Tammi Abad is on a mission to create mathematicians. For the past four years, she has worked as the math and social studies teacher during the bridge year of 4th grade to prepare her students for the Upper School. “I believe the mathematician we are creating here is more empowered. I see these girls taking many more risks and becoming increasingly receptive to the idea that anyone can be a mathematician.”
She attributes this growth to the school culture of empowerment along with Burke’s emphasis on social and emotional learning. “It’s especially important for math education as we try to shift more girls into STEM jobs. We really push the message that ‘no one is born with a math brain’ and ‘mistakes grow the brain’. The girls love that message and it lowers student anxiety and encourages them to attempt any math problem.”
Along with her Burke’s teaching responsibilities, she is also the Associate Teacher Institute Coordinator. There are a rotating group of eleven Associate Teachers who sign on for a two-year tenure. The program provides them with important classroom management experience and professional development opportunities. Tammi focuses on ensuring their success while they are at Burke’s, as well as getting them ready for Masters or credential programs.
Prior to coming to Burke’s, Tammi had a ten-year teaching career in Bay Area public schools before moving to New Orleans to teach at her first all-girls independent school. The day she started she went to a staff social gathering and her co-teacher asked her, “When are you going to be evacuated?” It turns out she wouldn’t be starting school on schedule and instead found herself headed to Texas with a stranger and three dogs while Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans. In the aftermath, the students returned in small groups and the population changed from day-to-day while people rebuilt their lives. She had been hired to teach second grade, but for some time she was the only math teacher and the school operated as a one-room school house. “It was all about being flexible and fitting in where you could”, remembers Tammi.
Tammi took one more detour on her way back to the Bay Area with a move to a New York all-girls school where she spent eight years as the Lower School Math Specialist and spearheaded an Associate Teacher program. She loves being back in the Bay Area and completely believes in Burke’s mission to educate, empower and encourage girls. In her free time, she enjoys exploring San Francisco with her son. “I love experiencing our city through the lens of a 5-year old.”
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.