Laura Cole, is going on 29 years of being a teacher in the Mason School District and 25 years of being a teacher at Steele Street Elementary School. She has taught special education for 30 years. Cole has four degrees in different areas of special education. Cole has been touching the lives of her students and their parents for 30 years and says she will continue to do so until she physically cannot.
Cole grew up with a learning disability herself; this gave her a passion for special education. Cole always knew she was intelligent but passed through school only getting C’s and D’s. Then, while studying at Michigan State, her undergrad advisor helped her discover her learning disability. Cole’s adviser told her she could answer every question, but if she takes a test, she couldn’t pass it. The adviser did some testing and told Cole about her learning disability. The adviser and Cole’s math professor worked with her to become a better test taker to help overcome her learning disability.
Cole said, “I always tell my students that’s why I became a special educator, because I kind of know how their brain works and how they struggle.”
Cole works with all kinds of disabilities such as: Down syndrome, autistic spectrum, mentally impaired and learning disabilities. Cole said she is very hard on her students because she believes every one of them can live up to their full potential. Cole expects her students to come to school every day ready to work really hard, and try. Cole has a Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It” poster hanging up
in her classroom to encourage her students to never say you can’t do something.
Cole said, “I never accept I can’t. If they really are struggling, we say this is the disability talking, let’s look at different ways to do this.”
Cole says her job isn’t just working with students but also working with parents to get their children ready for the future. Cole says one little boy came to her when he was in first grade, and the previous teacher had heard him say only five words. Cole had to call the boy’s parents the first day of class and tell them he got in trouble because he wouldn’t stop talking. Cole said the mother cried on the phone and said how appreciative she was.
Another parent from the Mason District has a son in Cole’s class this year. The parent said she moved to the school district about a year ago because her son has autism and she heard about Cole.
The parent said, “We moved here about a year ago because everyone said Laura Cole was an amazing teacher. Everything we have heard is true. She is an amazing teacher and has been such a positive influence on my son.”
Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki of Mason Public Schools said Cole is an excellent educator who cares deeply about her students.
Drzewicki said, “She truly makes a difference in the lives of her students every day. Ms. Cole is an asset to Steele Street Elementary School and an integral part of the team.”
Cole has purchased bouncy chairs for kids that have to be constantly moving and has invested a lot of her time and money into her classroom. Cole is constantly working even in the summer. Cole says once school ends, she plans all summer for the upcoming year ahead.
Cole has been involved in numerous organizations and associations that help support kids with special needs. She previously was involved in Step Up for Down Syndrome for 10 years and is currently still involved with Special Olympics.
Cole says, “All my life has been given to doing things for young people and different associations.”