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Koppman, Gail Frank

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November 19, 1942 - July 15, 2015

Koppman, Gail Frank

We mourn the loss of Gail F. Koppman, 72, who passed away from brain cancer on July 15, 2015 at her home in Dallas.  Gail was born on November 19, 1942 in Philadelphia, PA and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.  Upon graduation, she married her classmate, Edward S. Koppman (her “Eddie”), who would become her husband of over 50 years.  She was the beloved mother of David, John and Katherine and the loving grandmother of Benjamin, Charles, Joseph and Abigail.  Gail was a voracious reader, an avid runner and a passionate educator.  She began teaching in the Terrell and Richardson school districts and later taught economics at Richland Junior College.  After raising her children, she taught social studies for more than 20 years at Good Shepherd Episcopal School where having Mrs. Koppman in the 8th grade was considered a rite of passage.  She provided her students with the study skills and work ethic that would benefit them throughout their lives, and her dedication was recognized over the years in the countless letters, notes and emails that she received and treasured from former students and their parents.  She indeed will be missed by family, friends, colleagues and students.  A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm in the Olan Sanctuary at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Rd., Dallas, Texas.  A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.

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Anonymous Student

January 31, 2016 2:01PM

Mrs. Koppman changed my life. As a teacher, she worked in a sometimes thankless profession, but she has always remained dear to me as one of the primary influences in my life. I was not a special student when I entered Mrs. Koppman's class for the first time in the early 2000s. I can't even say with absolute conviction that I am anything extraordinary now. Gail Koppman, however, was one of the rare teachers, beyond the mere academic sense, who endeavored to improve me. We do our best work when we are pushed out of our comfort zones and this old bat could write the book on making an 8th grader uncomfortable. She was strict, rule-heavy, and riddled with all the toughest expectations. For a young man or woman preparing to enter his/her prime educational years, though, she was a foundation builder. I never knew Mrs. Koppman was a runner. Having run a bit myself, I've learned that establishing a base is the least fun, and most important, component of a successful season. Any student of Mrs.Koppman will tell you that writing bibliographies by hand, memorizing current events, and outlining--good Lord, the outlining--were the most arduous of tasks. I hated the minutia at the end of middle school. In the subsequent years that saw me move into high school, and then eventually through college, however, I came to notice that I was better than other students at one critical task; I could take notes like no one's business. I didn't just write things down verbatim, though. Those stupid outlines actually taught me how to absorb, synthesize, and organize information on the fly. The ability to categorize and relate incoming globs of auditory and visual stimuli is at the very essence of a good education. I learned how to learn from Mrs. Koppman. Not only did I learn how to learn, but I also experienced, for the first time, a true academic challenger who expected me, at the very least, to fight for my education. Mrs. Koppman wasn't a bully, but she pushed all the right buttons to make you better. She never made any maudlin speeches as a teacher, but I fortunately came to know that she was actually a sweet, lovely woman at heart. I wrote her an email about 3 years ago thanking her for making me better. She responded with tears in her eyes and, of course, a silver tongued reference to one of my stupid jokes that I loved as an 8th grader. This shilly-shally letter is for you, Mrs. Koppman. Thank you.

Dr Laila Rumsey

July 24, 2015 8:57PM

Very sad to hear of Gail's passing, which I only learned of today (7/24). She represented everything I'd hoped to find in the interfaith group, Daughters of Abraham. May she rest in peace, and may she always be lovingly remembered by her family and friends.

Laura Kelsoe

July 23, 2015 9:36AM

Our family is so grateful to have had the privilege of Mrs. Koppman teaching our three daughters. She made such an impact not only in her teaching but in how she expected her students' very best efforts. This gift of high expectations we treasured as parents and our girls carry inside them now and always. Thank you Mrs. Koppman.

Mike and Beth Bailey

July 22, 2015 9:51PM

We will never forget the impact that Gail Koppman made in our lives. She truly inspired us and our two children, Deanna and Jonathan, when they were her students as GSES. We will never forget her kindness towards ALL individuals; she taught us the goodness of the Islamic faith, the virtues of accountability, the expectation of having a strong work ethic, and she insisted that students during her downtown library field trip show kindness and respect to the homeless as they passed by. And Gail, I will miss seeing you jog around in full cheerleading mode as we watch the Dallas marathoners run through the neighborhood.

Chuck Rice

July 21, 2015 3:38PM

Thank You Mrs. Koppman.

Jill Long

July 21, 2015 9:00AM

Words can not express the influence that Gail Koppman had on my daughter and countless other students during her time at Good Shepherd. Her passion for her subject and teaching resonated with every lesson, parent conference, special project and especially with her students. My daughter, Amanda was fortunate enough to have her for two years and what an amazing influence she was. Gail Koppman was one of the greats and will be remembered by her students for the rest of their lives. Condolences to her family and all who loved her.

Geoff Wawro

July 20, 2015 1:22PM

Deepest condolences. She was a wonderful mentor, mother, wife, scholar and humanitarian, who changed the world for thousands of young minds. May she rest in just the sort of peace that she would like -- busy, bookish and inquiring. She'll have God back on his heels in no time! Her memory will live on through all of the children -- hers and others -- she taught so well.

Carolyn Smith Lewis

July 19, 2015 8:10PM

It was the great privilege of our family, and particularly our two sons, to have known and loved Gail as the extraordinarily gifted teacher of middle school social studies at Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Dallas, and from her Charles and Edward learned much more than history, geography, economics, current events and the joys of outlining. She liked to say that she was a Jew teaching in a Christian school, and a primary focus of the curriculum in seventh grade was a comprehensive study of Islam. Can you imagine her delight when she first learned of our group, the Daughters of Abraham, a gathering of the three Abrahamic faiths? Her vision of the connectedness of all peoples, races and religions helped our sons and many others to grasp the importance of knowing and understanding one's neighbors near and far and of appreciating similarities and differences among the whole human family. Both of our sons consider her to be their favorite of their school years and a life-transforming teacher. I cherish her as my friend.

nancy smith

July 18, 2015 8:43PM

My daughter, Kirby, was a student of hers for 2 years in middle school at Good Shepherd Episcopal School. She went on to attend public high school in a small town and credits Mrs. Koppman for helping prepare her for college and being instrumental in her becoming valedictorian of her class!

Melanie Girard

July 17, 2015 2:18PM

I started teaching across the hall from Gail when I was just 23. For the next seven years we became close friends, often talking with each other during our breaks or after hours. She taught me so much as a person, a professional, and as a teacher. I am going to miss her adorable laugh, penchant for fine china (found on Ebay), love of dark chocolate, and infinite words of wisdom. She is my forever friend.

Mason Young

July 17, 2015 5:13AM

When I was in 8th grade she caught me cheating on a test. I never cheated on another test in my life. Not even once. Had so many opportunities to do so. Always thought of her. I probably could have gotten into a better college if I did, but she taught me that there were more important things.