WCU’s Harold Williford awarded mathematics organization’s highest honor

CULLOWHEE – A statewide organization of mathematics educators recently bestowed its highest honor on Western Carolina University faculty member Harold Williford in recognition of his 27 years of exemplary service to mathematics education in North Carolina.

Williford, associate professor in WCU’s department of mathematics and computer science, received the W.W. Rankin Memorial Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education at the annual state conference of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

A native of Southern Pines, Williford earned his bachelor’s degree at Pfeiffer College and master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics education at the University of Georgia. He taught at Georgia State University, Pfeiffer College, East Carolina University and in Rowan and Carteret county schools before joining the Western Carolina faculty as an assistant professor in 1990. Williford served as head of WCU’s department of mathematics and computer science from 1996 until 2000.

“We are very proud of Dr. Williford’s work throughout the state on behalf of the mathematics education of North Carolina students,” said Kathy M.C. Ivey, head of the department of mathematics and computer science. “He currently works closely with our preservice teachers in K-12 mathematics education, where he has been a tremendous influence on many teachers now in the classroom.”

Williford also has been a speaker and leader at state and national education conferences, and has authored articles and served as the editor of the Centroid, the NCCTM journal.

NCCTM is an organization of mathematics educators from all grade levels, elementary school through college. The W.W. Rankin Award is named in honor of the late W.W. Rankin, a longtime leader in mathematics education and professor at Duke University. Traditionally, the award has been presented to between one and three individuals each year in recognition of outstanding service and contributions to mathematics education.

Williford is the fourth member of Western’s faculty to receive the Rankin Award. He also received the NCCTM’s Innovator Award in 1998 for his role in establishing the State Mathematics Contest, an annual competition that involves about 10,000 students.