By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
It’s no secret that I think Blake Cooper, superintendent of Commerce Independent School District, is a Godly man who cares for the students of CISD.
As my dad would tell me when I did something he was proud of while growing up, I say to Mr. Cooper, “You’re a gentlemen, a scholar and an all around good guy.”
I’ve known him since before I began writing for the Commerce Journal and before I knew he was superintendent.
I went to the morning Bible study he held on Sundays at First Baptist Church in Commerce and thoroughly enjoyed my time studying under him.
He wasn’t afraid to dive in and ask the tough questions, because he cared about the students in the study.
Cooper has always been friendly and has not shyed away from telling the truth, in his role as teacher of the study or as superintendent.
Recently, Texas House Bill 5 passed with only two dissenting votes. The bill reduces the number of standardized tests from a national high of 17, down to five end of course exams in order to graduate high school.
By speaking in front of lawmakers in Austin on multiple occassions on standardized testing and the disparaty in school funding, Cooper played a role in bringing positive change about.
Cooper did that because he cares about kids.
For the second year in a row, the board has a balanced budget. Which in this economic climate of having Texas Public School funding cut by an astounding $5.2 billion, is definitely something to be happy about.
During Monday’s School Board meeting, he and the board could have voted to implement a new drug testing policy, and according to our poll, a majority of Commerce residents would have agreed with it.
But after learning of alternative ways that may be better for students, he and the board opted to table the discussion until he could meet with Dr. Lavelle Hendricks at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
He didn’t have to do that. Even though they could have voted, they chose not to in favor of seeking more information although it will take more time.
I believe he did it because he cares for the students.
Well did Julia Robinson write in her farewell letter to Commerce last month about Mr. Cooper.
“When you ask a question and you know the answer will be ‘Whatever is best for the students’ — then you know you have found a true champion for kids. Mr. Cooper is indeed that.”
I echo Robinson’s words in saying that I believe Mr. Cooper is a champion for the students of Commerce Independent School District.