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When the Elizabethtown Independent Schools board met last week, it marked the end of a decade and a half of service for one of its former members.
The EIS meeting was the first in 16 years that didn’t include Dianne Cooper as a board member. After serving on the board since 1997, Cooper chose to end her tenure and didn’t seek re-election.
Cooper admitted it seemed strange to know the five-member board was meeting without her.
Cooper’s three children attended EIS, so her involvement with the district began long ago. After volunteering in many capacities, such as serving as room mother, she began considering running for school board. Her friends encouraged her to pursue it.
She said she never expected to run for a political office, but she was excited about the opportunity when she was elected. She saw the position as open-ended.
“I guess I assumed I would stay as long as I was needed and re-elected,” she said.
During her time on the board, she has served with 12 other members and five superintendents. The board presented twice to the National School Boards Association during her tenure. She saw the district accomplish many goals she held for it, including the new Panther Academy and a remedial reading program.
Cooper said it was a wonderful thing to see dreams she had for the district come true. They were experiences she wanted for the children of the district.
“Things like that kind of led me on,” she said.
Cooper’s youngest child graduated from the district in 2004. She said she felt like it was an asset to have children in the district as a board member, because she was more in tune with what was occurring in schools.
Because she was no longer a district parent, she began considering ending her time on the board. She also became a grandmother for the first time this month, and she wanted more time to spend with her new grandson, Matthew.
“And you know, I think 16 years is long enough,” she said.
She hasn’t considered what her next step, if any, will be with volunteering in the district, but it’s been a source of pride for her since her children first were enrolled.
“I’ve been continuously proud of our district,” she said.
Matt Wyatt was elected in November to fill Cooper’s seat.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.