Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2008 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Bronx, New York
Bio/Overview: Placa is currently completing a Doctorate in Teaching and Learning at New York University focusing on mathematics education. It was a subway ad that directed Placa to teaching and changed her life. It said, "You remember your first grade teacher's name. Who will remember yours?" At the time Placa was working long hours as a market research analyst and she was trying to find purpose in what she did. That day on the subway Placa started wondering why she was wasting time doing something she did not feel passionate about. A few months later, Placa decided to apply to the program advertised on the subway: the New York City Teaching Fellows. Her education did not prepare Placa for what she was about to experience in her classroom. However, despite the challenges of her first year as a teacher, Placa fell in love with the profession. She loves interacting with the students, creating lessons, and helping students succeed. For seven years, Placa taught mathematics to middle school students in the South Bronx.
Educational Values/Philosophy: Placa believes that all students have the potential for greatness and a good educator helps maximize that potential. She has a strong commitment to ensuring that all students are engaged and provided with opportunities to be challenged. As an educator, she creates environments that foster students' development and build upon their current knowledge as they actively construct meaning of the world around them. Placa also values the importance of high quality teacher preparation and in-service professional development programs that promote and support teachers at various points in their career.
Achievements: Placa has authored several articles related to teaching and learning, including “Tips for Making the Inclusion Classroom Work for You,” "Promoting Reasoning about Intensive Quantities in Whole-Number Multiplication? Investigating a Possible Basis for Ratio Understanding," and "Demonstrating The Usefulness Of The Participatory-Anticipatory Distinction."
Leadership Experience: While working as a middle school mathematics teacher, Placa held a variety of leadership positions, including Mathematics Department Chair, Curriculum Team Chairperson, Data Inquiry Team Lead Teacher, School Leadership Team Member and Principal’s Advisory Cabinet Member. Placa also worked as a mathematics coach in a brand new middle school where she helped develop curriculum, analyze data, conduct professional development, and model best practices for teachers.
Affiliations: New York City Teaching Fellows, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Education: Placa completed her undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in psychology and communications. She earned a Master's Degree in Education from Mercy College. She is currently completing a Doctorate in Teaching and Learning at New York University focusing on mathematics education.
Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Teacher quality
- Mathematics education
- Urban Education
- Connecting research and practice