Three new staffers set­tling in at Cooper

The Weekly Vista - - News -

As stu­dents set­tle into rou­tines at Cooper El­e­men­tary School, so too are a few new staff mem­bers.

Saman­tha Do­herty

Saman­tha Do­herty is the new speech-lan­guage pathol­o­gist at Cooper El­e­men­tary School and, in some cases, that means she helps stu­dents find a voice.

Chil­dren who see the speech pathol­o­gist range from kids who can’t seem to form cer­tain sounds to those who need a de­vice to help them com­mu­ni­cate. De­vices range from iPads to speech gen­er­a­tors.

Some stu­dents she will see once a week, oth­ers will come to her more of­ten. Some­times, her stu­dents may work within a small group, but other stu­dents need one-on-one at­ten­tion, she said. She can have a caseload of 45 stu­dents, but she doesn’t think there will be that many.

Do­herty grew up near St. Louis and went to South­east Mis­souri State Univer­sity. She went to col­lege plan­ning to be­come a teacher, but she de­cided that be­ing a class­room teacher wasn’t for her. She wanted to work with kids, but not a whole class­room full at a time. When an aunt sug­gested speech pathol­ogy, she de­cided it was what she wanted to do.

She worked for two years in north­east Mis­souri, then she met her fi­ancé. He comes from this area, she ex­plained, so they had to choose where to live. They chose Ben­tonville and so far, she has no re­grets.

When she’s not work­ing, Do­herty spends most of her time hang­ing out with fam­ily and friends. She en­joys read­ing.

Carol Sty­ron

Carol Sty­ron in­tro­duced her­self as the old­est na­tive Bella Vis­tan you’ll ever meet. The new Cooper school nurse was born and raised in Bella Vista in a fam­ily of nurses.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the NWACC nurs­ing pro­gram, she went into ICU nurs­ing, where she learned a lot.

“I was good at it,” she said, but it took a toll on her fam­ily life so she de­cided to try home health­care. Home health­care also de­manded long hours. While she spent some of those hours work­ing from home, she still wasn’t there for her fam­ily.

Last year she be­came a school nurse and split her time be­tween Ben­tonville’s two high schools. Af­ter spend­ing her first sum­mer home with her chil­dren, she’s happy to be at Cooper.

While el­e­men­tary-age chil­dren tend to be cuter than high school stu­dents, they are less able to be re­spon­si­ble for their own health, so they need an adult more. By high school, stu­dents are in­de­pen­dent. Even high school di­a­bet­ics need lit­tle as­sis­tance from the school nurse.

When she in­ter­acts with par­ents, she can put her­self in their shoes and de­cide when they need to be no­ti­fied of an is­sue. Some­times it’s a note, while other times it may be a phone call.

Sty­ron still lives close to the home where she grew up and is close to her par­ents. Her mother re­tired from emer­gency-room nurs­ing and is a sub­sti­tute nurse with the Ben­tonville School District, so if Sty­ron misses a day of work, it will likely be her mother who fills in.

When she’s not at work, Sty­ron, who used to have her own land­scap­ing busi­ness, likes to work in the gar­den. With her hus­band and sons, she likes to kayak, ca­noe and fish.

Buddy Hern­don

Cooper’s new coun­selor, Buddy Hern­don, has en­joyed a var­ied ca­reer. He’s been a coach, a PE teacher, a spe­cial ed teacher, an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal and, most re­cently, a coun­selor.

He was born in Brink­ley and went to high school in North Lit­tle Rock. He went to the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas and then spent 10 years coach­ing ju­nior high school and high school foot­ball and track.

While he was work­ing on his master’s de­gree, he taught in a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion class­room. In­stead of find­ing a job as a coun­selor, he was hired as an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal.

He worked in Hope and then in cen­tral Arkansas, where he moved to be closer to his fam­ily.

In cen­tral Arkansas, he spent three years coach­ing track at his alma mater, UCA. Then he re­turned to spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion.

In 2011, Hern­don and his wife, who is also a teacher, de­cided there were bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties in North­west Arkansas. They were both hired by the Ben­tonville School District. Hern­don started at R.E. Baker as a coun­selor, but it was dif­fi­cult to sched­ule around his younger daugh­ter’s off time since Baker was a non­tra­di­tional cal­en­dar school. So Hern­don, the last few years, split his time be­tween two other el­e­men­tary schools.

Look­ing back, he said he can’t choose his fa­vorite type of job. Each job gave him a chance to make a dif­fer­ence and that’s what’s im­por­tant, he said.

“Ad­min­is­tra­tors are also coun­selors,” he said. “So are coaches.”

For Hern­don, it’s all about re­la­tion­ships.

He doesn’t plan to change too much in the coun­sel­ing depart­ment at Cooper. He’s al­ready been to his first Ki­wa­nis meet­ing, so he’s pre­pared to restart the Ki­wa­nis Kids pro­gram. It’s im­por­tant, he said, for kids to have the chance to give back. At other schools he had his stu­dents mak­ing cards to hand out at the Veter­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Med­i­cal Cen­ter and he’ll prob­a­bly con­tinue that.

He and his wife just bought a house on Beaver Lake. When they’re not work­ing, they en­joy the lake. They have three kids, in­clud­ing one who works as a school li­brar­ian at Baker, and the youngest, who is still a Ben­tonville High School stu­dent.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

Buddy Hern­don has worked in schools rang­ing from el­e­men­tary to univer­sity as a teacher, ad­min­is­tra­tor, coach and coun­selor.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

As a speech pathol­o­gist, Saman­tha Do­herty works with stu­dents with a range of dis­abil­i­ties.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

The new school nurse at Cooper El­e­men­tary, Carol Sty­ron, has roots in the city.

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