The only thing Paulyn M. Cox has ever wanted to be is a teacher. She was raised by a family that really valued education, and she knew she wanted to contribute to the field. The idea was solidified when she went to visit her cousin in Ohio and got the opportunity to help out in her classroom. From that point forward, Ms. Cox dedicated herself to pursuing her goal. She earned an Associate of Applied Science from the State University of New York in 1953 and a Bachelor of Arts from Ithaca College in 1958, and became certified as a teacher in the state of New York. Then, degrees in hand, she set out into the field.
Ms. Cox’s early efforts paid off, and she quickly became an elementary teacher with the Board of Education in Elyria, Ohio. She advanced after a year to become a reading teacher with the Board of Education in Grafton, Ohio, and then again to become a fifth-grade reading teacher at St. Columba’s School in New York. When Ms. Cox joined the staff of the Board of Education in Fonda, N.Y., however, she knew she had found her home. She stayed there as an elementary teacher from 1968 until her retirement in 1994.
The highlight of Ms. Cox’s career was being so close to the children she taught. They looked up to her and she looked up to them; she believes she learned as much from her students as they did from her. She is proud to have created such an open and collaborative environment in her classroom.
When Ms. Cox wasn’t working, she was reading, walking, gardening, singing, spending time with her family, mentoring, and volunteering. Over the years, she was active with a number of deserving organizations, including the Baptist Rehabilitation Center in Scotia, N.Y., the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, World Vision, the YWCA, Inter-Faith Community, and the Schenectady Nursing Home. She has also been a mentor with the Brown School since 1996 and a vocalist in the church choir since she was 8 years old. Her efforts earned her the Sister Rachel Award from Schenectady Inner City Ministries in 1998 and the Top Fundraiser Award from Crop Walk for Hunger.