National Board of Directors

The Pentathlon Institute National Board of Directors volunteer their time to serve on the Board.  This board, made up of people from around the United States who are or have been involved as Educators at All Levels, Administrators, Directors, PTA Members, Business Owners, Financial Advisors, Program Manager, Insurance Agent, Politicians, and Lawyers.  Each year this board meets in Indianapolis, IN at the National Headquarters to review the year and make suggestions and plans for the future to better meet the needs of Pentathletes and their communities.


Current Board of Directors

John del Regato Originator

Mary Gilfeather President

René LeBlanc VP

Kathy Flemming

Tad Davis

Laura Dodds

Chris Greig

Jeff Lovelace

Matthew Strzynski


Dr. John C. del Regato, Honorary Member

Title
President of Pentathlon Insitute, Inc. since 1985-2016
The originator of Mathematics Pentathlon games
Founding Member of Pentathlon Institute, Inc.

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
In 1977 I began to research various formats or what I call frameworks for games. In 1978 I began in earnest to design the set of games now known as the Mathematics Pentathlon Games. The first tournament using these games was held in 1979 in honor of the International Year of the Child.

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
Game designer and editor. Mathematics Supervisor, Game Leader, Division Director, Center Director, and assistant to the National Director.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I believe students need a challenging active participation in mathematical concepts and skills. Properly designed games can do this while stimulating a growth in strategic thinking.


Dr. Mary Gilfeather

Title
President, Pentathlon Insitute 2016-Present
Co-National Director, Mathematics Pentathlon

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
1979

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
My first role was as a 4th-5th grade classroom teacher. This was my first year teaching and I was one of 3 educators to implement the Mathematics Pentathlon games and send students to the First Mathematics Pentathlon Academic Tournament in 1979.

Since then I have served as a math staff development consultant and workshop presenter for school districts nationwide. I have also presented this program to numerous national and state professional conferences for over 20 years. Since 1989 I have worked full time for the Pentathlon Institute. My responsibilities include: scheduling, coordinating and conducting, and standardizing National Math Pentathlon Academic Tournaments; writing publications including Adventures in Problem Solving Books I and II and Investigation Exercises Books I and II that connect the Math Pentathlon games with curriculum and assessment as well as national and state standards; updating and clarifying Math Pentathlon Game Manuals; maintaining quality and price control with vendors for all Math Pentathlon materials; and promoting the Math Pentathlon Program nationwide.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
My experience with this program so fundamentally affected my beliefs about how students learn mathematics that I pursued and received my doctorate in 1989 at Indiana University in curriculum and instruction and mathematics education. My dissertation used the Math Pentathlon games as an integral part of my research and affirmed many of the tenets underlying the basis of this program. These principles include: 1) students best develop meaningful learning of math concepts and relationships when taught in a conceptual manner using appropriate physical and pictorial models; 2) spatial reasoning is a key factor in students development of problem-solving skills; and 3) students self-esteem is enhanced when they feel confident about their conceptual understanding of math and their ability to use a variety of strategies to resolve problems that undergo change. This, in turn, affects students’ achievement in mathematics in the classroom and real life.

Thirty years later, I am still amazed at how the Math Pentathlon Program fundamentally affects the lives of students of all ages. By involving the entire educational community, this program including the Annual National Mathematics Pentathlon Academic Tournaments, motivates student of varying abilities and learning styles to enjoy math and spend more time learning it. What a joy and privilege it has been to be a part of this program that facilitates students being better problem-solvers and enjoying this process with family and friends!


Rene LeBlanc

Title
Vice President, Pentathlon Institute
Associate National Director Pentathlon Institue
Member and Presenter, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Former Principal, Maplewood Elementary School, Austin Independent School District
Educational Professional Since 1986: Austin ISD ~ Elementary/Middle School/Administration, Texas State University, Center for Professional Development and Technology, Educational Institute Accreditation Review

