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Jemal Graham
2010 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Brooklyn, NY


Photo of Jemal Graham, Classroom Fellow

Bio/Overview: Graham currently teaches mathematics at Ronald Edmonds Learning Center in Brooklyn, New York. “You don’t get to complain unless you’re willing to do something about it!  We can either work to change things, or quit and complain; so what will you DO?!”  Graham remembers hearing these words from his mother for the first time as a second-grader after complaining that he wasn’t picked for the kickball team at recess.  These words were repeated throughout his childhood and they have guided his outlook on life ever since.   After graduating from Columbia University, Graham thought hard about the idea of becoming a teacher, but instead spent several years in the worlds of finance and real estate development. During his time in private industry, Graham indulged his interest in teaching by volunteering for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization dedicated to helping young people become the entrepreneurs of the future. Influenced by this experience, Graham asked himself the same question that his mother would: “What will you DO?!”  He decided then and there to dedicate his life to educating children.  In 2005 he joined the New York City Teaching Fellows program and began his teaching career.

Educational Values/Philosophy: As a teacher, Graham has always felt it critical for his students to see the link between the math content that they learn in class and the potential applications of math in the real world.

Achievements: In 2008, Graham was selected as a Master Teacher with Math for America, a national organization dedicated to improving mathematics education. Graham was also selected to participate in the 2010 Park City Math Institute, a three week summit focused on innovations in application of math and math education.

Leadership Experience: Three years ago Graham founded a new chapter of NFTE at his school.  Through interactive, hands on projects, he has tried to integrate NFTE’s curriculum of entrepreneurship and business into the everyday mathematics that he teaches in class. Graham spent two years as a Professional Development facilitator, sharing techniques and best practices with other teachers.

Affiliations: National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, New York Teaching Fellows

Education: Graham completed his undergraduate education at Columbia University.

Areas of Interest/Expertise:

  • Math education
  • Recruitment of Minority Male Teachers
  • Middle School Issues
  • Entrepreneurship and business
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Last Modified: 08/16/2012