“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.