From Red Clay News:
After an outpouring of support from the community, the committee in charge of naming the new elementary school to be built on Graves Road in Hockessin recommended it be named the William Cooke Jr. Elementary School, in honor of William F. “Buzzy” Cooke, Jr., a longtime Red Clay educator and Delaware resident.
For 45 years Buzzy Cooke served the students, teachers, staff and parents of the Red Clay community. He began teaching at Krebs Elementary School in what was then known as the Conrad School District in 1965, after having attended the school as a student. After four years he was promoted to principal of the Richey Kindergarten Center and went on to serve as principal at Richey and Poplar Elementary, Lore, Baltz, Forest Oak and Brandywine Springs. At the time of his retirement in July of 2010, thousands of intelligent, responsible and caring citizens had graduated from Cooke’s schools.
The selection committee, comprised of a district administrator, school level administrator, teacher, parent and board member, took name suggestions from the public. Of the five names considered, three met the criteria stated in the district’s naming guidelines. Presentations were given to the committee along with statements of support and a recommendation was made and presented to the board on March 20th.
Parents, teachers, community members and students took time to write about their admiration of former teacher and principal Buzzy Cooke. An overwhelming majority spoke to the fact that Buzzy was a leader who had a unique ability to communicate his vision and passion and make decisions based on what was best for the children. Cooke’s strong work ethic, friendly personality and outstanding rapport with all who knew him made him a role model of excellence in the field of education and community service.
Stephanie Armstrong, current principal of Brandywine Springs said “There are people who come into our lives who have an overwhelming impact and change our lives forever. Mr. William ‘Buzzy’ Cooke is one of those people. During his tenure as an educator, he cultivated a caring, respectful and service oriented culture that many would love to emulate. He was always willing to listen to his staff, students and his community. He did all of this while never losing sight of the most important clients- ‘his students’. Mr. Cooke never viewed his role as a school leader as a job, children were and still continue to be his passion. He is our living legend.”
A man who led by example and devoted his life to making the world a better place, Buzzy Cooke never looked for accolades. His reward was in mentoring teachers and supporting his students, their parents and the community.
Mr. Cooke retired from Red Clay in 2010 but is still an active member of the community. He lives in the area with his wife Gloria.
The Board of Education will consider the recommendation and vote at their next meeting on April 17th. Until then, the community may provide input to the Board through the Red Clay website. If approved, the new William Cooke Jr. Elementary School will honor Buzzy Cooke’s 45 years of dedicated service to the education of young students.