NEWBERRY — The school year is well under way and Ferdinand Cooper, one of Newberry High School’s new Assistant Principals, hopes that he can help students become successful academically and in life throughout his time at NHS.
Cooper is originally from Bennettsville, where he lived until the seventh grade. His family moved to Fairfax, where he has spent the majority of his life.
Cooper is a graduate of Livingstone College in North Carolina. After graduating he taught in northeastern North Carolina for a number of years, along with teaching in Virginia for a year. Then in 2014, Cooper moved back to South Carolina and was at Fairfield Central until this school year.
“I’ve been in music my whole career. The story I tell most people of how I got into administration is that my last year at North Carolina I had a group of seniors and we were talking one day and the class asked me ‘Why was I a teacher? Why wasn’t I a principal?’ and it never really dawned on me that people kind of looked to me in that type of role that I could be a leader outside of the classroom,” Cooper said. “So right after that class was over I went and started researching some schools and decided to get back into school and pursue my administration degree.”
In his role as Assistant Principal, Cooper wants to make sure that he continues to work alongside Principal Kyle Cannon and other Assistant Principals to help the students at Newberry High School succeed.
“I think just trying to come up with a different strategies in order to help our kids here be successful in the classroom and in life in general. When I interviewed for the position, I let Principal Cannon know that I was going to come in with a holistic approach meaning that I wanted to focus on the entire child, not just the academic portion of the child,” Cooper said.
One of Cooper’s most important goals he wants to accomplish at NHS is to not only see the students succeed academically, but grow to become good citizens and go through life after high school prepared.
“When I was in high school, I didn’t get a lot of guidance from some of the adults in my building and as I look back in retrospect, I wish someone would have pulled me to the side and said things that you wouldn’t necessarily teach in school, but sometimes life has to teach you those hard lessons,” Cooper said. “Between the four of us I think we compliment each other and that we are a team that is built on helping these kids to be successful individuals.”
Cooper’s goals are also extend to the parents and guardians that send their children to NHS, saying that it’s all about being held accountable.
“Parents are going to hold us accountable for making sure that the students are safe, making sure they are being treated fairly and making sure that they are getting every opportunity to be successful. I think, in turn what I have to do is make sure that I hold students accountable and make sure they do what they are supposed to do every day. I have a group of teachers that I have to hold accountable to make sure they give students every opportunity and Principal Cannon and the School Board are going to hold me accountable to make sure that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do to guarantee levels of success,” Cooper said.
Cooper added that the support from the faculty, staff and superintendent have all been phenomenal.
“Superintendent Jim Suber bent over backwards to make sure that I was able to get over here and him and Principal Cannon both did so much as far as working with me during the summer during my transition, so that’s something I’ll always be indebted to them for,” Cooper said. “With Mr. Cannon, he’s been the type of person that he tries to show you things in an effort to prepare you for the next level. I like that because he wants to see all of us progress as educators and you come across people sometimes that don’t want you to know what they know. That’s just the kind of man he is to make sure you learn as much as he does.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.