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
1994

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
Back in the mid-1990s, I used the Mathematics Pentathlon program to bring elementary campuses together with different populations so students and parents would have exposure and get to know one another in a cooperative/academic setting before attending middle school. We saw what a great success this was and eventually brought it to other schools in and around Austin. The program grew into what is now one of the largest centers in the United States. I volunteered for many years as a supervisor, teacher, trainer, game leader, scorekeeper, and director. Currently, my role with the institute is co-director at the national level. This is a rewarding role and I truly enjoy working with the teachers, parents, administrators, and the wide variety of communities.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
As a past school principal, I know how important it is to bring quality problem-solving experiences to all of the students. What is equally important is the meshing of teachers and parents working together for the common good of the child. The Mathematics Pentathlon Program meets both of these important qualifications and MUCH MORE. Students learn to work together in a learning environment that includes sharing ideas, discussing strategies, working with respect in group situations, learning how to deal with differences, learning how to be reflective in decision making, etc. As for a math program K-7, I can not say enough about the use of different manipulatives used in the learning process and the strong connections with the Problem-Solving Books and Exercises Binders.


Mary Kathleen Fleming

Title
Secretary of the Pentathlon Board of Directors
Teacher (11 years)
Principal (32 years)
Curriculum Committee – Archdiocese of Indianapolis Art, Music and Physical Education
Board of Education Commission – Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Treasure of Arch Principal’s Association
Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Commission
Textbook Adoption Committees for Archdiocese Science and Reading
Indianapolis Zoo – Education Commission
Children’s Museum – Advisory Commission
State of Indiana Technology Workshop
National Catholic Education Association – Principal’s Academy
Franklin College – North Central Accreditation Commission
Urban Parish Cooperative Commission

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since?
1981

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I was key in helping the National Directors of the Pentathlon Institute get started in the Indianapolis area by providing space for them to host meetings, workshops, and run their business.  Through the years I have attended and gotten many people to attend their hands-on workshops.  By attending the workshops, leaders in my school and the area became Math Pentathlon club directors and even started after school clubs so students and parents could be more involved in learning.  With the support of our PTO and other PTOs in the area, we were able to better fund the program and reach more students and staff members.  One of the highlights of my year is helping at the tournaments where so many families and schools come together to test their skills and learn life lessons.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I am a firm believer in the goals and procedures that Dr. Del Regato and Dr Gilfeather have instilled in students.  Students went from hating math to loving it!  Most learned for the first time that math has a concrete, pictorial basis in every operation.  They had previously thought of math as a computational skill only.  This awakened them to procedures involving logic and spatial reasoning, Many have become high school math teachers.  One girl even became a  professor and did her thesis on tessellations, a skill learned in the kindergarten and first-grade games, Hex.  Students put away fears of their inferior ability in math and found the games fun little realizing all the skills they were learning.  They frequently came back and told me they did better in high school because of the proficiencies they had learned through the Pentathlon Institute.  To me, they were the best educational tool available for preparing students for a true understanding of math.


Chris Greig

Title
State Representative, Michigan’s 37th District (Farmington/Farmington Hills)
Vice-Chair, Women’s Progressive Legislative Caucus
Former Executive Director, Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation
Past President, Farmington Area PTA Council
Former Membership Chair, Michigan Parent Teacher Association (MPTA)
Former Business Software Application Consultant

Affiliations
Member, Pentathlon Institute National Board of Directors
Member, Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Club
Member, American Association of University Women
Member, Southeast Michigan Tennis Association
Member, Farmington Pledge for Success
Member and Lector, St Gerald Church
BA, University of Notre Dame

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
2001

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I started coaching in 2001 when my youngest son was in first grade. Since then, I have led both elementary and middle school Mathematics Pentathlon school programs and have coached at all levels. I have also served as Game Leader for all divisions. I have also had the pleasure to serve as an MPOS trainer and to assist the Division II tournament directors in the Michigan Center.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
Math is a wonderful bridge between students and adults. And what could be a more fun way to improve in mathematics than by playing math games? The Mathematics Pentathlon program has inspired countless students to look more closely at mathematics – to go beyond the basics of memorization. All three of my sons participated in Mathematics Pentathlon. As a coach, I was able to introduce the program to hundreds of new participants so they could benefit as much as my own children have. Coaching and assisting with the clubs have also been fantastic means for involving more parents in the schools. My work bringing PTA and Mathematics Pentathlon together has substantially strengthened both programs in my district’s schools.


