Dr. Andrew Cooper is the new principal at Putnam County High School. With over 25 years of experience in administration, he has qualifications for the job. He says his time coaching softball and baseball played a big role in his decision to pursue a career in education administration.
He played baseball at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as a catcher and outfielder before he went to Valdosta State University, where he completed his PhD. He then worked as an athletic director for five years, an assistant principal for eight years and the principal of Luella High School in Henry County for 20 years.
“I was blessed in the standpoint that I always knew what I wanted to do,” Cooper said. “And coaching played a big role in that.”
His goal is to reach kids on multiple levels and add courses at PCHS to keep kids engaged and try to give them the whole high school experience despite the challenges associated with the pandemic. He says he is happy with the way his first semester as principal is going and credits the teachers for doing such a good job to keep students healthy and engaged in their education.
“[The teachers] have really gone above and beyond their typical jobs,” Cooper said. “Before I started, every teacher I spoke with talked about how great the kids are and the kids really have been great.”
Although his job is to facilitate learning for the youth of Putnam county, Cooper says learning is something he never wants to stop doing and he tries to learn something new every year. He’s explored golf, carbs and nutrition, power lifting in past years and now in 2020 he is focusing on his duties as the principal at PCHS during these uniquely challenging times.
“We’re all going to grow from this experience,” he said.
Some technology that the school is currently using due to the pandemic he says will hopefully continue to be used to enhance the education at PCHS long after COVID-19 has passed.
When he is not working, he enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Caitlyn, and two sons, 8-year-old J.E. and 6-year-old Carter, who attend schoo in Putnam. He said they like to go outdoors to play sports together and go out on the lake to fish and wakeboard.
“Everybody is really great,” he said. “I feel like I’m in the right place.”