Teacher Moves Up in the Ranks

Jessica Raya, Author

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Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, Mr. Ben Copenhaver has transitioned from a high school teacher to an assistant principal at Spring Mills High School.  

Copenhaver graduated from Hedgesville High School in 1995 and originally wanted to be an occupational therapist. After high school, he attended Shepherd University to get his bachelor’s degree for social studies in secondary education. Then he attended Wheeling Jesuit University to earn his master’s degree in education leadership.  

Copenhaver has been teaching for a total of seven years. Even though it was not his first choice as a career, he still enjoys it very much.  

“I was and continue to be attracted to this new school and the ability it has to bring the community together and foster a family atmosphere for all to enjoy,” said Copenhaver about SMHS.  

The transition from teacher to assistant principal went overall quite well for Copenhaver. His new position consists of many tasks, including learning about all the facets it takes to be a leader in this school. His main responsibility is to help students with discipline challenges and to work with parents and guardians as well as students to establish a strong, consistent attendance record.   

His position as an administrator has much more of an impact than his previous position. The decisions Copenhaver makes can have an effect on an entire school and community. Being a teacher involved him modeling the best methods for his students. As an administrator, he must model the best methods for both students and staff.    

Copenhaver loves troubleshooting challenges he has with his students, such as helping them understand why an event has occurred or why a school policy is in place. He enjoys meeting with students and their teachers, parents, and guardians. He also finds great satisfaction in watching people in a group working together and understanding one another to benefit a student.  

As much as Copenhaver loves his current job position, he does miss some aspects of being a teacher. He misses the one-on-one time he got with his students when discussing the world’s differences. He often spent time with his classes looking at how they could lead the world in a better direction. He will always have fond memories of the great conversations with his students about history, culture, and politics.    

“There is trust and respect amongst the teachers and myself that we all have the responsibility to work with our students and see them succeed,” said Copenhaver.