Bridgeville Events
Thursday, September 2nd. 1999
 
Carpenter turned principal
By Bill McCauley

Barry Cooper, Woodbridge's new middle school principal, has a unique background: Not only has he taught in public schools, he's helped build them. These include extensive remodeling at South Dorchester High School in Cambridge, Md., and at the University of Maryland, Princess Anne.
Cooper, a skilled carpenter, worked at the trade before being offered his first teaching job - carpentry - at Sussex Vo-Tech, now Sussex Tech. He estimates that he has built over 40 homes on the Delmarva Peninsula. That means over 40 happy, satisfied home-owning families. Cooper came on as middle school principal in early July and hit the ground running. Almost immediately he was included in the group of four administrators and four teachers who attended the four-day conference of Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta July 6-10. Of the SREB, in which Woodbridge has its own membership, as does the state of Delaware, Cooper has a long acquaintance. Upon completion of his master's degree in school leadership from Wilmington College, Cooper was promoted to assistant principal at Sussex Vo-Tech in September 1990. It was to help vo-tech schools like Sussex Tech that SREB had its origin. "The initial thrust was aimed at vo-tech schools, but it has become so effective that other schools benefit as well. Woodbridge has recognized the need for a comprehensive reform effort. They're progressive. This is the way to go," says Cooper.
Cooper was born in Galestown, Md., where he attended school through the fourth grade. His family then moved to Seaford where he attended Katie L. Handy Elementary School. With a move to Laurel he graduated from high school in 1967, serving as class president in his senior year and editor of the school newspaper, "The Bulldog."
Upon graduation he attended the University of Delaware for one year, whereupon he joined the Air Force. Serving from 1969 to 1973, he spent the bulk of that time in the Panama Canal Zone.
The year 1973 saw him return to Delmarva Peninsula working as a carpenter. During the evenings and on Saturdays he continued his education at Delaware Technical and Community College,Owens Campus, Georgetown.
Receiving an associates degree in civil engineering there, he immediately enrolled through the G.I. Bill of Rights at Southern Illinois University extension at Dover Air Force Base. There he studied industrial technology.
Work followed as code enforcer for the town of Laurel for 1 and 1/2 years in '81 and '82 where his extensive background in the building trades proved invaluable. In August 1982, he availed himself of a carpentry teaching opportunity at what is now Sussex Tech.
Cooper and wife, Faye, make their home just north of Laurel. Faye is a speech therapist and works part-time with the Indian River School District. Daughter Jennifer, 20, will be a junior at the University of Delaware this fall. As a papa should be, Cooper is proud that she has consistently been on the dean's list. Younger daughter, Brittany, 9, is going into her fourth grade in Laurel in the fall.
Cooper admits to being a golf enthusiast. He also likes racquetball and does a little gardening. He still likes to do a little carpentry work and it's evident he would like to have time for more.
For immobile relaxation, he enjoys John Gresham murder-mystery novels and science-fiction, as well as movies with his family.
Recently the Coopers began attending the non-denominational Gumboro Fellowship Church. "I have a good feeling about it. Lots of energy and spirit," he says.
During the coming months Woodbridge students will be given the opportunity to challenge themselves.
Middle school principal Barry Cooper will help provide effective leadership. His biography is that of a man continually challenging himself.


Church plans fall events

The Bridgeville Church of God has planned the following events:

Sunday, Sept. 5, 10:45 a.m., Al Taylor from Church of God International Offices in Cleveland, Tenn., will speak.

Saturday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m., Young adults are invited to attend Cafe 404, a Christian coffeehouse ministry. Tonight's entertainment is free.

Saturday, Sept. 18, Church of God Family Day at King's Dominion - Apples of Gold and Brother's Keeper are among the free entertainment.

Tickets are available for $19. Tickets for a concert by Carman can be purchased for an additional $9.50. To purchase tickets, call 337-3044.