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What is nepantla?

Nepantla is a Nahuatl (Aztec language) term connoting in between or a reference to the space of the middle.  In other words, it is the space of uncertainty, tension between truths, and "grey area".  As mathematics teachers, we can learn in this space by reexamining our beliefs and questioning oppressive structures and practices.  We assert that growing in nepantla help us form critical perspectives to better prepare our students.


Our mission is to form communities for mathematics educators to apply social justice practices in their context. We support this work by exploring teachers’ own identities in the context of race, gender, and class and developing critical consciousness as it relates to mathematics education.



Social justice mathematics education aims to create a humanizing, student-centered environment that values everyone’s knowledge, experiences, and voice. To do this we must deconstruct current avenues that facilitate or restrict students’ access to mathematics in their lives. We must challenge what is considered “valuable” or “important” in mathematics. Social justice mathematics educators provide spaces that recognize and critically analyze these tensions as ways for their students to reject internalized oppression, and reclaim their power to transform spaces.





Esther is a high school mathematics specialist in Chicago Public Schools and was a classroom teacher for 9 years. Her work is centered around rehumanizing math classrooms through student voice, identity, and teacher reflection. She has served on the NCTM Publishing Committee and as a director on the ICTM board.

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Chanel Keyvan was the assistant principal at a junior high school in Illinois and was previously a high school mathematics and AVID teacher. Her overall vision is to support a school that exudes high expectations that redefine education to honor individuality and to embrace systemic changes to liberate marginalized groups and value cultural differences.



Jennifer is an 8th grade Algebra teacher in Evanston, IL, on her 9th year teaching. She enjoys sharing her passion for math and art with students, helping students see how they are connected. Jennifer is serving as 5-8 Director on the ICTM Board & co-authored an article in the NCTM Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School Journal titled Learning What Works: Promoting Small Group Discussions, 2014 while an undergraduate.



 Jerica Jurado is currently a middle school mathematics and language arts teacher in Chicago Public Schools. They have taught mathematics for 7 years in middle and high school settings with predominantly “at-risk youth”. Their work has been focused on combating the school to prison pipeline, by incorporating culturally relevant pedagogy and transformative justice practices that cultivate empathy and community within their mathematics classroom.

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