MS, University of North Carolina 1984
Amy Cohen's humanities classroom is always energetic. Students read young adult novels set in the cultures they are studying (everything from ancient Greece and Rome to ancient Egypt and China to medieval Europe) and do vocabulary study that helps integrate language arts, social studies, and Latin. Says Cohen, "Words open the door to so many things." Writing also has a central place in her classroom. Students write creative pieces and also work on structuring paragraphs, proofreading, and peer editing. During Friday Morning Out Loud sessions, students have the opportunity to read aloud from their writing for classmates, parents, and guests. Throughout the sixth grade, the homeroom time at the end of the day is devoted to outside reading. Students set individual reading goals for each quarter, and Amy cooked a gourmet breakfast at her house when all the students in her first Baylor class achieved their goals. Every Friday students write letters in their journals about their reading, and Amy replies to every letter.
Cohen grew up in Chattanooga, attended Chattanooga High School, majored in political science at Michigan, and earned her MS in Health Policy and Administration at UNC. For four years she was the director of wellness courses at a Madison, Wisconsin, hospital, and for eight years thereafter she was the president of Violet Camera, a family business in Chattanooga. But she always taught and tutored on the side (she is a veteran teacher of Hebrew), and she says, "I realized my true love was being in the classroom."
Volunteer work has been a constant in Cohen's life. She was the first student on the Chattanooga School Board Selection Committee, she created a Campus Information Center at Michigan that is still in operation, and she has served on the Gifted Advisory Committee to the Chattanooga Public Schools and on the Board of Directors of Family and Children's Services. Cohen loves to travel and take long walks. She and her husband, Jon, have three children: Geoffrey, Ethan, and Aliza.