Deb Cummings Award given to Trudi Cooper

Posted Date: 08/30/2017

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413 Technician honored with district’s Cummings Award

Trudi Cooper encountered many changes in the 25 years she worked with technology in Chanute Public Schools. Through it all she remained flexible, determined, kept her sense of humor and shared her smile and laughter with those around her.

A co-worker described Cooper as “one of the most remarkable persons I have ever met (who is) ALWAYS willing to help out and never complains.”

That was one of many comments written by employees who nominated Trudi Cooper to be the district’s first recipient of the Deborah L. Cummings Award. The award was established in 2016 following Cumming’s death, to honor a district employee who goes above and beyond normal expectations and demonstrates a positive and passionate attitude. She was presented with the award at the employee reception in May when she was also honored at her retirement as an intermediate technician, after 25 years in Chanute Public Schools.

Trudi is an example of the district’s “Students First” motto.

She “has always worked hard to help teachers and students ... comes at the drop of a hat and doesn’t complain,” a staff member wrote.

Another talked about her commitment and how she is patient with students and staff.

She “goes above and beyond … has a great attitude when working with others … is always available to help with anything.”

Trudi “has rescued me innumerable times…is great with the kids, kind, caring and compassionate,” wrote another.

Trudi started working as a library aide at Hutton and Murray Hill Elementary Schools in 1992. When computer labs were added to those schools, she became a computer lab aide.

“Up until then, the secretary had a computer and the library had a computer and that was that,” she recalled.

With the passage of the school bond issue in 1995, the technology department was formed with Karen Jarred as the first coordinator and Cooper as one of the technicians.

“We started on zero. (Jarred) was the one who had the training and the knowledge,” Cooper said. “Every kid (today) knows more than we did in 1995.”

She still remembers the first time she was told to open the back of a computer and take out the motherboard and Jarred’s advice.

“Go for it. I know you can do it – and if you run into problems, I am here to help,” Jarred told her. And she was, with an office adjacent to the technician’s workroom.

“I think the biggest job, physically and mentally, was when we had to move into the new buildings,” Trudi said. Over that summer, the tech employees had to pull all the cables and get the projectors, Smartboards and sound to work in each of the classrooms. “You just try your best and learn as you go.”

That attitude will be missed this school year.

Through these nominations, it is clear that Trudi exemplifies the spirit of the awards which honors an employee who surpasses the essential expectations of all employees and works to help the district become a better place for staff and students. Congratulations Trudi Cooper!


Story by: Connie Woodard