The Paul M. Cogar Fund for Classroom Innovation
The Paul M. Cogar Fund for Classroom Innovation honors Mr. Cogar’s motto to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. It provides one annual grant of up to $500 to support innovative classroom strategies and programs in Orange County Public Schools. The grant is awarded each spring to support programs that: (a.) exemplify the use of best practice instruction to maximize student achievement; (b.) focus on character building as a component for nurturing student success, including but not limited to leadership skills, good decision making strategies, team building and collaboration; and/or (c.) inspire students to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.
The Fund was established in 2013 by the family of Paul M. Cogar in recognition of his 35 years of service in public education and his significant contributions to public education in Orange County. Mr. Cogar taught business education and served as a coach at Orange County High School from 1967 to 1970. He was the high school’s attendance director in 1970-71 and an assistant principal during 1971-72. He served as principal of Gordon-Barbour Elementary School from 1972 to 1976, Prospect Heights Middle School from 1976 to 1984, and Orange County High School from 1984 to 1987.
During Mr. Cogar’s tenure as its principal, Prospect Heights received national recognition for excellence in secondary school education. During the 1982-83 school year, it was one of five secondary schools, and the only middle school, from across the nation to earn “exemplary” status from the U.S. Department of Education. The designation resulted in a visit to the school by then-U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell, and other federal and state dignitaries.
Mr. Cogar earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Davis and Elkins College in 1956 and his Master of Science degree in business education from Madison College (now James Madison University) in 1971. He was a teacher and coach in West Virginia from 1956 until he moved to Orange County in 1967. After leaving Orange County in 1987, he served as principal of Harrisonburg High School from 1987 to 1991.
The Paul M. Cogar Classroom Innovation Grant was awarded in 2013.
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Kate Smith (center), Locust Grove Elementary School Teacher, received a $250 Paul Cogar grant for her Teaching Empathy and Kindness Through Literacy project. Pictured left to right: OCEF President John Reid, Smith and OCEF Board member Pam Frederick.
Mrs. Graves will use her $250 grant to purchase materials for the district and regional 24 Math Tournaments. Students participating in these tournaments are examples of Mr. Cogar’s legendary mantra, “be in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.”
Mrs. Jamerson will use her $500 grant to purchase materials for use in the OCHS Student Council Association’s student leadership development program.
“Receiving this award is such an honor,” Mrs. Jamerson told Foundation Board members and her students. “We’ll use it to grow the SCA leadership initiative, Lead the Change. I can purchase materials and curriculum that will help students make good choices and prepare for a positive and productive future. I am so excited.”
Ms. Dodson will use her $500 grant to purchase Character Counts books, and incentives. She also will partner with 4-H to provide comprehensive Character Counts and bullying-prevention curriculum for all LGPS students. She intends to prepare students “become positive role models who will give back to the community and instill the same positive character traits to future generations.”
Dodson had been appointed by her principal to escort the Foundation team around the school. After awarding grants to three other teachers at Locust Grove Primary, the team then surprised Dodson with their final grant. “You tricked me,” she exclaimed. “I was supposed to take pictures today. I had no idea I would receive an award. Thank you. This money will be put to good use.