REVERE — For as long as she can remember, Erin Cronin has loved numbers.
And it’s finally paid off.
The 30-year-old Revere High School Advanced Placement (AP) calculus teacher has been named the 2018 Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teacher of the Year.
“I always enjoyed my math and science classes more than any of the other subjects,” she said. “If I ever have the opportunity to work on a math problem, I do.”
Cronin will be honored at the 2018 Massachusetts STEM Summit in November at Worcester’s DCU Center. Her school will receive $5,000 to be used to support STEM education.
As a Saugus High School student, Cronin was a member of the National Honor Society where she tutored classmates in math. As a Harvard University undergraduate, the math major became a teacher’s assistant for introductory math courses.
“That was my intro to teaching calculus,” she said. “I really enjoyed it and taught my own section and loved interacting with the freshmen.”
After her graduation from Harvard in 2009, she taught at St. Mark’s School, a co-educational, preparatory school in Southborough. Cronin later received her state teaching credential in a master’s program for secondary math at Boston University.
While her math class is split between boys and girls, there’s a perception that STEM is for boys only, she said.
“I’m an example that STEM is not just for boys,” she said. “My highest-achieving students are female.”
Cronin wonders why parents give their children a pass if they don’t do well in math.
“I often hear parents say ‘I couldn’t do math and look at me, I’m just fine’ and they get defensive,” she said. “But no one would think it was OK if someone couldn’t read at a basic level.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft launched the Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year initiative in 2012. The goal is to recognize a Bay State teacher making significant contributions to STEM education.
The winning teacher is also honored with tickets and pregame field passes at a Patriots home game and is invited to serve on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council for one year.
As the nation celebrates National Teacher Month, Cronin said she was surprised to win the award.
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “I’m just doing my job and trying to be there for my students. I don’t necessarily feel every day that I’m going above and beyond.”
But Michelle McGlone, the Kraft Group’s education coordinator, disagrees.
“Erin’s dedication to her students is second to none,” she said. “We had so many great teachers nominated for this award and selecting one winner is a significant challenge, but Erin certainly earned it.”