TROY — Joyce Koopman’s name may sound familiar to older students who remember her as a language arts and social studies teacher for the Blue Crew at Van Cleve Sixth Grade Building.
She said she did a lot of activity-based teaching, which she presented at several conferences.
“A popular activity was Word Above The Head, where instead of a matching worksheet, I would put kids up at the board, write a word above their head and kids who were left at their seats would give clues as to what the word was,” she said. “It was a way to liven up class and it was a way to take out the paperwork.”
Koopman knew she wanted to go into school administration, so she completed her coursework a couple of years ago. When the opportunity came to become assistant principal at Concord Elementary School, she decided to jump in and got the job.
“Being at Van Cleve gave me a unique perspective as a teacher because kids come to you from every elementary, so nothing really surprised me as far as the students coming here since I already have taught Concord kids for the past eight years,” she said.
A typical day as Concord’s assistant principal entails a little bit of everything and aren’t always the same. In the morning she comes in and meets with some of the teachers.
“Sometimes I hop around the rooms and ask teachers questions or I do drop-off duty,” she said.
From 9-11 a.m. she takes care of miscellaneous items, such as setting up the computer program MobiMac for the 600 students at Concord, meeting about a schedule or note-taking on some students.
From 11 a.m. to 12:30 she helps with lunch, and 1-3 p.m. is student time. 3:30 is assisting with pick-up.
She said she hasn’t quite gotten used to sitting at her office desk after spending so many years walking around teaching, so she makes sure she gets to the classrooms to show teachers she can help them if need be.
“I’m incredibly impressed with the teachers here and I’ve offered my help if anyone needs help with a mini-lesson or if I can read to a group of students,” she said. “A few of the teachers have said, ‘Yeah, come into my room, I’m reading to some kids. It’s a similar style of ‘how can I help?’”
Most of the differences in the elementary children compared to the students she taught at Van Cleve stems from nature. Koopman remarked that she has gotten to see the educational progression as students get older.
“When they’re younger, you do a lot more modeling correct behaviors,” she said. “At Van Cleve, they know how to sit down, they know how to be quiet. I’ve had some a-ha moments from my perspective of ‘that’s how they get the kids to do that’ and when they came to me in sixth grade the systems were so well in place that you kind of take them for granted. They’ve laid the groundwork over here.”
Education is very much a family business. Her husband Brad teaches seventh and eighth grade at Tipp City, where he has taught for six years. The Koopmans have three children: Noah, who is 5 and beginning kindergarten; Camille, age 3; and Ava, who is 10 months old.
The family lives in Versailles, where Koopman is a native. In her downtime she is an avid runner, having ran three or four half-marathons, and their family loves being outside and going on a lot of nature walks at different state parks around the area.
“We’re a big sports family, and since my husband coaches baseball, the kids grow up around a lot of ball parks,” she said.
Koopman’s goal as assistant principal to to help the staff in any way she can so students can continue to get an excellent education.
“It’s all about the students and what’s best for them,” she said. “I think the most important thing about being an administrator is that it’s always best for them and therefore, how can we make that happen.”
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at [email protected] or on Twitter @Troydailynews.