Colleagues nominate fellow teachers for award
Two long-time Basehor-Linwood School District teachers have been nominated for a national education award.
The Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars recently announced Tom Cooper, a reading teacher at Basehor-Linwood Middle School, and Ellen Filippi, a fifth-grade teacher at Basehor Elementary School, as this year's nominees for its annual award.
The two will represent the Basehor VFW in a regional competition early next year. From there, the two could move on to state and national awards, VFW officials said.
Both teachers have spent most, if not all their teaching careers in the school district.
Cooper, 45, came to the district straight from college and has taught and coached athletics in Basehor-Linwood for 24 years. Filippi has taught in the district for 31 years.
Both teachers said they weren't concerned with winning and that being nominated is a great privilege.
"I thought it was a real honor to be mentioned," Cooper said. "It's nice to be thought of, especially by your peers."
"I was very surprised," Filippi said. "It made me feel very special. It's just the idea that they thought of you."
BLMS Principal Mike Boyd nominated Cooper.
"Tom's just everything that's right about education," Boyd said. "He works hard for the kids, he's positive and he supports everything they do.
"The kids have a good sense of what's right and wrong, and they know they can go to him."
BES teacher Cynthia Pedroza, a former student of Filippi's, had glowing words for her former teacher, now colleague.
"Mrs. Filippi is an outstanding teacher of American history and citizenship," Pedroza said in her letter of recommendation. "More importantly, she teaches the lessons of citizenship and responsibility through her own example."
In addition to being nominated, the two teachers have another bond: Filippi was a mentor to Cooper when he first began teaching.
"Ellen Filippi, Liz Wiley (retired) and Marty Hayes (retired) taught me how to be a teacher," he said. "They were showing me step by step. You don't realize when you're young the benefits of a mentor."
The two teachers will be honored at a dinner and special presentation Thursday, Dec. 19 during the Basehor VFW meeting.