Woodside Math Teacher Stephanie Finander wins National Award

The dual-subjected Woodside educator beat out teachers nationwide from over 5,000 schools to do so

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Courtesy of Stephanie Finander

Woodside Math Teacher Stephanie Finander was one of 22 nationwide teachers to win the 2021 Edyth May Sliffe Award from the MAA

Cedrik von Briel, Managing Editor

Woodside High School’s very own Stephanie Finander has been selected as one of 22 winners of the Mathematics Association of America’s [MAA] Edyth May Sliffe Award

Finander, who teaches Advanced Placement [AP] Physics and AP Calculus BC at Woodside, beat out teachers from over 5,000 schools across the United States to win the award, which includes a $500 stipend from the MAA and a free trip to their annual Mathfest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next August. 

“I’m so honored and happy to win this award because my students nominated me, and I didn’t know anything about it,” she said. 

The Edyth May Sliffe Award is given out each year by the MAA’s American Mathematics Competitions [AMC] Division to recognize teachers nationwide for “outstanding work to motivate students through participation in the MAA AMC,” according to the award’s website. Finander credits the Competitive Math Club, which she serves as the advisor for, and its students for helping her win the prize. 

“I think they’re my students from math club, and I think they had a fun time in math club,” she said. “Grace Jau was one of the people who nominated me, and she was in math club for four years and was my student for two of those years.”

Finander’s win marks the first time a teacher from Woodside – or any Sequoia Union High School District School – has been selected for the award in its 32-year-history. Finander remarked that, to celebrate, she would do so with her beloved Competitive Math Club. 

“I’m going to celebrate with my club. I won $500 in the award and I’m going to donate that to the club, because it’s been hard to do fundraising during the pandemic.”

When asked afterward why she loved math so much, Finander said she has always had a simple reason. 

“Because you can get the right answer.”