Montana Council of Teachers

of Mathematics

April MCTM Newsletter

2021 Dean Preble Award Winner

Ms. Marie McBride Vanisko

The Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) is proud to announce Marie McBride Vanisko, as the 2021 recipient of the Dean Preble Memorial Award.

The Dean Preble Memorial is MCTM’s most prestigious recognition and is awarded annually to a Montana educator who has made significant lifetime contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics statewide. Preble awardees are those that have consistently assumed a leadership role among math educators. Teacher-leaders at all levels, kindergarten through university, are eligible.

This award is given in memory of longtime MCTM member Dean Preble of Forsyth, who passed away from cancer in the fall of 1998. Dean was recognized for his unfailing support for mathematics education in the state of Montana. His dedication to the mathematics teaching profession, his love of his students, his involvement in state and national mathematics organizations, and his devotion to the improvement of mathematics education for all were unparalleled.

The MCTM selection committee is honored to recognize Ms. Marie McBride Vanisko both for her leadership role in math education and for her commitment to the best possible math instruction. MCTM has given $300 to the Carroll College Al Murray Scholarship Fund in Marie's honor.

Ms. Marie McBride Vanisko dedicated her life to mathematics education and would be a notable and honorable posthumous selection for the Dean Preble Award from the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). Marie earned her BA in mathematics (Maxima Cum Laude) in 1967 from Carroll College and her MA in mathematics in 1967 from the University of Montana. She also held Montana Secondary Teaching Certificates in Mathematics and Physics, successfully took the National Teachers Examination, and completed the first 6 actuarial examinations.

From 1967 to 2002, Marie worked at Carroll College and rose to Full Professor in the Mathematics Department. Additionally, she worked as a visiting professor and lecturer at the United States Military Academy at West Point and at California State University--Stanislaus from 2002 to 2007 before returning to Carroll College until she retired in 2013 in Helena, Montana.

Marie had a major role in grants for the MCTM starting in 1985 and continuing for over 15 years. She was both a contributor and Grant Fiscal Officer for the following MCTM grants:

  • Leading Mathematics into the 21 st Century

  • Integrating Mathematics and Computer Technology (IMPACT)

  • Excellence in Montana Mathematics Education (EMME) and

  • The Systemic Initiative for Montana Mathematics and Science (SIMMS)

Each listed grant allowed MCTM to play a major role in the mathematics education of Montana teachers. IMPACT, a curriculum writing project involving middle school and secondary teachers and the use of technology, led to Marie’s influence for change in the Carroll math department where she led in the use of technology and truly changed the program affecting secondary teachers. EMME, a program for elementary teachers involved the Council, The University of Montana, and Montana State University, produced Board members and Presidents for the Council for literally decades. Finally, Marie was a primary leader in the SIMMS Project handling finances for the university awards and the Council, negotiating the non-profit status of the Council, and keeping the financial records accurate for both universities’ financial officers. On the SIMMS Steering Committee, she was a source of wisdom. All MCTM members owe her a debt of gratitude for that incredible work.

Marie received many awards and honors, one of the last being the 2015 Doug Faires’ Award for contributions to COMAP’s HiMCM and MCM for her lifetime of support of the high school and college-level national and international mathematics contests for modeling applications to solve real-life problems. She not only sponsored and aided award-winning teams of students but also brought national leaders on mathematics modeling to Montana to help teachers across the state get involved. In a 2017 conversation with a former West Point professor, she was praised for her work in this area.

Marie’s impressive dedication was given to colleagues, students, and the education community. She gave time and energy to spread her enthusiasm for mathematics education, to work for the advancement and leadership of Montana mathematics in the nation, and to support national efforts at improvement in teaching and learning. We strongly support Marie McBride Vanisko for a posthumous 2018 Dean Preble Award for her lifetime of mathematics achievements in Montana and beyond.