CMC-Summit County honors 2 top teachers |

CMC-Summit County honors 2 top teachers

Suzie Romig
Special to the Daily
CMC/Jim Lamb

BRECKENRIDGE – Even with multiple degrees from American and French colleges and a master’s degree in mathematics, CMC associate professor Benedicte Manwaring is not afraid to say she struggles in her work.

“I struggle just the way the students struggle. I had to work to understand math, but I really, really enjoyed it,” said the instructor who teaches classes ranging from survey of calculus, to math for liberal arts majors, at the Summit Campus of Colorado Mountain College.

Manwaring and Joanne Yantz, who teaches English, business and education classes at the college, were recently named full-time and adjunct faculty of the year, respectively, for CMC’s Summit Campus.

Overcoming own challenges can make an instructor more accessible

Math instructor Manwaring – who goes by “Bee” – lets her students know right away that she suffers from dyslexia and that she, too, was a community college student.

“I think it’s just my understanding of what they are going through,” said Manwaring, the campus’s math and sciences department chair since 2008. “I was plagued with dyslexia with numbers and have learned to control it, to double-check everything. I take my time when I teach, and students don’t feel as intimidated.”

The math professor is happy when students correct her with good humor when her brain switches a number or symbol. In turn, students say they appreciate Manwaring’s humorous and composed teaching style. She also has advised local students who have excelled in the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges national math competition the past two years.

“Benedicte’s innovative approach to teaching mathematics has created an environment that allows students to move beyond their mathematics-based anxiety,” a team of colleagues wrote in the letter nominating her for the award. “Student success is central to Ms. B.’s approach to teaching as verified by the math lab she established for students.”

Manwaring helps create a love of math in her students, just as her father did for her. When she was 6 years old and living in Madagascar with her family, she contracted a virus that destroyed her immune system. She spent more than 18 months living in a protective bubble in a French hospital, unable to touch things such as books, so her father schooled her verbally in complex math riddles.

As a healthy adult, the French-speaking Manwaring studied and taught in Florida, where she perfected her second language, English. She and her husband bought a second home in Summit County in 2005, and she fell in love with the area.

“The first time I came here, I told my husband you are welcome to go back to Florida, but I am staying here,” she said with a laugh.

When not teaching she spends her time running, road biking, reading math books and volunteering with the local Rotary Club, but the 43-year-old feels most at home in the math classroom.

“I just enjoy it so much; when I enter a classroom, it’s where I belong,” she said. “I am fascinated by mathematics; it’s never ending.”

Campus leaders honored another experienced instructor and Colorado transplant who fell in love with Summit County. Part-time English, business and education instructor Joanne Yantz was recently named adjunct faculty member of the year for the campus.

An energetic 57-year-old, Yantz had retired after teaching 31 years in New Jersey schools and moved permanently to Colorado. Her retirement lasted only four months before she started teaching at Colorado Mountain College in early 2006. She teaches English composition I, creativity in the young child, business communication and report writing. She also helped to develop the Summit Base Camp, a first-year experience program for new CMC students.

“Joanne is always willing to help out whenever and wherever she is needed,” said Dr. Dawn Zoni, college counselor at the campus, in Yantz’s award nomination letter.

“I just enjoy working with students. I taught from kindergarten to graduate school,” Yantz said.

In her free time, Yantz enjoys outdoor activities, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with her husband and two dogs.

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