01/03/12 The Plymouth School Board will welcome a new member at their regularly scheduled meeting on January 8. Gary Cook is joining the Board in a seat previously held for eight years by Frank Brubaker.
Although this is Cook’s first school board position, he is no stranger to public service. Currently he works for Adult Protective Services in St. Joseph County. In the past he served with the Plymouth Police Department (1975-1995), Argos Police Department (1998-2003), Indiana State Representative (1990-2003), and Mayor of Plymouth (2004-2007).
Cook said he had filed for a school board seat in January of 1990; but withdrew his candidacy after the untimely passing of his father in February of that year. He said, “I always respected by father’s advice and what he did for people.” He then ran for the Indiana State Representative seat left vacant by his father. Cook said his wife Cheryl supported his run for school board, especially since it is a non-partisan position.
Cook said, “Years ago, I was asked to be on an ad hoc committee when the Plymouth Schools were building a new elementary building.” Now that building has been converted to Riverside Intermediate School.
Cook is quick to praise the Plymouth Schools, especially for the education of is three children. All three, Brad, Calvin and Leah, graduated from Plymouth High School. Brad, 28, graduated from the University of Southern Indiana and is now employed in the IT field in Evansville where he resides with his wife Ashley. Calvin, 22, is a senior at Manchester University where is majoring in Exercise Science and is making decisions about furthering his education at the graduate school level. Leah, 20, is on a fast-track program in psychology at Ball State University. Cook said PHS was able to offer classes for Leah where she could receive college credits while still in high school.
Cook said he plans to begin his term with an open mind. He said, “I want to take in what’s going on by listening at the meetings as well as people in the community. “I would like to see what people would like to see happen in the school system.” he said. He added, “The best thing is to take it all in, evaluate both sides of issues and look at the facts.”
Cook said, “I think we have an excellent school system, but nothing is perfect.” He said “We have to keep an open mind about what we put in front of students.” He said he is receptive to technology programs as well as vocational programs.
Carol Anders Correspondent