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Tori Ball, Upper School Math Teacher and Professional Development Coordinator

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Staff Spotlight: Marnina Cowan

Tori Ball, Upper School Math Teacher and Professional Development Coordinator, is in her 10th year at CESJDS and she still comes to school each day excited to do something new.

Currently teaching Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, and Calculus, Tori loves getting her students talking about math. "'Math is something that you can have a conversation about," she says. "Why does this make sense? How do these ideas interrelate?" Tori particularly enjoys opportunities to connect mathematics to the "big questions" of life. In Precalculus, for example, she uses the sine wave as a model for reflecting on the highs and lows of daily existence. By stimulating conversation and drawing analogies, she helps students connect with math in a wide variety of ways.

Tori received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in Educational Leadership. She especially enjoyed her Master's program for its focus on having a hand in everything within a school. This is exactly who Tori is. In addition to teaching, she coaches the Margolius Family Debate Team, manages the Upper School Professional Development Institute, facilitates student panels at Admission events, and writes the school's annual Purim Shpiel.

"I enjoy working at CESJDS because I get to be fully myself and make use of a broad range of talents. I like the feel of the school; the faculty is energetic, enthusiastic, creative and intellectually-stimulating. I am surrounded by smart people with interesting ideas," Tori said.

Tori is a 5th-generation Washingtonian, and currently lives in Takoma Park. According to her, she receives an A+ in summer vacation every year. While intensely focused on school for 10 months of the year, she takes her time off very seriously. Tori enjoys road-tripping (having driven cross-country five times), visiting America's National Parks, hiking, and backpacking. This past spring break, she backpacked the bottom of the Grand Canyon - and this past summer, she embarked on a solo ten-day circumnavigation of Mont Blanc that took her through France, Italy, and Switzerland.

An avid reader and writer (and former Creative Writing teacher), Tori has big plans to pen her own David Sedaris-esque memoirs when she retires from teaching. "Don't worry - I'll use pseudonyms when I tell my school stories!" she says.

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