One Of Virginia’s Best

Innovative Peak View Teacher Named Elementary Math Educator Of The Year

Posted: February 23, 2013

Eric Imbrescia, third-grade teacher at Peak View Elementary School, instructs (left to right) Kyle Dutt, 8, Denali Judd, 9, and Vanessa Jimenez, 8, during an exercise with a fraction formula game Wednesday. Imbrescia was named math teacher of the year by the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Eric Imbrescia, third-grade teacher at Peak View Elementary School, helps students during an exercise with fractions on Wednesday. Imbrescia will be presented the 2013 William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year award on March 8 in Virginia Beach.
PENN LAIRD — Often in Eric Imbrescia’s third-grade math class, students don’t even notice that they’re learning.
That’s because instead of lecturing about simplifying fractions or probability, Imbrescia often dresses up the concepts in a game, one of the signatures of the award-winning math teacher’s methods.
“It’s just more fun for them,” said Imbrescia, who is the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ 2013 William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year for the elementary school level.
The council, a nonprofit resource for the state’s math educators, named Imbrescia the winner of the award at the end of January. He has been teaching third grade at Peak View Elementary School in Penn Laird for 10 years.
The other cornerstone of his math class is a belief that the answers are not as important as how students arrive at them.
“I teach math through a problem-solving-based approach,” he says, meaning that simply writing “27 + 5” on a piece of paper and doing traditional addition is out the window.
Instead, Imbrescia encourages students to come to the answers through their own reasoning, using methods such as drawing or counting.
“They don’t have a right way to do it, they construct their own understanding and derive their own meanings,” he said. “The information really connects with them. They can solve it in whatever way they want.”
He learned the teaching method through the math specialist master’s program he’s completing at James Madison University.
“He’s a really good math teacher,” said 9-year-old Emma Coakley of Harrisonburg. “We have a lot of fun [and] he really helps us learn. He uses other ways to teach us other than just telling us.”
Imbrescia will be presented the mathematics educator of the year award March 8 in Virginia Beach, alongside the teachers who won the award for the middle, secondary, university and math specialty levels.
“It was neat to be recognized and for [the council] to recognize that these [methods] work,” he said. “Hopefully, it brings a better awareness to the county [and of this teaching method].”
Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

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