Growing up, Grace E. Quinlan struggled with the subject of mathematics. However, with the help of her fourth grade teacher, she began excelling in multiplication, which caused her to develop a love for mathematics. Her passion for teaching children, coupled with her interest in mathematics, led her to pursue a career in elementary education. Upon graduating high school, she attended Molloy College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics in 1970. Ms. Quinlan concluded her academic efforts with a Master of Education from Queens College in 1975.
Ms. Quinlan began her career a teacher in 1970. Five years later, she joined New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Union Free School District, where she would serve the role of a mathematics teacher until her retirement in 2011. During her tenure with the institution, she was primarily responsible for teaching and tutoring mathematics, creating the yearly curriculum, developing staff members and presenting at mathematics conferences locally. During her first few years with New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Union Free School District, Ms. Quinlan taught in the classroom before taking over the district’s mathematics program full-time. She would go on to teach kids who had learning issues in the subject of mathematics, which is reminiscent of what she experienced in her youth as a student.
Today, Ms. Quinlan excels as an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College – a position she has held since 2014. She briefly taught a semester at her alma mater, Molloy College, and continues to tutor students part-time. In a career filled with several highlights, she most proud of being able to get her students to like mathematics. When she interacts with her former students as adults, they always remember how great she was to them and express their gratitude to have had her as their teacher. It gives her extreme satisfaction to know what kind of an impact she’s had on people. Another memorable moment for Ms. Quinlan was being named Nassau County Math Teacher of the Year in 2002.
Ms. Quinlan attributes her success to creating a comfortable environment for her students to learn in. She used alternative ways to teach mathematics – no worksheets, lots of visuals and a game-style approach to teaching. With her unorthodox methods, she made the classroom fun, so the students didn’t even realize they were learning simultaneously. The advice that Ms. Quinlan offers fellow members or others aspiring to work in the field is to remain patient and non-judgmental towards the children, while maintaining an affirmative attitude. Throughout her career, she was lucky to have mentored by other teachers in the field.
What separates Ms. Quinlan from others in her profession would be her work ethic. She hopes that she is remembered by her peers as a patient woman, who prided herself in making her students comfortable and providing an ideal learning environment. In an effort to remain abreast of developments in the field, she maintains an active membership with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State and the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association. Outside of her primary endeavors, she enjoys traveling and attending cruises in her spare time. In the next five years, Ms. Quinlan would like to continue tutoring students of all ages while teaching at Nassau Community College. In addition, she and her husband, Edward, would like tp to Canada and initially planned to go to Alaska, but COVID-19 prevented that. Ultimately, she wants to stay healthy and get together with friends in a local setting.