After working in the Copperas Cove Independent School District for 17 years, retired teacher Jim Rudd has a great deal of experience to share with those new to the profession.

“You have to love children,” he said. “Children are the key to success. We are shaping their future and getting them ready for life. You have to love education and children to be a successful teacher.”

A strong proponent of public education, Rudd has a positive outlook on the future of Copperas Cove schools and their educators.

“I moved here and liked the size of the town and excellent school system,” he said.

Rudd began his tenure at Copperas Cove ISD after retiring from the military. Since finishing his educational career, Rudd has been a member of the Retired Teachers Association along with fellow retiree and former association president Mike Wilburn. There are 140 members in the Copperas Cove association, whose mission is to advocate for benefits and promote the well-being of its members, retired teachers.

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said educational theorist Madeline Hunter.

Wilburn quoted Hunter often while working in Copperas Cove ISD.

“You must care about your students in order for them to respect you,” Wilburn said. “That’s what I told teachers all the time when I was a principal.”

Born and raised in Copperas Cove, Wilburn spent 36 years teaching in the school district. His roles ranged from a teacher of world geography and health to baseball and football coach to principal of multiple elementary schools.

The first day on the job was “overwhelming,” Wilburn said.

“I was the only elementary PE teacher in the district — my smallest class was about 120 students, but I enjoyed it.”

Wilburn’s favorite thing about teaching was simple: “Seeing the eyes of the students when they got the point, when they understood the learning. Those looks made all the hard work worth it.”

Rudd said Copperas Cove and the surrounding areas all have “excellent young people.” He feels strongly that the community is in good hands.

“Young people are out making a living, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Together, both Rudd and Wilburn plan to continue their work to promote benefits for teachers.

Their primary goal is to preserve the Teacher’s Retirement System for Texas teachers.

They work with legislators to keep the system public and promote fellowship amongst members, Rudd said.

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