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Rick Barlow

2013 Fellow
Fremont High School
Sunnyvale, California

Teaching Discipline


Why Mathematics

“In high school, I struggled with mathematics because there was an emphasis on rote learning and memorization. When I got to college, I realized that mathematics was a rich field of study. There are so many connections and so many different ways to represent a situation using mathematics. I decided to become a math teacher because I wanted to help high school students experience all that mathematics has to offer.”

Professional Experience

Before transitioning to the field of education, Rick worked at Starbucks for seven years. He began teaching at Fremont High School in 2013. In addition to teaching, he serves as the coordinator of the English Language Learner program at his school.


Rick enjoys camping, reading, gardening, and traveling in Guatemala.

Academic Background

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Master of Arts in Education)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics)


I am grateful for the opportunity to create a space where I can support students as they work through their math anxiety. My high school math experience emphasized speed and correctness—two things that really aren't important to understanding mathematics. Now, as a high school math teacher, I love teaching math as a process, and I love helping students understand that making mistakes and reflecting on those mistakes is part of that process.

Rick Barlow
2013 Fellow