The Olympic Games in Sochi have dominated the news in the past week, so perhaps this is a great time to honor our nation’s educators who are also Olympic athletes. One such teacher is Gwynneth Hardesty Coogan, a talented educator who also happens to be a two-time Olympic athlete.
Gwynneth was born on August 21, 1965, in Trenton, New Jersey. As a youngster, Gwynneth attended Phillips Exeter Academy for two years, where she graduated in 1983. There she played both field hockey and squash. After her graduation from high school, she enrolled in Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, earning her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1987, and her doctorate in math from the University of Colorado in 1999, working primarily in number theory. She did post-doctorate work at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
During her years at Smith, Gwynneth took up running, and won the NCAA Division III title in the 3,000 meters two times. She qualified for the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain, where she competed in the 10,000 meter race. Four years later, she was an alternate for the women’s marathon for the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia. She is married to fellow Olympian Mark Coogan.
Gwynneth’s first teaching experience was at Hood College, but she currently teaches math at Phillips Exeter Academy. At Phillips Exeter, Gwynneth is the director of the Exeter Mathematics Institute, and serves as the Head Coach of the girls varsity cross country team, in addition to her roles as dormitory adviser and mathematics instructor. She was the first Smith Family Instructor of Mathematics from 2007 to 2013, and she received a Brown Award for her teaching in 2011.
Way to go, Gwynneth!