Upper School

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Holly Ceane

Faculty Information
Location(s) Upper School
Title(s) Upper School Math Teacher
Contact Information
School Email
Degree(s) B.S., College of Charleston
Master's of Mathematics, University of Tennessee
Other Information

Holly Ceane, known as Ms. C-K to students, joined the CDS Upper School math faculty in 2015. Holly earned her B.S. from College of Charleston, and has a Master’s of Mathematics from University of Tennessee. After finishing her undergraduate work, her professional path included working in management for Earth Fare at various locations over many years. Not able to shake off the pull toward fulfilling her purpose of becoming an Upper School math teacher, Holly returned to school to earn her Master’s degree while juggling family life and raising two boys, both of whom are CDS students. While earning her degree, Holly worked for three years at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN as an adjunct instructor, supplemental instructor, and tutor. 

Get to know Holly Ceane

In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? The focus of the school on inquiry-based learning allows me to guide students toward discovering mathematics, to understand the why behind the math we do in class instead of just showing how to do it.  Small class sizes allow me to meaningfully engage with every student, every day, giving me a deeper understanding of how each student learns and how best to help each individual.” 

What do you like most about your job at CDS? My favorite part of my job is engaging with students. Upper school students are my kindred spirits, and it has been a deliberate choice to teach at this level. I attended an independent school in Michigan for my high school years, and my teachers shaped who I am and how I experience the world in all aspects of my life. It is a privilege to engage and teach CDS students as they prepare for life after graduation.”

In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “The spirit and culture of the school teach us all to root for each other’s successes. In this way, students feel safe to take risks and explore in ways they might not be comfortable doing if that encouragement weren’t so prevalent.”

How would you describe your classroom? “My classroom is a space where students actively engage in mathematics through problem solving, reasoning, and communicating. The classroom culture is one in which all contributions, “right” or “wrong”, are valued because they lead us to a deeper understanding of mathematics. Because of this, students feel safe to risk being “wrong” and benefit from the struggle they experience working through challenging problems together.”

What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? What’s Math Got to Do with It: How Teachers and Parents Can Transform Mathematics Learning and Inspire Success by Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University. At CDS, we teach students math in unconventional ways, through active engagement and creative problem solving. This book is an easy read and inspires me to keep challenging myself to improve my effectiveness as a teacher.”

What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “The responsibility of a teacher is to produce the conditions sufficient for learning”         --Jerzy Dydak 

How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? Everyone is capable of developing connected knowledge of mathematics.”

Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “The first assignment I give my students is the Mathematics Autobiography—a thoughtful and reflective essay describing the student’s experiences, self-assessment, and attitudes in relation to his or her math education up to that point. The mathematics autobiography gives me an introduction to each student, and also provides a snapshot of the differentiation in the class.” 

What personal passion brings balance to your life? “Any time I can spend laughing, playing, and connecting with my kids is the primary source of joy in my life.”

Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “I am excited and delighted to be teaching at CDS! I feel honored to be a part of the community.”

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