Celebrating Women's History Month with Sandy Wilcox

To celebrate Women's History Month, we'll be spotlighting some of the incredible women who are involved with the Abbe. Our first spotlight is on Abbe Trustee, Sandy Wilcox!

Sandy posing with her two granddaughters, Makenna and Madelyn.

Sandy is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University. For 15 years she was a principal investigator of the Balanced Assessment Project and its successor, the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service, a research and design collaboration among teams at MSU, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and the University of Nottingham (UK). Supported by the National Science Foundation, these collaborations were funded to create exemplary problem-solving tasks to assess students' mathematical performance in grades 3-12, professional development materials for mathematics leaders and teachers on the use of these tasks to support learning, and consultant services to help states and districts implement meaningful and informative mathematics assessments. She is the co-author of numerous articles and research papers, packages of assessment tasks, and a casebook on the use of classroom-based assessment to support student learning and enhance teaching.

Sandy and her husband Jack Russell, who was born on Mount Desert Island, moved to Mount Desert upon her retirement in 2006 and reside in his family home on Echo Lake. Sandy joined the Abbe board in 2008 and served as chair for five years. In addition to her work as Abbe Trustee, Sandy volunteers with Friends of Acadia and the Westside Food Pantry. Her passion for the Abbe comes from the unique role the museum plays as an informal learning institution. This passion is linked, in part, to her desire to teach her seven and ten year old granddaughters, Makenna and Madelyn. The girls live in Arizona but visit MDI each summer, and have now come to expect–and anticipate–a trip to the Abbe.

Sandy marvels at their interaction with the exhibits and what, from year to year, naturally engages them. Whatever it is–student art show, objects in the learning center, stone and bone artifacts, the current exhibit–their interests provide a context to teach them about some aspect of Wabanaki history, culture, and artistic expression. Sandy believes that without the presence of, and points of views expressed at the Abbe, her granddaughters would likely never learn the rich, complex stories of this wonderful place, before and since contact.