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NSU gives Larry Monk Award to close friend of award namesake
Nov 09, 2012 | 463 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb, left, and NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke, right, present the 2012 Larry Monk Award to Instructor of Mathematics Joseph Pope.
Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb, left, and NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke, right, present the 2012 Larry Monk Award to Instructor of Mathematics Joseph Pope.
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Joseph Pope, an instructor of mathematics at Northwestern State University’s Leesville/Fort Polk campus, was named the 2012 recipient of the Larry Monk Award. The award honors Monk, executive director of the Leesville-Fort Polk campus from 2003-08. Pope has been teaching at the Leesville-Fort Polk campus since 1974. He was an adjunct instructor from 1974 to 2000 and an instructor of mathematics from 2000-2008. From 2008-2012, he was interim executive director.

“Larry (Monk) was a close friend,” said Pope. “It is quite an honor to receive an award named in his honor, but I can think of a lot of other people who should have received it.”

A graduate of Louisiana State University in secondary education, Pope earned a master’s in secondary administration and supervision from Northwestern State along with a plus-30.

Pope spent 24 years at Simpson High School as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal. He was a supervisor and secondary curriculum director for the Vernon Parish School Board from 1988 to 1998.

“I never planned to be a teacher,” said Pope, who is in his 48th year as a teacher. “I planned to be an engineer, but couldn’t afford everything I needed to take engineering classes. One day, a friend who was a retired Air Force veteran was talking about how much trouble he was having in math class. He told me, ‘This new math is killing me.’ I explained to him that the math hadn’t really changed. It was just a different way of looking at things.”

Pope said he found an empty classroom and began working with his friend. “Before I knew it, there were a whole bunch of people there who needed help. I decided I enjoyed teaching and that was what I would go into.”

Pope often works with non-traditional students who are taking math after a number of years outside the classroom. “I try to help them as much as I can,” he said. “They may have been out of a math class for 20 years and sometimes going into a class with youngsters can be a little intimidating.”

Monk was a faculty member on the Leesville/Fort Polk campus for almost 20 years before becoming executive director. Monk was an instructor of education from 1999-2003, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in education and educational leadership. From 1981-1996, he was an adjunct instructor, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science, education, educational leadership and educational psychology.

Monk was a teacher at West Leesville Elementary and Leesville High School before being named Vernon Parish’s curriculum director in 1981. In 1988, he was selected as assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, in-service and professional personnel. Monk held that position until 1999.

An alumnus of Northwestern, Monk received a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in business education and distributive education and a doctorate in secondary teaching, supervision and administration from NSU. He did additional post-doctoral study at UCLA, Peabody Teacher’s College of Vanderbilt University and Northeast Louisiana University.

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