Math teacher Mr. Tom Sankey was recently nominated to represent HCPSS Mathematics Teachers for the MCTM Outstanding Mathematics Educator Award and has made it to the second round of finalists. This is a prestigious award, and it is clear that Mr. Sankey is well-deserving of this honor.
Sophomore Isabel Byrne, a student in Mr. Sankey’s Precalculus class, is one of many students who sees her math teacher as a significant person in her current and future math career. As a G/T level class, it is a fast-paced curriculum, requiring students to think at a high level and be actively engaged.
“He does a lot to engage the class in a way that is fun,” shared Byrne. She feels that Mr. Sankey does a good job of providing necessary preparation.
“He gives us a lot of practice and preparation, as well as having help sessions before school so that everyone is ready and understands what’s going on in class,” she added.
Not only does he make sure everyone is fully prepared for quizzes, tests and exams, but he also “makes math a fun class that people look forward to coming to,” said Byrne. Having only taken a class taught by Mr. Sankey for a little over one semester, she already wants to take more of his classes in the future.
Senior Morgan Cargiulo is another one of Mr. Sankey’s students — she is currently in his Calculus AB class — who shares similar opinions. As a way to keep the class engaged, “we always do example problems that he does with us on the board to ensure understanding of the topic,” stated Cargiulo.
“He calls on everyone and is always so animated,” she added.
Although it can be challenging to have math first period, as Cargiulo does, she finds the class very enjoyable and even looks forward to attending class in the morning. Cargiulo has found her time with Mr. Sankey to be a prominent part of her high school years.
“Because of his class, I definitely want to continue taking Calc. classes when I go to college next year,” she asserted.
Mr. Sankey, humbled and honored by the award, knew he wanted to be a math teacher since his junior year in high school.
“I took my first Trig course. I loved it,” he said. “I always knew I wanted to teach, but it was during that year that I knew I wanted to pursue math.”
Over the years, Mr. Sankey has implemented different teaching methods, all while setting high standards and expectations for all of his classes. He believes that by doing so, “for the most part, students will rise to meet expectations,” he said.
Feeling that all students are capable of learning the necessary information, Mr. Sankey is always “trying to explore new and different methods to motivate [his] students,” he said. One method that he has found particularly successful is pairing students with partners and having them explain and explore a problem with one another.
There is no doubt that Mr. Sankey has earned the honor of representing Howard County for the Maryland Outstanding Math Educator.
But he humbly said, “When I see the incredible talents of the math teachers in this county in general and especially the brilliance and dedication of my math colleagues here at Hebron in particular, I am very moved.”
Hoping to continue learning from both his colleagues and students, Mr. Sankey’s main goal is to “instill my passion and love of mathematics in my students so that they will be successful and that they will pass that on someday to their own children,” he said.
Many of his students have already received that passion from their math teacher. They want to take more of his classes, and, because of him, are excited for future math classes to come.
As Cargiulo said, “No other class will compare to a Sankey math class.”