On May 17, 2017, Diana Herrington, who taught at Clovis High School in the Clovis Unified School District for 30 years, tragically passed away. She was one of our most inspirational and influential mathematics teachers and math teacher educators, and her loss will be felt throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley, and the whole state of California. All of us who had the privilege of knowing her and loving her will miss her deeply.
I had the distinct opportunity of meeting Diana at the 1990 San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project Summer Leadership Institute. Diana had joined the project the year before. I was new, one of the 40 teachers becoming members in 1990. All 40 of the charter members of the Class of 1989 came back in 1990 to welcome us into this lifelong network of professional colleagues. Diana, a colleague that I was proud to also call my friend, continued to inspire and influence my career from then on.
When I began using a reform curriculum in my classroom in the 1990s (which literally changed how I taught forever), I was inspired by Diana, who had begun using a different reform curriculum, the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP). IMP was the most innovative secondary mathematics curriculum on the market at the time. I knew that my school was not ready to go that far, but that didn’t stop Diana. If it was good for students, Diana went to the mat to provide it for them. All of us watched as Diana took on IMP and made it come alive for her students. Diana was teaching in the integrated vision of Common Core in the 1990s.
Diana worked at the state level in the 1990s, developing Math A, B, and C. She also worked on the state level assessments over the years. She is a Presidential Award winner in Mathematics Teaching. She served many years on the California Mathematics Council Central Section Board and State Board, as well as the board of Computer Using Educators. Diana even worked with NASA, who actually named a theorem after her.
When CMC Central was hosting algebra symposiums on the coast in the early 2000’s, Diana suggested that we co-plan a 5-hour session for attending high school teachers.I loved the planning that we did together. It was validating for me to see how closely aligned my educational philosophy was with Diana’s. This, in turn, led to our offering to co-teach the algebra course for the FPU Graduate Program, where Diana brought in graphing calculators and we were able to work with K-8 teachers to make algebra come alive over an entire semester.
After retiring from Clovis High School, Diana began working full-time as a lecturer in the CSU Fresno Department of Mathematics, teaching Liberal Studies and credential students. In her Edmodo
profile she said, “I am currently supporting Fresno State math student teachers and interns. I am having a great time working with the next generation of teachers.” Diana thrived when she was working with teachers and potential teachers. In fact, she and co-author Alice Keeler (CSU Fresno) recently published a book for teachers, Teaching with Google Apps.
Although Diana and I followed different career paths, we found ways to work together often over the 27 years that followed that initial meeting at SJVMP. I sought out her advice and expertise, and I often referred others to do the same. I cherished those opportunities over the years where we could work together and present together.
Diana’s husband, Ken, was a math teacher in Kings Canyon Unified for almost 30 years. Their daughter, Kendia, is now a Chemistry teacher herself at Buchanan High in Clovis Unified. Education, particularly STEM education, was simply part of their family.
After 30 years of influencing students, 27 years of impacting teachers, and the many years of hosting student teachers and working at the university, we will all miss the spirit and the passion of Diana Herrington. She was a beloved teacher, colleague, and friend.