Sarah Leone, assistant professor of mathematics at Middlesex Community College, celebrates everything, including making mistakes, taking risks, and doing things outside our comfort zone.
“It’s the everyday small things that build community and trust in the class. Nothing is too small to celebrate, in my opinion,” she said. “Years later, students may not remember a math formula, but they remember to believe in themselves and that they can do anything.”
Professor Leone loves being in the classroom and getting to know her students and their life experiences. She attempts to make each class engaging for all learners by asking prompting questions all throughout the lesson and mixing up the way she presents material. Each moment in class is orchestrated to get students thinking about making connections to mathematics and to each other.
She is an advocate for growth versus a fixed mindset in her teaching, believing that people with fixed mindset feel their abilities cannot be changed, and those with a growth mindset believe they can learn new things.
In May 2023, Professor Leone received the Campus-based Board of Regents Teaching Award for Middlesex and also the System-Wide Board of Regents Teaching Award for Connecticut Community Colleges. These awards recognize Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) faculty for excellence in teaching.
Professor Leone has piloted courses and made adjustments to teaching within Open Educational Resources (OER), a program that advocates free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning and research. She is also involved in the Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges of Connecticut, also known as MATYCONN. The organization conducts a statewide math contest each year and awards scholarships to the student winners. Professor Leone also serves on the Center for Teaching Steering Committee and Accessibility Council.
Prior to joining the Math Department in 2005, Professor Leone taught at Nathan Hale High School in East Haddam and The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury. Her Middlesex courses include College Algebra, Statistics, and College Career Success. She received a bachelor of science from SUNY Albany and a master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University.
Professor Leone enjoys giving back to the community and helping people. Her favorite community service activity the college sponsors each year is the Middletown Thanksgiving Project, which she loves to do with her students. She also volunteers at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding in Old Lyme.