Cooke accepts new position in Raleigh
Amy Cooke said that some of her best memories of Isothermal Community College (ICC) are the graduations. She has been the Director of College and Career Readiness at ICC four years and is leaving to become the coordinator of professional development and technical support with the North Carolina Community College system in Raleigh.
"I will still be working with College and Career readiness but it will just be at the state level," Cooke said. "I decided to pursue the job because of my experience here at Isothermal, getting to know the students and really developing a passion for what the community college does for the citizens. When I saw it posted I thought it sounded like a wonderful opportunity."
Cooke's first day on her new job is Monday, April 21. She will work with College and Career Readiness instructors and directors at community colleges across the state to help support their programming.
"I'm looking forward to working with other educators, listening to their ideas and being able to share that with other programs," Cooke said.
Prior to working at ICC, Cooke worked with intellectually gifted students in Rutherford County Schools and taught sixth-grade math and science.
"It's ironic because when I started school, they didn't have kindergarten back then, and I didn't want to go. I was having too much fun at home," Cooke said. "I cried for two weeks before I finally got into it. Now I'm still in school, I'm working on my doctorate at Western Carolina University."
She also has strong roots in Rutherford County. She grew up in Bostic and her parents are the owners of Washburn's General Store.
"I'll be traveling some and when I'm in the west I can stay at home," Cooke said "I don't feel like I'm leaving Isothermal, I just feel like I'll be working with Isothermal through a different lens. I'll still be giving support but it will be from a different location."
Cooke said one of the things she will miss about ICC is seeing the transformation of the students through the adult high school and GED programs.
"When they come in a lot of times they haven't had a good experience being in the traditional school setting for whatever reason. When they start they are a little apprehensive but then they realize that this is a place they can be successful," Cooke said. "Usually when they come they just think they are going to get their GED or high school diploma but as they start going through then they are looking at the next step, which I think it very crucial and important for those that are wanting to have a career."
But graduations will always be some of her favorite moments and she has the adult high school and GED instructors to thank for that.
"It's a time of celebrating that hard work of the students and instructors," Cooke said. "We have wonderful instructors and they are here for the right reason. They care about the students. The majority of instructors are retired school teachers. They are dedicated and they get a jump start from seeing that success from the students."