conference presentations. See Presentations for more information.
For the past 3 years, I've coordinated conferences for educators across the country! I'm especially proud of these efforts because they are the spaces I wish I had when I was in earlier phases of my career.
The Teaching for Justice conference is now in its 3rd year, spotlighting AAPI identities, curriculum, and communities.
The Extravapalooza is also in its 3rd year, offering a variety of online and in-person workshops that support early-career educators in responsive, humanized pedagogies and practices.
I credit a lot of my learning as an educator to my wonderful math and AVID students during my years in the high school classroom. They taught me the importance of relationships, authenticity, and advocacy.
They also taught me that the impact is more important than the intention.
With this lesson in my heart, every move I make has been grounded in the questions: "How will this impact students? How will this position students to learn more about themselves and do more for themselves and others?" Having good intentions is a formidable start, but it can't end there. We need to center our actions around the impact it will ultimately have on students. If our decisions and actions cause harm, we must re-evaluate and adjust.
This is where math education is right now. We recognize that we are causing harm. Marginalized groups of students remain marginalized. Eurocentric ideologies are centered in curriculums. Colonized teaching practices reward students that assimilate and punish those that don't.
Some of us are taking action against the inequities we see, learning and unlearning as we examine our own biases. We reflect on our own practices and disrupt status quo in our own ways. Often times, this is seen as being rebellious and causing trouble, but we can't not do something. Even when it's hard, it's more rewarding and empowering knowing that we are working towards a greater purpose.
This work is only possible and sustainable through community. Empowered people empower others. Together, we can better disrupt and break down inequitable systems. More importantly, we can create and amplify systems that uplift our marginalized groups and provide access to opportunities. This work cannot be done in isolation. We must work together and #squadup!
I created this website to create a network of educators who are passionate about empowering learners of all ages to find and use their voice to be proactive members of their communities as they advocate for social justice. Welcome.