In her sixteen years at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Dr. Suzanne Reynolds has transformed the School of Education, which she serves as Assistant Dean of. Dr. Reynolds was drawn to Mathematics Education specifically after observing how common “math phobia” has become, which prompted her to research how students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematics. She believes that “the United States must prepare its citizens to think and reason quantitatively. Public education for all is a foundation of this country and strong mathematics education programs are a key component of this foundation.”
Her use of unique teaching methods engages students, such as her use of manipulatives in order to make sense of mathematics and using the Base Ten Blocks to explain long division, which many students haven’t seen before. Additionally, she traveled to Scandinavia with a group of students to study the local education system, and has worked closely with the STEAM camps for middle schoolers and has gotten many students involved as interns for the program. She notes the positive impact that this has made for both her students and her middle schoolers, stating that “they all comment at the end what a valuable experience it has been for them. Not only do the interns have the opportunity to work with young adults in an informal setting, but they have a chance to see how bright and creative these students are.”
Dr. Reynolds grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey and attended Montclair State College, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and received her Masters in both Mathematics and Communication Sciences and Disorders. During her college years, she was involved in sports and played for her school’s basketball team during her semester abroad in England. She later went on to receive her Ed.D. in Mathematics Education from Rutgers College. Her prior work experience includes teaching in child care, high school, and university levels, and she has an extensive array of published presentations. In 2021, she was awarded the United Way Rockland County Community Impact Award for creating a tutoring program in mathematics and literacy with the East Ramapo Central School District.
During her time at the College, which she describes as “a community of caring,” Dr. Reynolds has most enjoyed watching her students grow into young professionals in the time that they spend on campus. Many of her students have gone onto successful careers under her mentorship, including St. Thomas Aquinas alumna, Samantha Cordone, who was a MST Student in the childhood education program and has worked with Dr. Reynolds in the summer STEAM camps. Dr. Reynolds played a huge role in her success, as she stated that “Math was never truly my favorite subject, but I, like many, was inspired by her passion for her subject matter. Since that time, I have worked with Dr. Reynolds in the STEAM camps. We combined our passions, hers being mathematics and mine being art, to create an engaging experience for students. Now, as a special education teacher for 2nd graders, I use the methods Dr. Reynolds has taught me daily; but more so, I remember to share my passion for subjects with my students, the same way she shared hers with me.”
When she’s not teaching, Dr. Reynolds enjoys reading, traveling, and photography, having won several photography contests. She is very active in her church, serving on the Board for One to One Learning, Inc., which is a mission of the Dominican Sisters. She has had a lifelong passion for music; she plays the piano for her church choir and even met her husband through a community band, which she played the bassoon for.