The substantial opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life is rare. This is the ideal place for me, surrounded by learning, and in a position where I can inspire youth.”

Julia’s Story

Julia Naimy grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan. In school, Julia experienced a lot of deficit messaging around math and at times found the subject to be inaccessible. She stumbled upon the joy in math during senior year when she would meet her friends outside of class to work on math together. These study sessions taught her the value of collaboration and how it can be used as a tool that invites all students to the table to learn math. 

Once Julia decided teaching was her career of choice, it was an easy decision to attend Michigan State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum. After college, Julia moved to Boston, where she has been teaching math ever since. Her students have taught her and continue to teach her more than she can fully express and have held her accountable to be a ‘teacher of students’ before a ‘teacher of math.’ “The relationships with my students are everything. They must feel seen and heard. I will never stop growing in teaching on behalf of them.” Since the beginning of Julia’s teaching career, she has focused on empowering students to work collaboratively in her classroom. She has found the structures she’s implemented for students to work effectively in groups, paired with framing her classroom on students’ strengths, has built the community that is necessary for all students to learn math. Julia deeply reflects on her teaching practice through an equity lens and asks herself ‘who is successful in my classroom and why?’ and ‘how do we even define success?’

Julia has been a Senior Fellow since 2018. Throughout her teaching career, Knowles has provided Julia and her colleagues avenues to impact what’s happening inside their classrooms and make change outside of their classrooms. In 2019, Julia brought in experts to her school for a workshop on equitable group work through a Knowles Seed Grant and continues to support teachers with implementation in their classrooms. “Knowles has supported me to be a teacher and a teacher leader in ways I didn’t know was possible.”