Laura is a leader in the field of education and is on the cutting edge of pedagogy,” District 202 School Board President Rachel Hayman commented to the RoundTable about retiring Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Laura Cooper.
Ms. Hayman also praised Dr. Cooper’s understanding of “the challenges that face new teachers. She worked tirelessly to help them become the best teachers possible.”
Board Vice President Jane Colleton, who has been on the School Board since before Dr. Cooper was hired in 1995, cited Dr. Cooper’s research work with the Minority Student Achievement Network, her leadership of the School Improvement Team and her work with the District’s Professional Learning Communities, where teachers share and improve their skill sets and best practices within the school community.
“Laura’s depth of understanding and her ability to articulate pedagogy to teachers at every stage of their development is prodigious,” Ms. Colleton told the RoundTable. “Dr. Cooper has an exceptional manner of listening, questioning and demonstrating examples as she teaches. She quotes research from leading practitioners most of whom she knows professionally. She is a unique combination of empathic kindness, professional expertise and matter-of-fact modesty. All the tremendous work that she does is never about her, it’s always about moving us forward in doing the best for our kids.”
At the June 28 School Board meeting, Superintendent Eric Witherspoon paid homage to Dr. Cooper’s contribution to the District over the past 15 years.
“What she has brought to the District is beyond our ability to measure,” he said. “She is a household name in every university in the country. She knows that a teacher’s ability to be successful equals students being successful.”
Dr. Cooper told the RoundTable, “The accomplishments I am proudest of are not mine alone. I have had the privilege to work for 15 years with two remarkable superintendents who are distinguished by their commitment to both equity and excellence. We have all worked for school boards that have been thoughtful, hard working, and willing to set high goals that focus on improving student achievement.
“One of the things I will remember most about ETHS is the high caliber of my colleagues,” Dr. Cooper continued. “Administrators, teachers, and staff members, the strong support of parents and community leaders, and the leadership of students who are both proud of their school and determined to improve it.”
In retirement, Dr. Cooper says plans to spend more time with family, continue her work to strengthen public school education and do more writing.