Johannah Nikula

Email Johannah Nikula

Johannah Nikula
Project Director II

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313



Johannah Nikula helps teachers make engaging and intellectually stimulating mathematical learning experiences available and accessible to all learners. She specializes in designing and studying models of professional development for mathematics teachers, with a particular focus on working with students from diverse backgrounds and those who possess varying degrees of proficiency in English.

Nikula is co–Principal Investigator of Visual Access to Mathematics: Professional Development for Teachers of English Learners, a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and study a blended face-to-face and online course focused on visual representations and supports for language access. She is also a key contributor to the NSF-funded Implementing the Mathematical Practice Standards initiative, which is developing online resources and professional development materials that support teachers’ understanding and use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP).

Previously, Nikula was co-Principal Investigator on two projects focused on students who are English Learners (ELs). For the NSF-funded Mathematical Record Keeping Supports Cognition and Communication study, she examined features of mathematics tasks that promote student record-keeping and investigated how those task features support cognition and communication for students, in particular for English learners (ELs). For the Mathematics Coaching Supporting English Language Learners project, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), she oversaw a team that developed and studied professional development materials for middle-grades mathematics teachers focused on enhancing the mathematical learning and academic language development of students who are ELs. Nikula has also served as an instructional coach for mathematics teachers of ELs. (To learn more about Nikula’s work with mathematics teachers of ELs, read the recently published book, Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learners.) In addition, she was one of the lead developers of middle grades statistics education resources for the Measuring and Addressing Middle-Grades Misconceptions in Statistics project funded by the NSF.

Nikula’s articles appear in journals such as Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School ("Supporting English Learners—Lessons from Research") and Mathematics Teacher Educator ("Developing Teachers’ Knowledge of a Transformations-based Approach to Geometric Similarity"). She has co-authored numerous professional books and chapters about mathematics teacher professional development and mathematics teaching and learning. Examples include Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learners; A Mathematics Leader’s Guide to Lesson Study in Practice; Fostering Geometric Thinking: A Guide for Teachers Grades 5–10; the chapter "Secondary School Students’ Proportional Reasoning" in Teaching and Learning Mathematics: Translating Research for Secondary School Teachers; and The Fostering Algebraic Thinking Toolkit: A Guide for Staff Development.

Nikula received a BA in psychology with a minor in mathematics from Middlebury College and an EdM from Harvard University Graduate School of Education with a focus on Technology in Education.