The Curtis Center works to provide an increasing number of U.S K12 students with access to rigorous and engaging mathematical activity.
Our activities includes:

Developing the content and pedagogical content knowledge of undergraduates preparing for careers in K12 mathematics education

Providing opportunities for K12 mathematics teachers to grow their mathematical knowledge and apply it to the work of teaching

Developing curriculum and assessments designed to engage students in creative reasoning and meaningful application of mathematics

Helping students and districts develop equitable and humane standardsaligned mathematics course sequences and syllabi
The Curtis Center is one of a few K12 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 K12 mathematics activity benefit from authentic collaboration between K12 and university mathematics experts. In our collaborations, K12 mathematics experts help focus efforts on the mathematical issues most relevant to K12 mathematics departments and provide professional knowledge of pedagogy and K12 students while university mathematics experts often increase mathematical precision, highlight the mathematical horizon, and/or suggest mathematically interesting questions.
Our Team
Camae Kong
Program Assistant
Camae is a fourth year at UCLA studying Chemical Engineering that loves to teach and mentor students at UCLA and in her hometown community. She furthers this passion by assisting the UCLA Curtis Center with administrative tasks as a program assistant.
Chris Anderson
Mathematics Professor
Professor Chris Anderson received his A.B. in Mathematics and Ph. D. in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley. He has taught Mathematics at UCLA since 1986 as has served as the Director of the UCLA Program in Computing (PIC) since 2005.
Chris has presented at the annual Curtis Center Mathematics and Teaching Conference, created applied math tasks for the 20152017 Smarter Balanced Performance Task Project, and served as an editor for mathematics and physical science lessons written by teachers in BRIDGES, the Center’s California Math Science Partnership with Glendale Unified School District. At UCLA, he has served on the UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Instructional Improvement for over ten years and is also a recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award.
Eden Murphy
Director of Instructional Coaching
Eden Murphy holds a Master of Arts in Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. Her practitioner experience includes ten years of mathematics teaching and coaching in the Apple Valley Unified School District, during which time she worked to create an equitable and accessible pathway to Calculus, while also becoming a leader in instruction that centers around student inquiry of mathematics by means of modeling and proof. Currently, Eden provides mathematical and pedagogical training to mathematics teachers across California, in addition to authoring mathematics performance tasks as part of the Center’s partnership with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Eden has particular expertise around best practices for online instruction as well as appropriate use of educational technologies in the mathematics classroom.
Heather Dallas
Executive Director
Heather Dallas has taught mathematics for almost 30 years in local public schools and the UCLA Mathematics Department. As a public school teacher, Heather codeveloped a specialized course for students previously excluded from Algebra in which failure rates were cut in half. In addition, she increased student access to success in BC AP Calculus, increasing enrollments sevenfold while maintaining an almost 100% pass rate. During this time, she taught and developed curriculum for the professional development efforts of both the California Math Project and the UCLA Mathematics Department. In 2000, she served as the UCLA Mathematics Department’s youngest ever Department Visiting High School Teacher and since then she has trained almost 20 cohorts of senior mathematics majors to be secondary mathematics teachers in her role as lecturer in the Department.
In her role as Director of The Curtis Center, Heather has led multiple projects with districts and industry partners aimed at improving the quality of mathematics activity in schools. She served as PI on two California Math Science Partnership grants and directed the 201517 Smarter Balanced Performance Task Development Project. In addition, she regularly provides national and statewide leadership in mathematics education, and has served on the California Academic Content Standards Committee, the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Race to the Top Technical Review, and the California Framework Committee. She is also a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. Heather’s father was the first LAUSD mathematics teacher to bring computers into the classroom in 1978 and her grandfather was a high school English teacher.
Helen Chan
Director of K8 Professional Development
Helen Chan earned a B.S. in Mathematics/Applied Science, a California Teaching Credential, and a Master of Education from UCLA. She has nearly three decades of experience in K16 mathematics education, including 11 years with the UCLA Mathematics Department. In the Department, Helen taught mathematics courses for future elementary school teachers and mathematics courses for current elementary school teachers and coauthored a number of mathematics courses for current teachers.
Helen has authored Smarter Balanced Performance Tasks for use on summative statewide assessments across more than 21 US States. Currently, she leads the Center’s professional development team.
Isai Lopez
Secondary Mathematics Specialist
Isai Lopez holds a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics for Teaching from UCLA. For several years, he served as a mathematics and leadership teacher in underserved, highpoverty schools in East Los Angeles. As an alumnus of LAUSD, he is passionate about presenting students with meaningful mathematics experiences that are culturally relevant, rigorous, and applicable to realworld contexts. As a Secondary Mathematics Specialist for the UCLA Curtis Center, Isai currently provides mathematical and pedagogical training to mathematics teachers across California.
Jessica Son
Program Assistant
Jessica Son is a firstyear at UCLA, studying Business Economics and accounting. She is passionate about research and finance and hopes to work in forensic accounting in the future. At The Curtis Center, she supports the programmatic and financial work necessary to realize multiple projects and programs in local schools, districts, national educational organizations.
Julian Rojas
Secondary Mathematics Specialist
Julian Rojas holds a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics for Teaching from UCLA. He has seven years of practitioner experience teaching mathematics, engineering and computer science in public and private schools in Los Angeles. He has taught at both the middle and high school levels. Julian’s career has been marked by advocacy for underserved, marginalized and atrisk communities including liaison work to the Spanish speaking community and Diversity Equity and Inclusion work. Julian currently provides mathematical and pedagogical training to mathematics teachers across the State of California.
Kristina Petruff
Program and Fund Manager
Kristina Petruff holds a degree in economics and has several years of experience in administration in higher education. As The Curtis Center Program and Fund Manager, she identifies opportunities for improvement and growth by tracking and managing data for external and internal audits, manages all financial accounts, and oversees the programmatic and business operations of the Center.
Marcus Roper
Mathematics Professor
Professor Marcus Roper received his Ph. D. in mathematics from Harvard University and joined the UCLA Mathematics Department in 2010. In addition to teaching mathematics, he conducts research in mathematical problems coming from physics and biology. He is particularly interested in fungal mycelia, the microvascular system and design and optimization of inertial microfluidic devices.
Marcus has collaborated with The Curtis Center by editing mathematics and physical science lessons written by teachers in the Center’s California Math Science Partnership Grant with Glendale Unified, editing K12 lessons written for use with Magformers, a magnetic polygons used as concrete models in instruction, as well as speaking to teachers about current mathematical research. In addition, Marcus supports the development of future teachers by serving as the advisor to undergraduate math majors studying to be future high school teachers as they engage in summer research in applied mathematics.
Michelle Sidwell
Assistant Director
Michelle Sidwell earned a B.S. in Mathematics/Economics and a Masters of Education during her time at UCLA. During this time, she also engaged in mathematical research in the prestigious RIPS program at the UCLA Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. Upon graduation, Michelle taught mathematics at Crenshaw High School for six years. In this role, Michelle developed much of her own curriculum and significantly expanded student access to and success in AP Calculus and AP Statistics.
At The Curtis Center, Michelle has taught mathematics courses and professional development institutes for current teachers and authored curriculum for the mathematical training of teachers, including an 80hour inquirybased Geometry course. She served on the Project Leadership of BRIDGES, a California Math Science Partnership with Glendale Unified School District. In addition, she served as the High School Grade Band Leader for the 20152017 Smarter Balanced Performance Task Project, authoring and editing assessment items for use in summative statewide assessments used across 21 US States. Recently, she oversaw the development of 13 Geometry lessons which benefited from the use of magnetic polygonal tools, called Magformers, as concrete models.
Michelle Welford
Director of Special Projects
Michelle Welford holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, a Master’s in Education and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. She taught high school mathematics for 10 years during which time she wrote her own Geometry and AP Statistics curriculum. Her efforts significantly improved student access to success on the AP Statistics exam, with pass rates increasing from 20% to 94% after she took over the program. Michelle followed these successes by serving for five years as an instructional coach at University High School for the Los Angeles Unified School District during which time she also wrote professional development curriculum in geometry for the UCLA Mathematics Department.
Michelle’s work for The UCLA Curtis Center, draws on her extensive knowledge of mathematics, pedagogy, Common Core State Standards, incorporation of technology, teamwork/collaboration with others, meticulous attention to detail, and time management. Michelle Welford was CoDirector of the 20152017 Smarter Balanced Performance Task Project during which time she was pivotal in the development of 168 mathematical modeling tasks used in summative assessments across 21 US States.
Our History
For decades, the UCLA Mathematics Department has been involved in the entire spectrum of mathematical activity, from K12 to university to career. The department’s involvement at the precollegiate level was significantly shaped by Professor Emeritus Phil Curtis over a fiftyyear period. While producing pioneering and internationally recognized work in Banach Algebras, Professor Curtis served twice as Department Chair and advocated for departmental involvement in K12 mathematics activity. Over his many years of service, he worked to establish six programs supporting K12 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 K12 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.
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