Farmington Schools honors teacher with ‘heart and soul’

Superintendent George C. Heitsch and Director of School/Community Relations Diane Bauman last Thursday surprised Kathy Koperski at Warner Middle School with the Judy White-Ora “Teaching with Heart and Soul” award.

Kathy Koperski
Kathy Koperski (Farmington Public Schools)

The 28-year veteran teacher has impacted lives at Forest Elementary School, Warner Upper Elementary School, and at Warner Middle School.

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A press release described Koperski as someone who “sees” every student and appreciates each one for their individuality. The A World in Motion (AWIM) Lead Teacher, she organizes engineering opportunities and a partnership with Bosch for teachers throughout the district which has inspired students, giving them real world experiences designing and testing prototypes.

As a member of the District’s science vision team, she helps create an implementation plan to improve the experience in the classroom for students and staff. She’s also advises the Warner student council.

Kathy Koperski
From left: Superintendent George Heitsch, Assistant Principal of Warner Middle School Kelly Kaminski, honoree Kathy Koperski, and Principal of Warner Middle School Allen Archer. (Farmington Public Schools)

The nomination form reads: “Whether Cereal Wars are feeding the hungry, Battle of the Middles is supporting the community, Pink Week is bringing awareness to breast cancer research or our school family is highlighted in the What Makes Warner Great Photo Contest, students are thrilled to see their ideas come to fruition.”

Koperski has promoted the Battle of the Middles charity basketball event with students, staff, and parents, helping to raise more than $65,000 for the Farmington Area Goodfellows and Farmington-Farmington Hills Neighborhood House.

“Kathy has been a rock for the sixth grade science team,” colleague Jon Vondrasek said. “Her expertise of subject matter allows her to share and collaborate freely. She is constantly checking up on us beyond our PLT time to see if we have enough help. I don’t know where I would be this year without her.”

Former student Lindsay Berke said Koperski “goes with the flow and makes room for kids to grow.”, and current student Yash Mehta commented, “She cares about our past, present, and future.”

The “Teaching with Heart and Soul” Award was created in honor of a former assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Judy White-Ora, who passed away in 2006.

Koperski will be honored at the Tuesday, May 21, 6 p.m., Board of Education meeting, held at the Lewis Schulman Administration Building, 32500 Shiawassee, Farmington. This meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 10 and online at

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