By David F. Rooney
Teachers, colleagues and friends gathered at the Hillcrest Hotel on Thursday to celebrate Anne Cooper’s remarkable career with School District 19.
In the 14 years she spent as superintendent, Anne raised the educational bar in this community, propelling the district from being just another under-achieving rural district to arguably the best-performing district in British Columbia. She had a lot of support along the way from trustees, parents and teachers to the students themselves. But it has to be said that SD 19’s success would not have been possible without her remarkable capacity to focus on the important things and inspire those around her.
“Being average, being mediocre just doesn’t cut it with Anne,” said SD 19 Chairman Alan Chell.
That’s obvious to everyone who meets this talented and excellent educator and the people who gathered at the Hillcrest were happy to celebrate Anne’s achievements in a career that spanned 36 years in BC — 14 of them in Revelstoke.
There were also laudatory letters and emails from people like former Education Minister George Abbott whose letter praised her “vision, tenacity and versatility.”
“Everyone who works in government has a very high regard for Anne,” he said in his letter, which was read aloud by Cooper’s successor as SD 19 superintendent, Mike Hooker.
That high regard was based on the district’s emphasis on working with government and other partners to achieve the district’s goals. Those achievements include SD 19’s successful pioneering of the Strong Start and Neighbourhoods of Learning programs, extremely high graduation rates for RSS students and the fact that our students, in general, are on the leading edge of academic success in BC.
“My fondest career memories are from this district,” she said. “I am a lucky gal. My luck started with my adoption. Jan and Jack Stevens — your little girl did good. My luck continued with my marriage. Bob and I celebrated 36 years of marriage on Tuesday. We said we’d go where ever we both could find work.”
That took them to northern BC and, in 1999, to Revelstoke where Anne set to work improving the district’s fortunes.
“This can be a lonely job but I have been fortunate,” she said. “I had a vision for this district based on success and i just hope I lived up to your expectations.”
Well, Anne, everyone who knows you would surely agree that you exceeded all expectations. You will be missed, but you have set this district firmly on the road to success.