Tributes pour in from across the world for Newport 'maths teaching hero'

The death of a 'true legend in maths' from Shropshire has seen teachers and learners all over the world pay tribute.

Don Steward at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock with fellow staff
Don Steward at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock with fellow staff

Don Steward, who taught maths at Newport Girls High School until 2015, ran a popular blog sharing his enthusiasm for the subject and activities for other teachers to use.

Mr Steward was born in 1950 and influenced hundreds of pupils around the region during his lifetime. He worked for 46 years in Shropshire's schools, including as a maths advisor for Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council, as well as a year in Birmingham.

He taught students at several schools across the region including the then Madeley Court School and the old Phoenix Academy, Sundorne School in Shrewsbury, Oldbury Wells in Bridgnorth and the William Brookes School in Much Wenlock.

Dozens of tributes from around the country were posted online in the days following Mr Steward's death earlier this month. Scores of teachers shared their memories of him and his work using the Twitter hashtag #DonSteward.

The Mathematical Association called him a "true legend" in a statement.

It said: "Don Steward was a much-loved member of the maths education community. In 2007 he started writing a series of blogs in order to share the rich tasks that he had created for his students.

"Don regularly posted on his blogs for over a decade. He shared hundreds of tasks, to the delight of maths teachers. He took great pride in his work.

"The rise of social media helped spread the word about his blog, which received millions of visitors from all over the world. He had an exceptional talent for task design. He was known for his clever creativity, as well as his generosity.

"Don Steward was a true legend in the maths education community. He made both students and teachers think deeply. He will be greatly missed."

Michael Scott, the current headteacher at Newport Girls High School (NGHS), said: "Don chose to end his career at NGHS after having taught thousands of students the joy of mathematics in schools around the region.

"He helped shape the careers of many who worked for and with him and his keen interest in IT is evident from his maths blog, which has been used by teachers across the country (and no doubt around the world) to find new ways to support pupils' learning.

'A maths teaching hero'

"Don's children have been touched by the words of support and memories from happier times which have been shared by our staff and former students.

"Whilst I joined NGHS after Don's retirement, it is clear from the conversations I have had with colleagues just how many lives he enriched through his love of his subject, and more importantly by being a good friend and mentor. Rest in peace."

Those who knew Mr Steward can leave their own tributes on the school website, and they will be passed to his family.

Jo Morgan, a maths teacher who writes her own blog, wrote: "I only met Don Steward a handful of times but he meant so much to me.

"When I looked at his blog, I couldn't believe my eyes. I was shocked that all these amazing tasks had been written so long ago and I hadn't even known they existed.

"And they were free! I started using Don's tasks in my teaching at every opportunity. I fell in love with his blog.

"I didn't know Don well. I saw him as a mentor. A maths teaching hero.

"There are many people in the maths teaching community who knew Don Steward far better than I did, and my heart goes out to them. And of course my sincere condolences go to Don's family and friends.

"Don was a true legend, and I think I speak for all maths teachers when I say that we will forever treasure his memory."

Mr Steward's blog can be found at donsteward.blogspot.com/.

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