Sandra Crespo

Professor, Associate Chair of Graduate Education
Michigan State University


Sandra Crespo is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. She is a former teacher of middle, secondary, and university level students of mathematics. At MSU, she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in mathematics education and teacher education. As a teacher and researcher, she is committed to improving students' experiences with mathematics. Her research is focused on students’ resilience and creativity in the mathematics classroom and on teachers’ potential to re-imagine mathematics classrooms as collaborative and equitable spaces for teaching and learning. Her perspective and commitments to improving the educational futures of students are informed by her experiences as a student, teacher, and teacher educator across three different countries (Dominican Republic, Canada, and the United States). As a teacher educator, her work entails preparing future teachers of elementary and secondary schools to actively disrupt oppressive narratives and teaching practices that create educational inequities in the mathematics classroom. She has published in diverse journals such as The Elementary School Journal, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Theory into Practice, and Teaching Children Mathematics. She has also authored several books such as Smarter Together: Collaboration and Equity in the Elementary Math Classroom, published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and Cases for Teacher Educators: Facilitating Conversations About Inequities in Mathematics Classrooms, published by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educator and Information Age Publishing. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Lucent Technologies Foundation, and the Michigan Department of Education. She has held several leadership positions within her field, such as Editor (2014-2019) of the Mathematics Teacher Educator journal; Associate Editor of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (2019-2023), and Program Co-Chair of the upcoming 2020 TODOS (Mathematics for All) organization biannual conference.

Sandra Crespo’s scholarship has focused on mathematical problem posing and collaborative mathematics learning as means to support meaningful and empowering learning opportunities for students and teachers, especially for those who are consistently marginalized from school mathematics. This work has been funded by multiple research and conference grants and published in high impact peer reviewed journals, book chapters, and in books such as her co-edited book series published by the NCTM with a focus on Access and Equity in K-12 mathematics classrooms. Her research has informed not only her own institution’s teacher education programs, but it has also impacted other institutions across the U.S. and internationally. Her scholarship has also made important contributions to research on the study of representations of mathematics teaching. With this line of research, she has provided counter narratives to simplistic and narrow representations of what counts as “good teaching” of mathematics teachers and of students who are constructed as deficient or defective learners in the mathematics classroom. These research studies have been funded with NSF grants and have been published in peer reviewed journals and in a co-edited book of cases written by and for mathematics teacher educators titled: Cases for Teacher Educators: Facilitating Conversations about Inequities in Mathematics Classrooms. This book is considered an important resource for current and future mathematics teacher educators. Her approach to service, teaching, and mentoring is also grounded in her commitment to equity, access, and empowerment. At MSU, she has worked with the Chicano/Latino Studies program to recruit and to support Latinx students to mathematics-related careers. In her home Department of Teacher Education, she is now the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and is working to create a more diverse community of teacher educators and of future teachers. She seeks to demystify the student application process, especially to those who are first generation to college students and who are from underrepresented groups in higher education.

“The images and the narratives that circulate in the media, in the textbooks, and in our everyday living are important because they create false stereotypes and expectations of who can/cannot be a citizen of this country and who can/cannot do math. Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and the accomplishments of Hispanics in the United States. It provides a much needed counterspace to the anti-immigrant and negative narratives about Hispanics and Latinxs in the United States.”