About Candice Wilson-McCain
It was the first day of school. I stood excitedly in the doorway greeting my new students attempting to build excitement about math class by stating, "Hi, I'm Mrs. McCain, and we are going to have a great year." Lena responded, "No we're not. I've never been good at math. I scored a level 1 on the math end of grade exam every year since third grade." She wasn't the only student that shared a similar statement. In fact, I heard that from several girls in my class that experienced challenges with math. The interesting part is that most of my students were behind academically in math yet I noticed the lack of academic confidence more in girls. I spent the year working toward closing both gaps-academic and personal growth. By middle school, many girls have made up their mind about whether they are good or bad in math or whether they like math. I realized that girls need to develop a growth mindset to make significant academic gains and quickly noticed them taking more risks in lessons that integrated real-world experiences. These observations would eventually influence my career path to inspire girls to become academic risk-takers.
I'm Candice Wilson-McCain, a graduate of the renowned NC A&T State University where I received a Bachelors degree in Business Marketing. Upon graduation, I relocated to earn a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from Shorter University while simultaneously taking leadership roles in the retail and property management sectors.
Armed with my MBA and real world experience, I became interested in learning how to impact society by doing work that matters and eventually decided to become a middle school math teacher. As a middle school math teacher, I immediately recognized the difficulty in investing students in mathematics and realized that students needed to develop intrinsic motivation to make significant academic gains. After trying several instructional strategies, I noticed that students were more invested in math lessons when it related to real life (especially consumer math) and when they had the opportunity to develop personal growth skills.
After leaving the classroom, I began to oversee extended day programs where I saw students grow socially as well as academically, which led me to became an advocate for out of school time learning. My investment in effective out of school learning opportunities and the idea that it's possible for every girl to believe that they are able and capable of achieving success in math served as the catalyst for founding the after-school program, FLY Math Club.
To deepen my pedagogical knowledge, I earned an Education Specialist (Ed.S) degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a professional degree focused on providing research-based instructional strategies that leads to students meeting rigorous academic standards. For the past seven years, I began to scale my impact through instructional coaching and providing professional development to new STEM teachers.
With Financial Literacy for Youth (FLY) Math Club, I'm able to provide ready-to-use curriculum to educators that aims to develop self-efficacy in math among girls while creatively integrating financial literacy and service learning projects. By the year 2027, the goal is to inspire 5,000 girls to be academic risk takers by equipping a community of club leaders to host FLY Math Clubs at 500 school sites and impacting math educators through workshops to foster growth mindset in STEM among girls.
When I'm not talking about math education, you can find me reading blogs or books about personal finance, trying different flavors of tea, collecting mugs from newly visited cities, and being a soccer mom.
Help us prove that girls love math too by starting a FLY Math Club at a school site.