Both Amy and Benjamin (Ben) Cooper were individually selected to receive Lutheran Education Association’s 2015 Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator awards. Both teach at Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, Mich. Each was selected by LEA’s Secondary Educators Network leadership team.
Amy is the technology coordinator, algebra and calculus teacher, summer camp coordinator, and class advisor. She received a B.S. in education from Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, Neb. and an M.A.T. from Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Mich. She previously served at a Lutheran high school in Maryland. Amy has been published in two education journals and has presented at numerous conferences.
Supporting the nomination of Amy, one parent wrote, “Two of my children have had Amy as a teacher. The way she brings God into the subject of math is pretty awesome. She gets very excited and conveys to the students how God is a God of order and shows them the many ways that math illustrates it. She takes a subject that is difficult for many and teaches it so the students understand it.”
A colleague commented, “Amy is an excellent teacher. Her classes … are noted by students, parents, and colleagues as places where students are challenged to excel and are provided the help to meet the challenge. Her classroom culture is one of comfortable interaction between teacher and students as well as between peers. She implements progressive instructional strategies in a well-considered manner.”
“The more important task in teaching … is caring for students, meeting their needs, and showing Jesus to them.” – Amy Cooper #LEA
Of her personal mission statement, Amy says, “My mission is not to teach math to students. My mission is to use the math classroom and the interactions that occur there as the backdrop for the more important task of caring for students, meeting their needs, and showing Jesus to them. While being their ‘math teacher’ is my ‘in’ for knowing students, I pray that by the end of our year together I have been more than that to them.”
Ben teaches life sciences and theology, and he also serves as junior varsity soccer coach, environmental club faculty sponsor, Michigan Envirothon faculty sponsor, and Class of 2017 faculty advisor. He earned a B.S. in education from Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, Neb. and an M.S. in biological science from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. He previously served at a Lutheran high school in Maryland and has presented at various conferences.
In support of Ben’s nomination, one colleague said, “One of the biggest reasons I appreciate Ben as an educator is that he has such a strong faith and it permeates his work with students, staff, and parents. All of his classes are taught from a Biblical perspective and, because he knows a lot about Evolution, he presents the major tenets along with what the Bible says is true. Our students get a wonderful preparation for the resistance to Creationism that they will face in their later years. It is enjoyable to observe his classes as he blends an obvious care and concern for students with high expectations and great opportunities for learning.”
In addition, one colleague said, “Ben contributes to the community through his work with the Environmental Club. He is an active member at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Saginaw where he teaches an adult Bible class. He and his wife host a regular evening Bible study for other young couples from several different churches.”
“Everything is rooted in and motivated by what Christ has done for me…so the students would get to know Christ through me.”- Ben Cooper #LEA
Commenting on his personal mission statement, Ben says, “At the entrance of our school there is a colorful mural of Christ with the message, ‘Christ is our foundation.’ My goal of ministry is that every thought, word and deed is rooted in Christ and motivated by what He has done for me, and that the students in my care would get to know Christ through me.”