A Math Teacher’s Journey Summed Up


Photo by Livi Wold, taken on January 14, 2021

Lisa Kuroski, a current Algebra II and Accelerated Precalculus teacher at Lambert High School has an impressive academic and professional life. From a systems engineer to a regional technical manager, she has done it all and shares that the secret to her success in both a corporate and academic world derives from a respectful, humble, communicative and inclusive personality.  

The passion for STEM began early on for Mrs. Kuroski because she had an innovative and problem-solving perspective naturally. She shares that the reason for taking heavy amounts of math and science classes throughout her education was because the subjects were enjoyable and came easily to her. 

Mrs. Kuroski shares her process in learning math concepts when explaining,“ I am a visual person…So I always break it apart visually. And just build it a piece at a time. So you can use that strategy for anything.”

Mrs. Kuroski was born in Utah but grew up in many different areas due to her father serving in the Air Force. When she was about two years old, she and her family moved to the Philippines where she began picking up (and eventually becoming fluent in) Filipino. Not long after, she and her family moved to Illinois; finally, at around age 10, they resided permanently on the east coast of Florida for the rest of her childhood. Due to her ever-changing environment, Mrs. Kuroski says that the constant moving taught her to be communicative and respectful—skills she would later depend on for further success in the corporate world.  

Mrs. Kuroski’s college experience exceeded all of her expectations. After finishing up grade school, attending the University of Florida and majoring in computer science was the next step. 

“I bleed orange and blue… I grew up in a very small town,” Mrs. Kuroski marveled. “And I said, there is life in a big city. I got to go experience… the big city.” 

Mrs. Kuroski further explains that the college experience provided her with sworn success staples such as independence and communication. Although she enjoyed numerous factors of college life—such as the newfound learning environments and the large campuses—Mrs. Kuroski shares that the collaborative abilities she obtained were valuable pieces of knowledge that led to her further achievements in the working world. 

Leading to her departure from the University of Florida, Mrs. Kuroski dived straight into the corporate world. With the added skills from her childhood and college life, she led a successful corporate career as a systems programmer (for two years), a systems engineer (for 13 years), and a regional technical manager (for three years). Mrs. Kuroski shares that although these jobs carried stress, she enjoyed the multiple challenges affiliated with them. The biggest corporate project she orchestrated took place in Tallahassee, Florida. The job consisted of a six-month sales cycle where employees needed to sell an application development tool. She states that she was in charge of creating a prototype, training coworkers and assisting in closing deals. 

Mrs. Kuroski explains tasks she had to complete in the sales cycle when sharing,“ I had to do a lot of architecture presentations…[I] had to build all this stuff on the fly in front of them.

Mrs. Kuroski shares that maintaining a mindset that was inclusive, communicative, and respectful was the key to success in all her projects in the working world.  

After a successful decade in the corporate world, Mrs. Kuroski decided to switch gears and begin teaching math even though she wasn’t always interested in it. Math seemed to come easy to Mrs. Kuroski in grade school, and her love of learning, using strategies, making visuals and doing collaborative assignments all led her to her current profession: teaching. 

“I have always loved the study of math, not just as it came easy—because it was just fascinating that it represents the world around us,” Mrs. Kursoki continues. “ I wanted to have a little bit more interaction [concerning her job].”  

She went back to university to earn her master’s degree and continued to teach for six years. Interestingly, teaching was a lot harder than she thought it would be.

“I’ll tell you, teaching—I think—is the hardest profession,” Mrs. Kuroski states. “I thought my other purpose was hard and all the time and the energy and what it takes.”

In order to be successful, she learned during her time in her corporate jobs that team members should be respectful, humble and recognize each other’s contributions. She also learned during her time as a manager that in order to be successful, she needed to recognize the accomplishments of individuals as well as provide opportunities for growth. 

“At the end of the day, success in a career often depends on the cohesiveness of your team members,” Mrs. Kuroski states. “To be successful, you should always be aware of your communication, your delivery, and your audience so you can motivate and inspire individuals to perform at their best.”

As Mrs. Kuroski recollects her journey throughout the working world, she concludes that her biggest gains were not tangible successes such as promotions, career changes, or degrees. Her biggest takeaway was the mindset and character development formed from those experiences. Today, Mrs. Kuroski continues to live by the mindset she has learned: communication and cooperation are the keys to a happy and balanced life.