Hilary Cooper Honored with 2017 Art Hecht Award

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 - Posted in All District News

Hilary Cooper 2017 Art Hecht Award Recipient

Hilary Cooper, a long-time volunteer who played an integral role in helping Piedmont Middle School as well as Piedmont High School transition into new principals, led two very successful Giving Campaigns for the Piedmont Education Foundation and coordinated dozens of community volunteers as the Measure A Parcel Tax election campaign volunteer coordinator, will be honored with this year’s Arthur Hecht award.  The award is presented each year to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community and to Piedmont’s youth through volunteer service over a period of many years. The Board of Education will present the award at its meeting on May 10.

Art Hecht was well known as a volunteer dedicated to serving students in Piedmont and Oakland. He was a member of Piedmont’s Board of Education from 1970 to 1982, and instrumental in developing Millennium High School, Piedmont’s alternative high school. Established in 1998, the Arthur Hecht Award honors both Hecht’s memory and extraordinary individuals who continue his legacy of service.

The unanimous choice for this year’s award, Ms. Cooper has been a hardworking school volunteer and community leader since moving to Piedmont in 2009. Her years and depth of service, and her inclusive, collaborative style and understated leadership, have benefited Piedmont youth in many direct and indirect ways.

In 2011, although Ms. Cooper was relatively new to Piedmont, she enthusiastically jumped in as co-chair of the Spring Fling along with Shanti Brien. “Hilary encouraged other new parents to get involved on our planning committee, kept us all organized and focused, and she ultimately led us to a very successful fundraiser for the elementary schools,” said Brien.

From 2013-2015 Ms. Cooper served as the Piedmont Middle School (PMS) Parents’ Club President where she managed year-long PMS community engagement meetings to help change the PMS block schedule, as well as ensure that the new principal’s transition was as seamless as possible. Ms. Cooper was also instrumental in the creation of March Mingle, a community-building and fundraising event for PMS Parents. March Mingle has become an annual fundraiser for PMS.

In 2014, while serving her 2nd term as PMS Parent’s Club President, Ms. Cooper also served as a board member on the Piedmont Education Foundation Board and on the Wellness Center’s Support Committee. She answered the call for help and worked tirelessly coordinating dozens of teams and hundreds of community members going door-to-door as a precinct captain for Measure A Parcel Tax campaign.

In 2015, Ms. Cooper once again enthusiastically jumped in to join forces with Shanti Brien in Co-Chairing the Giving Campaign for what would become a two year term. Ms. Cooper’s leadership and enthusiasm helped the Endowment grow to record levels in her first term. She also led the Giving Campaign with positivity and competence during a second year, with her Co-Chair Eileen Kwei.

Concurrent with her second term as Co-Chair of the Giving Campaign, Ms. Cooper became Co-President of the Piedmont High School Parent Club, working regularly with former Principal Brent Daniels, Co-Interim Principals Eric Mapes and Irma Muñoz as well as Superintendent Booker, and facilitating communication among parents and the school administration.

Upon reflection of her years of leadership throughout the Piedmont community, Ms. Cooper believes that she has received more than she has given, “I am so grateful to receive the Art Hecht Award this year.  I feel like I have gotten more out of this experience than I have put in.  I have met amazing people, made new friends, and been inspired by our dedicated teachers and administrators.  It has truly been my honor to serve the schools and do my part for our community,” she said.

“The District is unbelievably grateful for Hilary’s generosity of time and leadership – all in the support of students and staff,” commented Randall Booker, Superintendent. “She has been a tremendous resource to principals and is an integral component of countless programs that build both academic and social/emotional programs for Piedmont students.”

The Board of Education will present Ms. Cooper with the award and a gift of student art at the regularly scheduled Board of Education Meeting on May 10.

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