Simple as 1, 2, 3
By Julie Matuszewski; photo courtesy of MacKenzie Boeckmann
MacKenzie Boeckmann knew she wanted to be active in her community and be part of something that was bigger than herself. As a high school student, Boeckmann enjoyed all her math classes and loved explaining advanced math homework to her peers. She found this rewarding, to help others understand a concept they struggled with. It was then she decided she wanted to be a math teacher. The kind of teacher who is fun, kind and can explain a subject that does not come easy to everyone.
Throughout her education Boeckmann’s love of math was always supported by both her parents and her teachers. Her father majored in math. Boeckmann loves that math has one definite answer and to get to that one answer, is like solving a game or puzzle.
One of her favorite lessons to teach each year are geometry proofs. Boeckmann shared that students can struggle with the concept of proofs. She starts her lesson by having her students tell her step-by-step, exactly how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PB&J). Using only her hands to illustrate the process, Boeckmann follows the instructions precisely. There is usually a huge mess with the PB&J and a lot of laughs. She said, “even if math is not a student’s strong suit, it is hard not to enjoy my intro to proof day.”
Boeckmann is not technically a Colorado native but she’s close. At two years old, her family moved to Colorado. Growing up in Centennial, she attended Arapahoe High School and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. After college, Boeckmann and her husband, Joel, moved to California. Wanting to raise their two daughters, Averie and Elise, close to family, they made the move back to Colorado in 2015 claiming Castle Pines as their residence and both taking jobs in the Douglas County School District.
This is Boeckmann’s fifteenth year of teaching and her sixth-year at Mountain Vista High School. She is also co-department chair alongside friend and colleague Katie Allison. Allison said she was not sure what she would have done without Boeckmann during all the school changes this past year. She shared that Boeckmann is caring and thoughtful to both her students and coworkers. “She works tirelessly to make sure the needs of her family, students and department are met,” commented Allison
Boeckmann shared that one of the hardest things she has ever done as an educator has been teaching during the pandemic. Through several changes and the many unknowns during this school year, she too has struggled alongside her students to remain positive.
The best part of teaching for Boeckmann is watching her students grow academically and as individuals. She feels blessed she can be a support for her students during both good and bad times. She enjoys teaching high school students for their fresh perspective on life. Each day is different, and she never knows what a student will do or say. She loves to see the “aha” moment when a student finally grasps a concept.