Meet Cori Coats!

Danny Stock

As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Cori Coats!

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Cori.

Primary Role: High School Science Teacher and Lab Coordinator
Pronouns: she/her
Years at GDS: 15 years down and two-thirds of the way through year 16! 

What do you love about GDS?
I love the family sense of community.

Why do you teach/do your job?
I am passionate about learning how the world works and how all of life interacts. I love working with students to share my understanding and learn more together.

Cori during High School Chemistry 

A favorite lesson to teach?
The structure and function of biomolecules [all the various organic molecules needed for an organism to survive].  It is so awesome how the chemistry of the molecules influences their biological function!!  

Your work style in three words?
Fun. Creative. Relevant.

Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
Cori is a former cross country and lacrosse coach as well as a former advisor for Enviro Club and STEMbassadors.  She currently advises a Gardening club at the High School.

A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
That they are being true to themselves in their daily endeavors. Life is too short!

Personal passions/hobbies/pastimes?
Gardening, crafting, and singing.

Favorite piece of music?
It’s a toss up between Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd piano concertos. [Have a listen—no, that’s not Cori on piano.]

Tell us about your family.

A throwback to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania—only a couple of miles from where I grew up.  World class botanical gardens and also a place that influenced my personal interests.

I’m the youngest of four kids with a veterinarian for a father; we used to joke that we were a “litter.” My parents raised us in a small house in the woods and, as naturalists and conservationists, this environment had a huge impact on my study of the natural world. Now I have a family of my own; along with my husband, two-year-old son, and border collie, we all love to go hiking together on Saturdays after our regular pancake breakfast. We try to get outside as much as we can and explore the world together!

One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I had a side job in college working in the biology department doing taxidermy.  Shh.  Don’t tell.  It’s a little embarrassing.

One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Participating in an archeological dig in Israel and then visiting Petra… it was literally life changing.  

 

One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
I've ridden horses a fair amount but I have never learned to jump. I really want to do that.

My! What large ears he has!  Cori and her son last Easter. Let’s dust off those ears for this year!

With a tip from Cori, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Third grade teacher and Varsity running coach Anthony Belber said, “Cori coached cross country for many years at GDS, developing meaningful connections with high school students outside of the classroom. Whether she was slipping hungry runners an afternoon snack from her stash of healthy granola bars, joining them for training runs through the streets of DC, or connecting with them during the annual pre-season week-long away camp, students knew they were being looked after by an adult who cared for them deeply. Cori's sense of humor, interest in students, and ability to listen fully draws all of us in. She looks after everyone in her orbit, inspires us with her investment in her work and pursuits, and makes us feel seen. She also supplies many of us with high grade honey from her father's hives!”

Also, High School math teacher Kate Rueter added, “Cori is one of the kindest people I know.  She has incredible compassion for others, and she genuinely cares about her students and her colleagues. Her love of science is evident both in and out of the classroom (she is basically a plant whisperer!), and she is delighted to share that enthusiasm with her community.”

Finally, HS science teacher C.A. Pilling overheard students at a recent cross country practice:

"Who do you have for biology?"

"Cori."  

"Oh she is soooo sweet.  She makes me want to do science."

"The dog mask was a humor-gift from my mother in an effort to lighten the mood of early-pandemic life. Mission accomplished, mom!"

 

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