Nancy Cook

Retired Faculty
Profile photo of  Nancy Cook

Nancy Cook began teaching at Hope in 1986 as a part-time professor and later as a half-time professor while teaching at Hamilton Community Schools. After 16 years at Hope, she accepted a full-time position. She directed the Hope College Department of Education’s student teaching program from 2003 until 2020.

She is the faculty co-sponsor of the student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children and co-director of the Hope Comes to Watts May Term.

During her spring 2021 sabbatical, Nancy is working on two articles: “Kurt’s Story” and “Support Moves That Cement Professional Learning.”

Areas of expertise

Nancy has been working in the field of special education since 1973. She holds a Michigan elementary teaching certification with endorsements in cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and fine arts. She currently has more than 40 years of experience teaching in the field. In addition to being knowledgeable about student teaching, her other areas of specialization include teaching students with learning disabilities, cognitive impairments and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


  • M.A., special education-learning disabilities, Michigan State University, 1978
  • B.A., special education-cognitive impairments, Michigan State University, 1973

Honors, grants and awards


  • Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017
  • Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program, 2009
  • Outstanding Faculty/Staff Person (selected by senior class), 2000


  • Jacob E. Nyenhuis Summer Faculty Development Grant (with Dr. Susan Brondyk)
  • Teagle Grant — “Writing in the Special Education Major,” (with professors Susan Cherup, Jane Finn and Kimberly Arsenault)
  • Provost’s Summer Grant — “Reading in Special Education Programs,”
  • Frost Center Grant — Special Education Team: “CEC Accreditation Project”
  • Provost’s Grant — “Chalk & Wire Data Analysis”
  • Dean for the Social Sciences/Provost’s Grant — “Developing & Preparing for an ePortfolio System”
  • McGregor Grant for Collaborative Faculty/Student Research — “Developing a Data Collection System,”
  • Hope College Assessment Committee & Dean for the Social Sciences — “Developing an Assessment Plan for the Education Department”
  • Faculty Development Grant — Collaborative Book Project
  • Cole Faculty Development Fund/Yntema Family Faculty Development Fund — “Understanding by Design” Institute


  • “Rhyme or Reason? Selection of Reading Programs in the Special Education Setting,” Council for Exceptional Children, Nashville, Tenn.
  • “The Student Teaching Seminar:  Best Practice,” Hawaii International Education Conference, Honolulu
  • “The Student Teaching Seminar,” American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, New Orleans, LA
  • “Learning Centers,” Yapa Teachers Conference, Bodrum, Turkey
  • “The 100th Day of School,” Yapa Teachers Conference, Bodrum, Turkey
  • “Young Children with Disabilities,” Yapa Teachers Conference, Antalya, Turkey
  • “Using the Room to Teach,” Yapa Teachers Conference, Antalya, Turkey
  • “Using the Chalk & Wire ePortfolio System,” Hope College
  • “Tips for the Supervising Teacher,” Cooperating Teachers Conference
  • “ADHD – What It Is & What To Do," Christian Educators Conference, South Bend, In.

Selected publications

  • A Story of Transformation: How One Educator Preparation Program Reinvented Student Teaching (with Susan Brondyk), Peter Lang Publishing, 2020
  • “Assessment,” in Finding Our Way, An Anthology, 2004
  • “Be a Super Supervising Teacher,” Instructor, August 1988
  • “On Our Own,” Christian Science Monitor, October 1986
  • “Lessons From Thomas,” Christian Science Monitor, June 1986

Outside the college

Nancy actively serves on many committees at her church, Christ Memorial. She has been involved in several ministry efforts with schools and teachers in Turkey that serve students with disabilities. She is the board secretary for the Kardelen Mercy Ministries in Ankara. 

Nancy serves on the Special Education Ministry Board in Holland and is currently serving as board president. 

She is married to Brian, a local builder, and is the mother of Megan Wood ’02 Reilly. Megan is married to Sean Reilly, who serves as the Director of Health and Fire Safety at Hope. They have blessed Nancy with two adorable grandchildren, Emma and Kaiden, both of whom are already planning to attend Hope. Nancy and Brian are raising their third grandchild, Carter, who is also partial to the orange and blue.

She loves to do word and number puzzles, read, walk their Springer Spaniel, Toby, and spend precious time at their cottage on Twin Lake in Twin Lake, Michigan.

Profile photo of  Nancy Cook
Nancy Cook
Retired Faculty
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