Jeff Lovelace

Title
Director of Product Launch Management
Enterprise Information Services
Eli Lilly and Company

Affiliations
Member, Pentathlon Institute National Board of Directors
Member, Project Management Institute
Member, East 91st Christian Church

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
1989

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I started out as a game supervisor in the Division IV national tournament and eventually moved to be a game leader for Division III. Throughout the years, I’ve been involved with officiating games, fostering good sportsmanship, encouraging children, rallying the crowd during the post-tournament recognition events, and making sure every child knows they are a winner by participating in the national tournaments.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I was introduced to the Pentathlon Institute in 1989 by a Statistician who worked at Eli Lilly and Company. Given my degrees in Math and Computer Science along with Eli Lilly’s mission in the ‘pursuit of scientific excellence’, I began my relationship with the Pentathlon Institute. I started out as a volunteer and have grown my relationship to serve on the Pentathlon’s National Board of Directors.

I believe the Pentathlon Institute has made an important and significant impact on not only our Indianapolis community but communities across the nation. Over the years, I have personally seen the impact the Pentathlon Institute has had not only on central Indiana but the organization has grown to serve communities in Michigan, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and others across the nation. In total, the Pentathlon Institute has directly affected over 30,000 children and indirectly affected a much larger number through the institute’s training programs for teachers and administrators.


Matthew R. Strzynski, Esq.

Title
Member of Pentathlon Institute National Board of Directors
Lawyer representing businesses and individuals and helping them find solutions to all their legal needs

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
2009

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I have played many roles with the Pentathlon at both West Clay Elementary and Creekside Middle School. I originally began as an assistant to the club leader and volunteered as a Game Monitor. Slowly I increased my participation, and now have been the club instructor for Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4, and have served as a Game Leader at the various tournaments around Indianapolis.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
My involvement is actually rather selfish. I really enjoy playing board games with my own children. And when I learned about this club, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to play games that were challenging, and at the same time introduce my kids to some other children who enjoyed math-based activities. Additionally, my kids all participate in athletics, and I wanted to make sure they added activities outside of sports. Finally, now that it has been nearly a decade of involvement, I just really enjoy the program. The school supports the club, the parents are great to work with, and it is rewarding working with the children and watching them move up the various divisions.


Frank W. Davis

Title
Member of Pentathlon Institute National Board of Directors
Facilities Manager, Bristol Brewing Company, Colorado Springs
Party Owner, Valentine Jewelers, Colorado Springs
Former Attorney

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
Board Member Since 1999

Affiliations
Colorado College, BA 1967
University of Denver, JD 1970

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
As an active member of the board, I work with the planning and development of the Institute’s work.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
To support the ongoing work of the founders. I strongly believe that the United States is falling behind in the basics of education, especially math. We do not emphasize enough its value to our lives and its necessity in competing locally and in our global economy. We have to do more and this organization actually accomplishes it. It needs to be implemented on a national basis, step by step. My goal is to see this program being implemented and effectively used throughout the United States and beyond.


Laura J. Dodds

Title
Executive Director – TechPoint Foundation for Youth

Affiliations
Indiana Girls Collaborative Chambions Board Member
City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship Advisory Board Member
IU School of Informatics & Computing-Indianapolis iDEW Advisory Board Member
Women & Hi-Tech Coach
VEX IQ Robotics, Sidener Academy

Involved in Mathematics Pentathlon Since
Board Member Since 2012

What roles have you played in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I began in a supporting role when my twins got connected in 2012 as 2nd graders. After watching my kids build confidence in math through participation, I became committed to making sure they had the opportunity to continue participating throughout their educational careers. In 2014, I took over the Division III team at our school and coached a team of 12 Pentathaletes. In addition, my role at TechPoint Foundation for Youth has allowed me to help start additional teams throughout Indianapolis. Today, our Foundation remains committed to connecting Mathematics Pentathlon programming to local schools by finding volunteer coaches and purchasing the games for new teams in low-income schools.

Why are you involved in Mathematics Pentathlon?
I believe Math Pentathlon teaches core math concepts in a fun, creative ways that ultimately inspires kids to not only love learning math but also to feel confident in their math abilities.


