Mr. Burgess was born in Charlotte, NC and grew up in the small town of Belmont, NC. He attended Gardner-Webb University where he received a BS in Math and Science, a Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education, and an Educational Leadership Certificate. Mr. Burgess has been an educator/leader for 20 years. He began his teaching career at RS Middle School in Rutherfordton, NC where he taught 6th and 8th grades and coached tennis and basketball. Mr. Burgess then taught math and science and coached tennis at South Point High School in Belmont, NC. From there, Mr. Burgess taught math at Brown Summit Middle School in Browns Summit, NC as well as serving as the head tennis coach at Wesleyan Christian Academy during that time. He moved on to teach 7th and 8th grade math and science at Ledford Middle School in Thomasville, NC. After 13 years in the public school systems of NC, he took a job with DoDEA in 2013 with Faith Middle School at Fort Benning, GA, where he taught 6th grade math for 3 years. Mr. Burgess served as the boys soccer coach during that time. In 2016, he was promoted to Assistant Principal at Shughart Middle School where he has served until now. Mr. Burgess was hired to serve as Principal in June 2021. He and his wife, Paige and their four children currently reside in Sanford, NC.
Mrs. Traci Cooper is an 18-year educator who devotes professional service to students and their families in various sectors. She continues with the esteem to learn and lead alongside other members of the profession to positively impact the development of students.
Mrs. Cooper obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Coastal Carolina University, a Master of Education degree, and an Education Specialist degree in School Leadership and Administration from Cambridge College.
Prior to joining the Shughart Middle School team for a second time, Mrs. Cooper served as an Assistant Principal in the DoDEA Pacific South District in Okinawa, Japan where her work focused on supporting teachers, students, and families in face-to-face and in virtual environments across the Pacific to include Guam, Korea, Mainland Japan, and Okinawa.
Mrs. Cooper has also served as a Staff Development Coach at Hampton Primary School, DoDEA’s premier 21st Century designed facility, at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina where she facilitated teacher collaboration, professional learning, provided coaching, and monitored the implementation of student-centered instruction and assessment through Project-Based Learning using the Integrated & Interrelated model. At her inception into the agency in 2012, Mrs. Cooper was assigned to teach middle school English/Language Arts and Social Studies.
Mrs. Cooper’s experiences in education also include years of teaching elementary and middle school grades in the public schools of South Carolina and Georgia where her capacity expanded to several leadership roles such as lead facilitator for a district model environment for the Standards-Based Classroom, the implementation of America’s Choice Workshop Model for instruction, curriculum writing, and direct school improvement.
Selflessly, Mrs. Cooper believes that continuing her service in military communities is a tribute to her former eight years of service in the United States Army Reserves as a Personnel Specialist and mission support during the Global War on Terrorism (Ramstein Air Base, Germany). She sums up her commitment as an educator as “still taking care of our people.” This endeavor will forever resound its purpose for what Mrs. Cooper does each day to include acquiring the grit as a former military spouse of a now U.S. Army Veteran. She shares this journey with their three children; two of them having been DoDEA students as well. She stands proudly with those who serve in various capacities of our armed forces and their families who sacrifice each day.