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Dec. 4, 2019

Swink named Missouri Outstanding Mathematics Educator

By Leah Newell, communication assistant


Brian Swink

Brian Swink

Brian Swink, a Northwest Missouri State University instructor of mathematics and statistics, is the recipient of the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (MCTM) 2019 Missouri Outstanding Mathematics Educator Award for post-secondary educators.

Swink will receive the award Friday, Dec. 6, at the organization’s annual meeting in Columbia, Missouri.

“Five years ago, I left a job I loved teaching in a local elementary school for the opportunity to teach in higher education,” Swink said. “I had no idea how my teaching methods would be received by college students, so I worked hard to live up to Northwest’s focus on student success – every student, every day. This award makes me think I’m on the right track.”

Dr. Christine Benson, the chair of Northwest’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, commends Swink on his outstanding teaching and service.

“He is a gem in the classroom, reaching students where they are with his humor and deep understanding of the content that allows him to come up with contextual examples that help students really understand mathematics,” Benson said. “Students request him by name – not because he is easy but because they have confidence that they can learn from him."

Swink serves as MCTM’s northwest regional director. As part of efforts to increase MCTM’s membership, he has organized regional elementary mathematics contests and established a new high school contest site in the region. He also visits schools to share MCTM’s mission, resources and benefits.

He has helped the MCTM executive board establish a year-long social media calendar, increasing the organization’s Facebook views by 41 percent in one month while targeting posts to recruit new members.

MCTM’s mission is to support all mathematics educators and promote high quality instruction. With a membership of about 1,000 current and retired mathematics educators, the organization hosts contests for elementary, middle and secondary school students throughout the state. MCTM also awards grants to Missouri teachers, and Outstanding Mathematics Educator Awards are given out at its annual conference every December.

Swink joined the Northwest faculty in 2015 after 13 years of teaching in the Maryville R-II School District. He is the lead instructor for the mathematics strategies course for elementary education and early childhood majors. He also implemented and directs the first-year mentoring program through which first-year mathematics and mathematics education majors have the opportunity to partner with an upperclassman of the same major. Swink is a member of the Council on Teacher Education at Northwest, and he is the mathematics department coordinator for the elementary education and early childhood major programs.

His academic interests include co-requisite instruction implementation, standards for mathematical practice and mathematical discourse as a means for social learning. He has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in elementary mathematics, both from Northwest.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704