By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
The secret to improved student achievement is not really a secret, but common sense, according to Bryan Cooley. “Teachers must understand what needs to be taught, they need to teach it and they need to assess what they’ve taught,” he said.
Cooley is the new Hardy County Schools Assistant Superintendent.
“The trick is being able to get to the students early,” he said. “That is why pre-k and kindergarten is so important. What you want is to teach students how to learn.”
Cooley has spent the past 30 years in education at the school, central office, post secondary and regional levels. He has taught music, reading/language arts, math, science, social studies and technology in Virginia, New York and West Virginia. He has taught general education, special education and English as a second language students.
Cooley grew up in Vermont. “It’s very similar to West Virginia,” he said.
He attended college at Shenandoah University in Virginia, graduating in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse University in New York. He finished the Administration Endorsement in Education Leadership in Virginia. From 2010 to 2011, Cooley was the Program Development Coordinator for RESA 8 in West Virginia.
“That’s where I got to know the people in Hardy, Grant and Pendleton counties,” he said. “I really got to love the people here.”
Most recently, Cooley worked as assistant principal and assistant director of Special Education in Berkley County. That county has 18,000 students.
Teaching wasn’t Cooley’s first career choice. He played keyboard as a teenager and thought he would do something music related for a living.
“I played in a type of garage band, called American Standard,” he said. “We played proms and dances at the Grange. We played Elton John, the Beatles, popular stuff.”
But in 10th grade, his geometry teacher, Mr. McClure, gave him an opportunity to help his classmates with the material. “I understood it and many of them said I explained it better than the teacher,” he laughed.