Math instructors honored for excellent teaching

  • Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019

RTC faculty Elizabeth Flanagan and Marty Cooksey poses with their awards next to the emcee and Mrs. Renton winnerImage provided by the Renton Chamber of Commerce (Gary Palmer, photographer).

Two Renton Technical College math instructors who help remove barriers to college were recognized as among the best teachers in Renton. Marty Cooksey and Elizabeth (Demong) Flanagan were honored with Ahead of the Class awards.

The Ahead of the Class awards are a partnership between the Renton Chamber of Commerce, Renton public and private schools, and Renton businesses. They were recognized along with the other Top 10 Finalists at a ceremony April 18.

Cooksey and Flanagan have restructured RTC’s math courses to better serve as a bridge to college-level courses. That means students can complete their math requirements in less time while being better prepared. RTC received a grant from College Spark Washington for the math pathways redesign.

In addition, the pair spearheaded a partnership to allow career students with the Renton School District’s Career and Technical Education Division (CTE) to receive both high school and college credit for a financial algebra class. Dual credit agreements have been in place for many years through many colleges throughout Washington State, but have historically had low transition rates from high school to college for CTE students. This partnership, which also includes class visits to RTC for campus tours, aims to change that.

Elizabeth and Marty speaking from the podiumImage provided by the Renton Chamber of Commerce (Gary Palmer, photographer).

“Student success and equity are at the heart of RTC’s mission,” RTC President Kevin McCarthy said. “The important work Marty and Elizabeth are doing shows their commitment to seeing all students succeed.”

The Ahead of the Class awards are part of the Chamber's effort to enhance community awareness of the excellence of education in Renton.