About Us

The Curtis Center works to provide an increasing number of U.S K-12 students with access to rigorous and engaging mathematical activity.

What We Do

  • Develop pedagogical content knowledge of undergraduates preparing for careers in K-12 mathematics education
  • Provide opportunities for K-12 mathematics teachers to grow their mathematical knowledge and apply it to the work of teaching
  • Develop curriculum and assessments designed to engage students in creative reasoning and meaningful application of mathematics
  • Help students and districts develop equitable and humane standards-aligned mathematics course sequences and syllabi


The Curtis Center is one of a few K-12 mathematics groups housed in a Tier 1 mathematics research department. Our Directors and Specialists are academic appointees of the UCLA Mathematics Department and we believe efforts to improve K-12 mathematics activity benefit from authentic collaboration between K-12 and university mathematics experts. In our collaborations, K-12 mathematics experts help focus efforts on the mathematical issues most relevant to K-12 mathematics departments and provide professional knowledge of pedagogy and K-12 students while university mathematics experts often increase mathematical precision, highlight the mathematical horizon, and/or suggest mathematically interesting questions.

Who We Are

Image of Helen Chan.

Helen Chan

Director of K-8 Professional Development
Image of Heather Dallas.

Heather Dallas

Executive Director

Saranna Lay

Program Assistant
Image of Isai Lopez.

Isai Lopez

Secondary Mathematics Specialist
Image of Eden Murphy.

Eden Murphy

Secondary Mathematics Specialist
Image of Kristina Petruff.

Kristina Petruff

Program and Fund Manager

Samar Sattar

Program Assistant
Image of Michelle Sidwell.

Michelle Sidwell

Assistant Director
Image of Michelle Welford.

Michelle Welford

Director of Special Projects

Advisory Board

Image of Edray Goins.

Edray Goins

Pomona College Mathematics and Statistics Professor

Marcus Roper

UCLA Mathematics Professor
Image of Francis Su.

Francis Su

Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Professor
Image of Uri Treisman.

Uri Treisman

The University of Texas Mathematics Professor
Image of Marion Usselman.

Marion Usselman

Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC), Georgia Tech
Image displays Barbara Wells.

Barbara Wells

Retired Mathematics Educator

Our History

Professor Emeritus Phil Curtis

For decades, the UCLA Mathematics Department has been involved in the entire spectrum of mathematical activity, from K-12 to university to career. The department’s involvement at the pre-collegiate level was significantly shaped by Professor Emeritus Phil Curtis over a fifty-year period. While producing pioneering and internationally recognized work in Banach Algebras, Professor Curtis served twice as Department Chair and advocated for departmental involvement in K-12 mathematics activity. Over his many years of service, he worked to establish six programs supporting K-12 mathematics activity including the statewide UC/CSU California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project, the UCLA Visiting High School Teacher Program and the UCLA Joint Mathematics Education Program, the UCLA Mathematics Project, the UCLA Math Content Program for Teachers, and a program which prepared K-12 students for competitive mathematics exams. To formalize these efforts, in 2007, Department Chair Christoph Theile and mathematics professor Theodore Gamelin, established The Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching.