Concepcion Molina is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR. His primary expertise and responsibilities focus on mathematics education. He has acquired expertise in a wide spectrum of additional areas through his work with both the Texas and Southeast Comprehensive Centers. Examples include the delivery of the initial training and follow-up webinars on the Working Systemically approach in Texas, professional development of a Georgia SEA initiative to assist low-performing schools raise student performance by building student thinking skills using Thinking Maps®, design and delivery of professional development sessions focused on dropout prevention and increasing graduation rates in Alabama, and the delivery of professional development sessions and dissemination webinars for an Early Warning Data System in Texas that identifies at-risk students and connects them to appropriate intervention strategies.
Dr. Molina came to AIR and SEDL, which merged with AIR in 2015, directly from the classroom after 14 years of high school mathematics instruction. In his seven years as a program specialist in SEDL’s Southwest Consortium for the Improvement of Mathematics and Science Teaching, Dr. Molina worked primarily with elementary and middle school teachers. His high school expertise enabled him to make vertical K–12 connections of multiple mathematics concepts. That, coupled with scientifically based research, resulted in the design, piloting, and delivery of multiple professional development trainings focused on improving the mathematics content knowledge of teachers while simultaneously modeling effective instructional practices.
Because of his experience as a student with limited English, Dr. Molina has a unique perspective that led to the development of multiple professional development trainings focused on the impact of language in the learning and instruction of mathematics. This approach also led to his writing of The Problem With Math Is English: A Language-Focused Approach to Helping All Students Develop a Deeper Understanding of Mathematics via a collaboration between SEDL and a national publisher. Dr. Molina has a keen interest in the development of standards that can also serve as a useful teaching guide. The focus on the improvement of teachers’ mathematics content knowledge guides his work and also resulted in A Qualitative Case Study of the Subject Matter Knowledge of Central Texas Middle School Mathematics Teachers, his doctoral dissertation completed in 2004.