A Tribute to:

Dr. John del Regato

The Originator of Mathematics Pentathlon Games

 

Dr John del Regato was known by many titles:

  • The honorable title of Dad – by Kelly and David
  • The endearing title of Johnny – by his two sisters Nita and Ann
  • The title of son, friend, brother, mentor, teacher, professor, brother-in-law, co-musician, uncle, and by the Pentathletes the title of “The Game Master”, and even Bunny Bear.
  • And the names he cherished the most “My Soul Mate” & “The Love of My Life” – by Mary

His life’s story, the way he saw the world through music, and the path he chose is what makes John such an incredible man that is cherished by so many people.

Telling one’s story is never easy or complete because of the road one travels, the people they met, and the music they make as they move through this world.  My hope is by sharing what I knew of John that we all may look at life a little differently and choose our paths with others in mind, make our light shine for others to enjoy, and play our song to bring hope, laughter, and love.

John, a rare human being, intellectually gifted but with not an iota of arrogance, kind and generous to a fault and committed to advancing justice to all people, was born in Columbia, MO to Juan and Inez del Regato on June 24, 1945.  At the age of 3, the family moved to Colorado Springs.  He used to kid about his first childhood home in Colorado Springs and how he would run up and down the stairs in this home.  How there was a cowboy corral across the lake of his back yard and how the Olympic ice skaters would practice there.  He would smile as he described this enchanting home and a twinkly would shine in his eye.  On one occasion we had work to do in Colorado Springs so he took me to tour his first home.  With a big smile, we pulled in the large circular driveway and a gentleman opened our door and said, “Welcome to The Broadmoor Hotel”.  You see that really wasn’t his home, but a patient of John’s father had them stay there until their permanent home was found.  This place, along with the real family home filled John with many fond memories and stories he shared with others throughout his life.

In the early 1950s, he became close friends with Oliver Brown, an African American classmate that attended elementary school with him.  Oliver’s friendship meant more to John than anyone ever knew.  However, no one would realize how much of an impact Oliver and their experiences together would have on John till later in life.  You see, one day Oliver and John decided to see a movie and the person selling the tickets would not let Oliver in the theater because of the color of his skin.  This shocked John because he didn’t see the pigment of a person’s skin but rather a classmate and friend.  This was John’s first experience with racism and profoundly impacted his life from that day forwarded.  If you knew John you knew he NEVER could tolerate ANY form of prejudice (color, religion, gender, background, etc.)

During one of our many late-night conversations (from education to music, to injustice, to love, to movies, to the latest technology, to history, to novels), I asked him if he had the choice between losing either the sense of sight or sense of sound/hearing what would he choose.  Without blinking he said, “I would lose sight.”  You see John saw sound the way we see the trees and the sky.  Instead of seeing people, he saw the music that came from them.  If a person’s song could reach a little bit higher, didn’t turn others away, thanked them for being a friend, and left everyone with a little more satisfaction, then John was a friend and when John was your friend You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

John’s passion for music ran deep.  He learned how to play the guitar and piano as well as many different percussion instruments.  When he was still living at home he bought records that weren’t being played on any of the stations in Colorado Springs (as he would say, “How many times can you listen to “How much is that doggie in the window”.  He enjoyed the new music so much that he got a short-wave radio, hooked up a long wire to it, stepped out his second-story window, and ran a wire “antenna” way out to a large tree in the yard.  He would then spend countless hours listening to the rowdy rock, verbal antics, and raw rhythm & blues all the way from Shreveport, Louisiana on XERF hosted by Wolfman Jack.  Because of his unique tastes for music and talent with instruments, John was asked to play in a band at an early age.  This allowed him to get into the Crazy Kat as a band member before he turned 18 which set him on fire.

