The NSF-funded MSP institute is a project that supports outstanding middle school teachers in their quest to become mathematics specialists. Each teacher participates in coursework that leads to a master’s degree and certification as a mathematics specialist. Following the certification, each of the participants will serve as a specialist within their home school districts, coaching other teachers. The research questions addressed by the project are (1) Can we prepare mathematics specialists for service in grades 6–8 by adapting and refining training and induction programs that have served well in K–5 schools? (2) Will this institute produce intellectual leaders in Virginia? (3) Can these specialists impact student learning in grades 6–8 to enhance student success in the middle school curriculum, including algebra? The core partners of this project are Norfolk State University, University of Virginia, and school systems from Arlington County, Buena Vista City, Caroline County, Culpeper County, Fairfax County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Norfolk City, Portsmouth City, Richmond City, Scott County, and Westmoreland County.