Math Masters founder, Lewis Aase and Executive Director, Janel Horner have been named the 2017 Friend of the Gifted by the Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented.
Aase along with Julia Espe spearheaded the first Math Masters event in 1989, collaborating with educators from southeastern Minnesota schools. The Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation and the Austin McDonald’s restaurant provided financial support for that first 150-student event.
Aase says the growth of Math Masters since then is the result of the efforts of many educators interested in providing experiences and challenges for students, along with early support of Austin-area businesses and Austin Public Schools.
Aase directed the program after his 1993 retirement, until Math Masters received non-profit status in 1996 and formed its first board of directors. He continued his service with the program, both as a board member and assisting with event logistics, until 2013. Today he still continues to volunteer his time at local competitions.
Horner’s first experience with Math Masters started in 1999 as a volunteer for regional events. She was named Executive Director in 2009 and continues in that role today.
Horner has enjoyed seeing the growth of Math Masters through the years. In 2016, more than 5,500 students from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Colorado competed at 45 different sites.
Math Masters is supported by The Hormel Foundation, IBM, Rochester Commercial Banks and The Minnesota Twins organization as well as many other individuals and businesses.
Aase and Horner were recognized at the annual Gifted and Talented Mid-Winter Conference on January 29, 2017 in Brainerd.
* The Minnesota Educators for the Gifted and Talented, “Friend of the Gifted” award was started in 1997. It was developed to honor individuals in the state of Minnesota who have supported gifted education through research, curriculum development, and involvement in organizations that support gifted students throughout the state. The recipients are selected by the MEGT board and are presented each year at the state MEGT conference.