In 1963 he attended Ripon College in Wisconsin where he was introduced to David Hill who became his life-long friend.  And yes, as most college students do their first year in college John focused on academics.  Okay, that’s not so true….actually John, David and 3 other guys formed a band and played at parties and 3 2 bars.   In those days John was known as a musician who was really tight (didn’t make mistakes and precise rhythm, all the pitches are perfectly tuned).  The following year, at the dean’s request, John headed back to Colorado Springs to attend Colorado College.  Somehow, he convinced David Hill to follow him and start a new band.  This new band played all over including The Wagon Wheel.  John graduated from Colorado Springs in 1967.  Later he attended Vanderbilt and The University of London to study Biostatistics

The next year, he was going to visit his friend David in Colorado Springs and was stopped by a guy who asked John for a cigarette.  They talked for a minute and later David told John he was speaking with Jim Morison, the leader of The Doors.

Later John went back to London and while the band he was playing with took its final break he started a conversation with a man sitting next to him.  The man’s name was Jeff, and John said something that must have impressed him because he wanted John to come and record some of his songs at the APPLE Recording Studio (a studio founded by the Beatles).  When John asked him who he was and what he did he said he was Jeff Jampol and he was the manager of The Doors.  John received the call the APPLE Recording Studio…he did not return the call.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

At this time John made one of the biggest decisions of his life, to leave his studies, his band, his music career, and move in with his sister Nita in Wisconsin and enroll at the University of Wisconsin.  He headed U of W High School Math Department and completed his Graduate degree.

He later enrolled in Oregon University and invented a system that teaches Math to the blind via sound.  This achievement was reported in the International Edition of NEWSWEEK. He earned his Doctorate in Mathematics at Oregon U.

In 1977, while being a Professor of Mathematics Education at Saginaw Valley University, John created a legacy of 20 Mathematics Pentathlon Games.

1981-83 Professor Mathematics Education at University of Evansville

1983-85 Professor of Mathematics Education at Butler University

Leap of Faith – Making a Difference – Against All Odds

When John decided to go full time with Mathematics Pentathlon his father discouraged him because the road was unknown and the odds were against him.  John chose his path.  The path he chose was the life he loved that made sure all were included, and none were excluded.  The life that allowed the Year of the Child to live for over 40 more years.  At times he did not know how the next bill would be paid or if there would be enough money for rent.  Somehow, through many years of struggle and smart work, the Pentathlon Institute took form and began to change lives.  He became the Gamechanger.  142,000 Pentathletes have gone through MP.

Over 100,000 Pentathletes, exponential – teachers, parents, siblings, etc.

John was an educational pioneer in Active Problem Solving whose innovations and cutting-edge ideas are still ahead of the times.

Math Pentathlon: Velveteen Rabbit – “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

A friend of John’s who went to school with him and knew him well in the early years said John was good with math because he was bad at it.  This was one area that he struggled with that challenged him and that is why he was so good at teaching Math.  Through his studies, he understood conceptually what math was and he wanted to share that with others.   Intelligence is not so much the capacity to learn as the capacity to wonder.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 


DavidBrownL

Past Member of Board of Directors

Tribute to Dave Brown

It is with a very heavy heart that I must share with all of you that Dave Brown died on August 21, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.  He meant the world to us and we will miss him on so many levels.  We went all the way back to 1984, just a year after John and I moved to Indy and when we were teaching at Butler University.  He joined our Board very shortly thereafter serving for over 30 years.  Words can not describe what a wonderful man he was.  We will honor him on our Board of Director’s Meeting on Friday, December 2, 2016.

David C. Brown, 74, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016.

He was born Nov. 5, 1941, to Cardin Brown and Edith Tinney Brown in Pennsylvania. He married Betsy Trent Brown on July 12, 1997, and she survives him. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served during the Vietnam War. He received a Bronze Star for his service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science in Pennsylvania. Mr. Brown served as an accountant during his time in the Army. He was a certified public accountant at the firm he owned, Brown, Kingry CPA, for several years beginning in 1987. He built his business through longterm relationships with his clients. He previously worked at George S. Olive & Co. until September 1978. He also taught at Butler University years ago.

Mr. Brown was a member of the Indiana CPA Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for over 40 years. He was a longtime board member of Walker Career Center and the Pentathlon Institute.

David enjoyed playing golf, boating and cooking. He was an avid Indianapolis Colts fan and season ticket holder. Most of all, David loved spending time with his family and grandchildren.