The Woodburn School District has recently hired Laurie Z. Cooper to be director of proficiency teaching and learning, filling the spot vacated by Chuck Ransom when he was named superintendent in LINDSAY KEEFER - Laurie Cooper has left North Marion Middle School to take on a curriculum director position in the Woodburn School District.

Cooper has been principal of North Marion Middle School since 2010 and before that was principal of Media Arts and Communication Academy in McMinnville. But Cooper is no stranger to Woodburn, having spent 15 years — the majority of her education career — at the high school.

“I understand the complexity of the district, and that’s what really love about the district — that it’s complicated work,” Cooper said. “I’m looking forward to re-establishing that relationship from before.”

Cooper worked alongside Ransom in the development of the small school setup at Woodburn High School.

“Laurie and I did work together on the high school transformation project, Woodburn Equitable Small School Transformation,” said Ransom. “We had the opportunity to work closely together, where I learned to appreciate her talent as an educator and a leader.”

Although it will be an easy transition, it wasn’t an easy decision for Cooper.

“I’ve been enjoying my work at the middle school a lot,” she said. “I think with my leadership team things have been going really well there but timing is never what you want it to be. But I’ve always wanted the job of a curriculum director and, in the end, I felt like this was the next step in my learning and my growth and that was really important.”

She added she will miss the mentorship she received while at North Marion as well as the collaboration with her staff.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for her,” said North Marion School District Superintendent Boyd Keyser. “She’s at a point in her career where this is a nice move and she is going back to a place to work with people she really respects.”

Cooper, who lives in Hubbard and saw her two sons graduate from North Marion High School, said she wouldn’t mind being a superintendent one day, but that she will miss having daily interaction with students.

“I need to figure out a way to get my kid fix,” she laughed. “Thankfully the district office is attached to French Prairie Middle School. So if you see me in the hall there, you know it’s because I’m missing that connection, that energy of a school.”

Woodburn School District also hired Jenne Garcia to be executive secretary, serving the Woodburn School Board. She has worked for the school district since 2006 as head secretary at Academy of International Studies. The executive secretary supports the school board providing administrative services including recordkeeping, communication dissemination and document preparation.

In her new job, Cooper will be working on a variety of new mandates handed down from the state, including teacher and administrator evaluations, common core standards and the governor’s 40-40-20 initiative.

“It’s an exciting time,” Cooper said. “It’s a time where I think initiatives on the table are going to work and help kids where they need to go and that’s college readiness.”

Ransom added that the director of proficiency teaching and learning and executive secretary “are important positions that support the work we do with our students.”

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