Tippecanoe High School welcomes Barnes, Cooper


TIPP CITY — Daniel Barnes first got bit by the teaching bug as a creative writing student at The Ohio State University.

“One of the things they did at the college I went to was an orientation program. They put me in a middle school classroom, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I changed my major from creative writing to elementary education, and I haven’t looked back since,” Barnes said.

Barnes, who was hired as principal of Tippecanoe High School in July, comes to the district from his position as assistant principal at Sidney Middle School. He has also served as assistant principal at Sidney High School, and has held several teaching positions over the last 20 years. He said that, while he’s not an expert in the content being taught in THS classrooms, he knows what good teaching looks like.

“Instead of trying to understand what’s going on in a physics classroom, when I go in there, I can tell that education is happening, and learning is happening,” Barnes said. “It also gives me a wide range of different experiences to draw from. Kids aren’t much different; their problems are different, but between middle school, elementary school, and high school, they’re still kids. They may be bigger kids, and they may have more responsibility, but at the end of the day, they’re still kids.”

Barnes is most excited about taking on this leadership role at THS, and being able to help guide staff and students toward the excellence that he feels they are capable of.

“I see myself as more of the ship’s rudder than the ship itself. We all have to row in the same direction, but somebody has to steer the ship. The teachers are the ones who do all the hard work. I have the easy job — I just help guide people,” Barnes said. “I am really excited to be principal of Tippecanoe High School, and I’m going to continue the tradition of excellence that parents and students expect.”

New THS Assistant Principal Angie Cooper describes herself as a very high energy person, with a lot of fascination and focus on the brain and how it functions — something, she says, is a good way to understand what kids’ intentions are.

“We all are operating on our IQ, but when a student is angry or upset, it’s an automatic drop in 20 points in your IQ. The more you get upset, the smaller time means to you. Kids will say things, and they’re not thinking about ten minutes from now, they’re not thinking about a day from now. Understanding that kids are going to do things in a way that their brain is functioning when it’s happening is a good way to understand where they’re at,” Cooper said.

Cooper, who started off as a psychology major in college, worked in what is known today as an emotional disturbance classroom with kids after a friend recommended the idea to her. She changed her major from being a therapist to being a special education teacher so she would be able to help out students every day, instead of once a week.

“My love for working with those kind of students has carried me through the last 25 years, but then it also lead me into administration because I liked helping other teachers work with those types of kids and found that I kind of have a natural leadership skill,” Cooper said.

Cooper is coming to THS from Montgomery County ESC, where she held the position of assistant principal starting in August 2018. Previously, she has worked as an intervention specialist for both Montgomery and Greene County ESC, and is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she earned her B.S. in education and health science, M.S. in education leadership, and attended the principalship graduate program. She has also attended the applied behavior analysis graduate program at the University of Cincinnati.

Getting to know the district and the community is at the top of Cooper’s list of goals for the upcoming school year, and to get joy moving around the halls of THS as she works with students and teachers. She also said that her door is always open — to both parents and students.

“I want students and parents to talk with me as they want to. I just want them to know that I’m approachable,” Cooper said. “I’m not a person that would get defensive; crucial conversations are hard for everyone. It might be uncomfortable, but we can still do it. I’m here from a positive place, and my door is open.”

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