John Cooper teachers lauded for their work

May 15, 2019 GMT

The end of the school year is a busy time for all teachers, but several at The John Cooper School have received honors from their work above and beyond their normal duties.

Middle School French teacher Susan Dworaczyk was recognized by the French Government for being a distinguished academic with major contributions to the promotion of French education and culture. This designation, called “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques,” is only given to those who are not French citizens.

Dworaczyk, who has taught at John Cooper for the past six years, said she is honored and humbled to have been awarded.


“I have been teaching French for 32 years, so promoting the French language and culture is a natural fit…I’m a strong believer that in order to learn a language you must also understand and appreciate the culture of its speakers,” Dworaczyk said. “I have always wanted my students to learn the language but also appreciate its uniqueness.”

In a ceremony on campus last month, Dworaczyk was recognized by a member of the French Consulate in Houston.

Another teacher has been involved in international work. English Department Chair Alexis Wiggins spent four days at the International Baccalaureate headquarters in The Hague, Holland, last month.

“They invited me because of my experience as a coach, classroom teachers, curriculum designer and a consultant to concept-based and inquiry-based teaching,” Wiggins said.

She got to work with other teachers to create a professional development workshop for high school teachers, affording her the chance to travel around the world and interview 10 different teachers from different subjects about how they teach.

“It’s such gratifying work. When you get to design a professional development course that hundreds of thousands of teachers will attend…the experiences of others can be shared to make so many more students’ experiences edifying and more interesting,” Wiggins said.

Also in the English Department, Upper School teacher Peter Elliot has been named co-editor of poetry for the English Journal, a National Council of Teachers of English publication.

“It’s been really dynamic to work with some of the poets on their submissions and offer critique suggestions, because I’ve been doing that for 15 years with my students in my creative writing classroom,” Elliot said.

He’ll help to develop six issues for the current volume, which will run from September of this year to July of next year.

Bob Mosier, John Cooper’s Visual Arts Department Chair, has also been published, but in a different way.

His work, which includes metal sculptures and thread paintings, has been exhibited in Envision Arts Magazine and the spring issue of Infinite Rust Literary Journal. Mosier, who has taught art for 43 years total, has also had his work recently exhibited in Pennsylvania, California and Ohio.