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Matt Larson, a former math curriculum specialist who spent a year leading the world’s largest professional organization for math teachers, will become Lincoln Public Schools' interim assistant superintendent for instruction.

Larson will take over for Jane Stavem, who is leaving LPS to become superintendent of Lake Washington School District in the suburbs east of Seattle.

She starts her new job Aug. 1, and her departure presented challenges for LPS officials because of the timing — the assistant superintendent for instruction oversees many last-minute staffing changes and adjustments at the beginning of school.

Superintendent Steve Joel plans a national search at some point for what is one of the district's top jobs, but said Larson is well-equipped to take the reins in the interim.

“Matt is, first of all, incredibly distinguished as an LPS leader and instructional leader,” Joel said. “Instruction is really what he does. He did such a great job in Lincoln (that) the National Council of Math Teachers voted him in as president. He traversed the country and a good part of the globe talking about math and advocating for math.”

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Larson took a leave of absence from LPS to serve two terms as president of the national council, the largest professional organization related to math education in the world for math teachers in K-12 and post-secondary education.

Larson said he launched a number of initiatives during his tenure at the organization, including those related to digital curriculum, making the organization more attractive and accessible for beginning teachers and creating an online community for teachers to share ideas.

“A large part of my work was making sure the council was situated to be successful for a second century,” he said.

He still has responsibilities at the national council, but recently returned to LPS to work part-time as one of the directors of elementary education. The district recently added a second director position because of the growth in the number of elementary schools and students. Larson and former LPS principal Tim Muggy were sharing that job.

Larson, a Northeast High School graduate, earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and began his career at LPS in 1987 as a math teacher at Lincoln High School. He became the district’s math curriculum specialist in 1995. He has also co-authored several professional books.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist.

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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