R-7 teacher promotes understanding, respect and inclusion through community service

February 26, 2014 

Curt Cook is dedicated to embracing the many cultures within our community – both in his job as a Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher and school diversity coordinator as well as his role as a commissioner on the Lee’s Summit Human Relations Commission, a volunteer board promoting mutual understanding, respect and inclusion.

Cook has served for four years on the Human Relations Commission, which meets monthly at Lee’s Summit City Hall. He also is in charge of marketing and communications for the City of Lee’s Summit’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Cook has worked for the R-7 School District for 15 years, currently as a social studies teacher and diversity coordinator at Lee’s Summit High School and as an international studies teacher at Summit Technology Academy.

“The Human Relations Commission’s mission is very similar to my work as the school diversity coordinator,” Cook said, “which is to instill a sense of belonging to all students of all cultures. And in international studies, we discuss diverse cultures every day. So the commission was a natural outlet for something that I have been passionate about for quite some time.”

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is conducted by the Human Relations Commission, and Cook was asked to coordinate marketing for the January event both as a member of the commission and based on his own experiences in communications and marketing.

“I enjoy working with the MLK Committee in developing interesting and engaging ways in which we can communicate the message,” he added.

Cook also encourages others to get involved in community service, including opportunities through the City of Lee’s Summit.

“Take the city’s free Citizen Leadership Academy or go online and look at the boards and commissions to see where you can get involved,” he said. “We live in a democracy and we are lucky to live in a city that encourages citizen input.”

He added that it has been a remarkable experience to be part of this energetic, passionate and committed group of people.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I get to be a spokesperson for that mission,” he said.

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