Longtime Hope educator and Fraser Cascade school board trustee John Koopman has passed away suddenly.
Koopman was a well-known teacher in Hope. After his retirement he continued to lead the school district as a trustee on the SD78 school board, as one of three trustees representing Hope and Silver Creek schools. A friend of Koopman’s confirmed his sudden passing overnight on May 5.
Of those who met Koopman and talked about his work on the board, few would disagree that he had a passion for education. Ahead of the 2018 school board election, Koopman told the Hope Standard that his priorities were meeting the needs of the most vulnerable students in the district as well as starting younger kids off thinking about future career paths early in their lives.
“Hopefully, by starting this thought process earlier in life – more students will stay actively engaged and excited with what they are learning in school,” he wrote. “Hopefully, this will result in improved student achievement.”
An advocate for implementing trades learning and apprenticeship programs in schools, Koopman was passionate about enhancing Hope Secondary School’s welding program, as well as the MOUs the district has with several trade schools and the development of programs where students can try-a-trade or visit a trade school.
Koopman served his first full term as trustee during a turbulent four years on the school board, during which time trustee Rose Tustian was censured by the board and later declined to seek re-election. Koopman was also involved in overseeing the implementation of the SOGI 123 resource in Fraser Cascade schools. He was partway through his second term on the board at the time of his passing.
SD78 has not been without tragedy over the past year, with the unexpected passing of now three members of the school community who had spent their careers dedicated to education in the Hope area.
In April 2019, longtime trustee Tom Hendrickson passed away, after serving for three decades on the school board. His passing triggered a byelection with several candidates for the position, he is succeeded on the board by Cathy Speth.
Sandra Loring passed away after experiencing an unexpected medical emergency during a flight home from a school trip in March 2019. She had served as secretary for Coquihalla Elementary School for nearly 30 years.
The Hope Standard has reached out to SD78 and to the school board, we will update this story when we hear back.
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