Harlan Cook first taught at G. Stanley Hall in 1960, then became a principal at Papillion La Vista Middle School. In 1977, he opened Golden Hills Elementary School, where he served as principal until his retirement in 2001. 

Cook can be described as a principal that any teacher would want to work for. He was a strong leader with the charisma to gain full staff support of his innovative ideas. He was professional, fair, and understanding. He had an innate ability to build teamwork among teachers and staff and promote harmony to create a positive atmosphere for learning. Cook actively sought out new ideas for presenting materials to capture students’ attention, loved parent involvement in classroom activities, and pushed his teachers to be creative and innovative educators. Along with Ms. Ann Danner, Cook was dedicated to starting the Outdoor Education Program for all sixth graders. This program still continues today.

Cook is a native Nebraskan, graduating from Battle Creek High School. He attended Norfolk Jr. College (now Northeastern Community College), completed his Bachelor’s degree at Dana College in Blair, and received his Master’s Degree from University of Nebraska Omaha.

Gala 2017 celebrates the outstanding education in Papillion La Vista Community Schools. Proceeds from Gala 2017 will support additional educational opportunities for Papillion La Vista students that otherwise would not be possible, such as 6th Grade Outdoor Education, the Elementary Arts Program, Scholarships for Graduating Seniors and more. Gala serves as an occasion to publicly recognize new Hall of Fame Distinguished Alumni, Legendary Educators, and Community Boosters.

Register for or donate to Gala 2017 here.

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