Donna Lillis earned her BS in Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo and MS in Education from Canisius College. Ms. Lillis is a first grade teacher at Union East Elementary in the Cheektowaga Central School District. In her 21st year of teaching at Union East, Donna is even more in love with listening to how her students problem solve and make sense of the math all around them than she was in her first year of teaching! Promoting mathematical experiences with math tools for thinking which align to the Common Core standards is Ms. Lillis’ teaching passion. Donna believes that the deep concrete understanding her students make about the part whole relationship and the meaning of addition and subtraction from the rekenrek, number balance, and Digi-Blocks empowers them to persevere through progressive tasks by posing their own math questions with their math partners and justifying them with multiple strategies in their daily math journal which deepens the daily richness of their family math conversations. Ms. Lillis has presented videos of her class’ interactive mathematical community at local, regional, and national conferences. Donna enjoys participating in Math Landscape Courses to deepen her pedagogy and content knowledge. It is an honor for Donna to learn from and with Master Teachers in the Diverse Learners Team, Engineering Design Team, and Book Study Team because of their deep commitment to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders!