Teacher of the Issue: Crosby continues to call Coppell home


Sreehitha Moravaneni

Coppell High School AP and Honors chemistry teacher Court- ney Crosby assists sophomores Yashitha Chunduru and Nayan Gandra and in completing their one-on-one honors chemistry quiz in seventh period. Crosby was selected as The Sidekick’s Volume 34 Issue 1 Teacher of the Issue.

Iniya Nathan, Student Life Editor

Filled with a passion for chemistry, it took Coppell High School chemistry teacher Courtney Crosby longer to find her passion for teaching. A 2007 CHS graduate, Crosby graduated from Texas A&M with a master’s degree in educational psychology, with a specialization in creative thinking and curriculum design, or as she likes to refer to it as, “a master’s in creativity.”

Originally planning on becoming a forensic lab technician, she discovered her love for teaching while tutoring students while in college for extra cash.

“I liked seeing the ‘aha’ moments with my students or with the people I was helping,” Crosby said. “I loved being there. I didn’t have to be the one to turn the light bulb on for them, but I loved being there watching when their light bulb went off. That changed my path in where I wanted to put my energy as a career. It’s helping people, loving people where they are not where they should be, and helping them grow towards whatever goal they have for themselves.”

Crosby has been teaching for 11 years, and while all of those years may not have been a chemistry class, there was at least one chemistry unit. She has also spent most of her teaching career in Coppell ISD.

“I remember as a student, feeling a sense of home, a connection to this campus and to the people of this community,” Crosby said. “My mom [Tonnie Crosby] still lives in the community so I’ve never really left Coppell as a citizen. It’s just a feeling of home and wholesomeness and collective progress like we want to move forward, but we want to move forward together as a community. That was what really drew me.”

It’s working with someone who finishes your sentences. They just know you so well.

— Biology teacher Dr. Bianca Benitez

CHS Principal Laura Springer had known Crosby since she was a student at CHS through the Coppell Choir. While Crosby was working in Plano ISD, Springer was the one who asked Crosby to come work at Coppell Middle School East, and later CHS.

“She’s grown into the most beautiful woman, she’s just so sure of herself,” Springer said. “She is a strong leader. She is a person that kids go to because they feel so loved and cared for if they’re in her class. She is so smart and so good with her chemistry classes. She is what I want teachers to be.”

One of Crosby’s favorite parts about teaching is seeing students getting involved in clubs and extracurriculars they are passionate about. Last year, she was co-sponsor of Science Olympiad and this year she is sponsoring Red Jackets.

“She’s definitely helped Science Olympiad flourish to the best that it can be and she was always really open,” said CHS senior Mytri Nair, Science Olympiad alpha team captain.  “Her schedule was busy, but she still made time for us and was a great sponsor.”

Biology teacher Dr. Bianca Benitez co-sponsored Science Olympiad with Crosby, and now co-sponsors Red Jackets with her. The two have known each other for nine years, their connection starting with the fact that they both went to Coppell and continuing with their love of music and the shared closeness that comes from working together. They both moved from Plano ISD to CMS East to CHS at roughly the same time.

“It’s working with someone who finishes your sentences,” Benitez said. “They just know you so well. We collaborate really well, we know what the other person has in mind, we compliment each other really nicely. We can laugh together, we can stress out together, we can plan together, it’s appreciated. I look forward to it all the time.”

One of Benitez’s favorite memories with Crosby is singing the Coppell alma mater on a field trip at SMU. Crosby has been part of choir since she went to Lakeside Elementary, and was in Madrigals while at CHS. One of her favorite choir memories was winning at the American Classics Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival during her senior year. 

“It’s a very competitive event. We had never placed or won and my senior year, we won,” Crosby said. “The next year, the year after you win you’re the honor choir [and]  they do an honor choir concert afterwards. I didn’t get to be in the honor choir but I got to travel with friends and we got to meet up afterwards, a year later and experience that together. I’ve gotten to sing in some incredible spaces all over the world [and have] treasured memories and friendships through choir.”

Another choir memory Crosby puts importance on was the first time she traveled without family to Greece with the Texas A&M Century Singers choir. Currently she is part of the Dallas Symphony chorus and practices multiple times a week.

“You’re creating art in a space you can never replicate,” Crosby said. “There’s something really special about a collection of voices trying to make one sound and send out one message through a collection of voices. I think that’s really powerful.”

Performing her art in a new country and discovering her passion for teaching were not the only life altering experiences Crosby had during college. She was also diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. She found out the day before her 23rd birthday in 2013, her first year of teaching. 

“It was a very gentle way of finding out just because I was in a beautiful place surrounded by scenes from my faith,” Crosby said. “Being in Israel and seeing the Sea of Galilee and seeing the Dead Sea. It was a very kind way to find out because I would have time to process before I came back and all the medical craziness started. I’m very grateful for that. There’s always a question of why. But sometimes we’re not allowed to see the answer of why things happen to us. We have an opportunity to decide what we do with our life. When things are out of our control, we can control what we can give the rest to God and just know that everything happens for a reason, and there’s some reason that I was meant to go through this.”

Last December, Crosby found out her cancer had returned. 

“In the beginning it was a surprise, just because all the research, all the data and all the tests for the past eight and a half years were showing that this isn’t coming back, you’re done,” Crosby said. “For there to be something that is drastically different from what I had heard was definitely a tough concept to accept.”

Crosby is currently going through treatments for cancer. She is also thankful for the amount of support from the CHS staff while taking care of her health. Crosby also has gotten closer to her family with their support and maintains a positive outlook for the future. 

“I was in the hospital for about a month this summer for a blood stem cell transplant, which essentially reset my immune system. I have the immune system of an infant right now. I have to get all my shots like a baby,” Crosby said. “That was a very special time because my mom was in the hospital with me the whole time. So it was a window of time that we got to spend a lot of quality time together. We’ll never get that back. So I’m very grateful. The most important time is any time I’m able to spend uninterrupted time with my immediate family.”

Crosby’s positive attitude about the surprises life has brought her is highlighted by how her passion for teaching is sustained by the new experience each day brings.

“You wake up and you don’t know what that day is going to hold,” Crosby said. “It could be really crazy. It could be really quiet. You get to celebrate student successes. You get to see them take pride in what they’re passionate about. I love that. I love seeing people pursue their dreams at such a young age when all dreams feel and seem reachable.”

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