Gail Cochran began working at Danielsville Elementary School as a Special Ed parapro when both her kids were students there, so she could have summers off with them.
“I subbed a couple of years before that,” Cochran said.
Well, son Will and daughter Marci are both grown with children of their own, but Cochran has remained at DES, working her way up from parapro, to media center assistant to the school’s technology specialist during her 28 years there.
And these days two of Will’s daughters are students there.
Cochran was named “Support Person of the Year” at DES last spring and has now been chosen Support Person of the Year for the entire school system.
“They must’ve just drawn a name out of a hat,” Cochran said smiling. “Seriously, I am so humbled and so honored by it. It really means a lot.”
Cochran served as a parapro for 13 years before making the move to the media center where she stayed for nine years. While in that position she frequently assisted the school’s former technology specialist, Karen Cosgrove.
When Cosgrove retired six years ago, she recommended Cochran for the job.
“It was all on-the-job training, but I love a challenge,” Cochran said. “I have always like figuring out how things work and I wanted to help the students and staff to be able to work and learn with the help of all the technology.”
And there is a lot of technology – from laptops to smartboards, chrome books to projectors – the classroom is almost all technology-based these days, even in elementary school, so there’s a lot to keep up with.
“The most rewarding part is being able to keep all the equipment running smoothly so that the staff can do their jobs to the best of their ability and to be able to see the students learn new things,” she said.
Cochran said the staff and administration at DES are very supportive of her. “They are wonderful to work with and that makes the job all the more enjoyable,” she said.
Cochran and her husband Lewis have been married for 41 years and live on a farm just north of Danielsville. In addition to their two children, they also have five grandchildren, Emma, 6, Ruby, 5, Sophie, 4, Clara, 3 and grandson Kytle, 2.5.
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