Education Technology

Meet the Mom and Math Teacher Who Is Spreading Major Math Love

Posted 07/24/2019 by Ellen Fishpaw

Connor Johnson is the first person at Pope John Paul II High School in Lacey, Washington, to enter into precalculus as a freshman. Where does he get the confidence to pursue an advanced course at such a young age? From his mother, of course, who also happens to be his math teacher. Connor and his sister, Lauryn, both attend the small private Catholic school outside of Olympia, Washington, where they were in the same math class this past year, with their mom, Kimberly Karaman, as their teacher.

Rising senior Lauryn and rising sophomore Connor Johnson, waiting to surprise their mother and math teacher, Kimberly Karaman, the July winner of TI’s Spread the Math Love Contest.

Connor said he was up late one night scrolling Instagram (don’t tell his mom) and saw a post about Texas Instruments’ (TI) Spread the Math Love Contest. He knew immediately that he had to nominate her — a former college math professor turned classroom teacher — because she inspired his deep love of math. In his submission, Connor wrote, “Just as my mom has become a female pioneer of mathematics and technology, I have followed in her footsteps, and because of her, am interested in the same topics.”

Connor went on to say that his mom’s confidence in his abilities is what encourages him to work so hard in class and outside of it. “Her constant belief in me as a mathematician, and the way she has helped me understand complex mathematical concepts, has truly changed my life for the better,” said Connor.

Lauryn and Connor Johnson, along with their dad, surprising their mom as she entered her classroom for what she thought was a meeting with her principal.

Connor, his sister Lauryn and a few of their classmates surprised their mom, Kimberly Karaman, with the news that she was one of the winners of the contest. Karaman came up to the school thinking that she was meeting with the principal, but instead opened the door to find cake, balloons and several of her students screaming, “Surprise!”

Kimberly Karaman received a teacher pack of TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculators for her classroom. That is what her son, Connor, chose as her prize.

“She does so much for us, to be able to finally give back to her, and give her something that will make her life easier, rather than her giving us something that makes our lives easier, is fun,” said Lauryn. As her prize, Karaman won a teacher pack of TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculators so that all of her students can work on the same platform at the same time. “Within one class, I can have four completely different levels of students. Through this opportunity they are going to be able to shine, and that’s really the bottom line.”


It’s not too late to nominate your math hero. Help spread the love of math by recognizing and giving back to the person who helped you build a relationship with numbers. Honor them by sharing your math story for a chance to help them win a math wish at

About the author: Ellen Fishpaw is the Media Relations and Communications Manager for Texas Instruments Education Technology. Before joining TI five years ago, Ellen was a broadcast journalist for 13 years, working at television stations across the country, from North Carolina to New Mexico. She most recently worked for NBC 5 in Dallas as a crime reporter before hanging up the microphone for a TI-84 Plus CE. Follow her on Twitter @ellenfishpaw.