Mitchell Moving to Gateway; Will Be Replaced by New Principal Claudia Cooper

Ana Peralta, Reporter

This year after three years of working at Southeast as principal, Ben Mitchell will be moving on and will be replaced by Claudia Cooper. Cooper has been working with USD 259 her whole career and has several connections to Southeast. 

What is your educational background?

 “I am a Wichita Public Schools product. I was born and raised here in Wichita. After graduating from Southeast I went on to graduate from WSU. I taught middle school History for a combined 15 years at Jardine and then Curtis Middle School before becoming an Instructional Coach at Brooks and Allison Middle Schools. The last five years have been spent at East High School where I have been an Assistant Principal.”

What are your connections to Southeast?

“My sisters, brothers and I all went to and graduated from Southeast. My children all went to Southeast and I currently have nieces and nephews still attending Southeast. I want to be the principal at Southeast because I know the greatness and opportunities that have come out of Southeast. I know the amazing potential that lies within the walls of Southeast and although there are some great traditions and celebrations that stem from the old building, there are some new traditions and memories that are waiting to be made.”

What will you be looking forward to about your new job?

“I am looking forward to once again being a part of something that my family and the community holds near and dear. I am excited to initiate some changes but also to witness and enhance the values that have remained. I am looking forward to growing programs and opportunities for both staff and students. And lastly, I am looking forward to meeting and working with staff and students who share my love for Southeast.”

Are there any things about the school that you’d like to change or anything about your leadership style you think people should know about?

“I have received lots of emails from both staff and students about specific things that they would like to see at Southeast. I will be having additional listening and greeting sessions with both staff and students to identify areas of growth and opportunities.”

Is there anything else you want people to know about you?

“Only that I am excited to be heading home because home is where your story begins, memories are created and learning never ends!”