Johannah Nikula

Leadership for Learning Innovation

Project Director

E-mail Johannah.

Tel: 617-618-2542

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 brings 15 years of experience designing and studying models of professional development for mathematics teachers. Her particular focus is teachers working with students from diverse backgrounds, and with students who possess varying degrees of proficiency in English.

Nikula is a co–Principal Investigator on Mathematics Coaching Supporting English Language Learners, a project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. She oversees a team that is developing and studying materials that support group professional development and instructional coaching targeted to help middle-grades mathematics teachers enhance the mathematical learning and academic language development of students who are English learners (ELs). In other recent initiatives, Nikula has served as an instructional coach for mathematics teachers of ELs and conducted research that examines the efficacy of geometry-focused professional development materials for teachers of ELs. (Read a blog post by Nikula about her work with mathematics teachers of students who are ELs.)

As a key contributor to the Implementing the Mathematical Practice Standards work funded by the National Science Foundation, Nikula is developing resources and professional development materials that illustrate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP). The goal of this work is to help teachers gain a deep understanding of the SMP and to provide them with strategies to support students in using the SMP.

Nikula has co-authored professional books and chapters on models of mathematics teacher professional development and mathematics teaching and learning. Examples include A Mathematics Leader’s Guide to Lesson Study in Practice; Fostering Geometric Thinking: A Guide for Teachers Grades 5–10; a chapter on Secondary School Students’ Proportional Reasoning; and The Fostering Algebraic Thinking Toolkit: A Guide for Staff Development. Her 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").

In the past Nikula has partnered with Horizon Research, WestEd, and Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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.