RCC’s education building is renamed to honor Andi Cook

Published 4:28 am Wednesday, July 31, 2019

On Tuesday, July 23, a dedication ceremony was held at the Rayburn Correctional Center in Angie, at which time the facility’s Education Building was renamed the Deborah “Andi” Cook Memorial Education Building.

Cook was the former Education Director at the facility. She passed away Nov. 2, 2017, after a lengthy battle with cancer. State Rep. Malinda White and State Sen. Beth Mizell sponsored legislation to officially rename the building in Cook’s memory.

Cook was hired as an instructor at the facility in 2004. She quickly became one of the first correctional instructors in the state to gain certification in Adult Education. Under her direction, tutor-led programs that offer offenders everything from Basic Literacy to a Graduate Program were instituted.

Cook was promoted as the Education Coordinator in 2005 and was instrumental in developing Rayburn’s Education Department into one of the best in the Department of Corrections. Through her vision and guidance, GED and TABE scores improved dramatically.

The number of offenders receiving a high school equivalency degree averaged about 70 per year. She led the department to a 97.56-percent high school graduation rate, which was 12% higher than the goal set by the Education Department. The Education Department met and/or surpassed every goal set. Cook motivated her staff to excel in their respective areas.

Cook supervised a unique, fully accredited college program, through Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC). She instituted monthly tutor training sessions to help the offender tutors continually challenge themselves to learn and grow. Cook was known for going the extra mile to help offenders improve themselves.

Cook was instrumental in adding Building Technology to the vocational program and expanding the Welding Program to include ten new welding stations and a fast-track program. She was also instrumental in making it possible for RCC’s students to take off-site computerized Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests for students enrolled in the Automotive Vocational Program.

Cook retired on May 1, 2015, and she and her husband, former Assistant Warden Wayne Cook, eventually settled down near Guadalajara, Mexico, in the town of Ajijic. Warden Robert Tanner noted, “During Ms. Andi’s tenure, a framework for excellence in education was established and we plan to honor her memory by continuing to provide opportunities for our offender students to excel in a building dedicated to her.”