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Three Minutes with Michael Cooler

Alt Ed Classroom Instructor for Building Healthy Families

Published on December 27, 2017 9:27AM

Michael Cooler

Michael Cooler

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Michael C. Cooler

Alt Ed Classroom Instructor

Michael Cooler and his wife, Sara, moved to Wallow County four years ago and bought a house in Enterprise last summer.

He was born in Bend and grew up in Lakeview. He studied Computer Information Systems at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif.

“Throughout our 20s, my wife and I were able to work remotely for a small tech company based in Taos, N. M.,” said Coller, 34. “We could live and work anywhere as long as we had Internet access. We spent five years in the Eugene area before moving to Yachats and then Tidewater on the Oregon Coast. The Internet work was slowing down, so we decided to move to the ‘big city’ of Enterprise to change things up.”

Cooler has worked at Building Healthy Families for four years but says he’s never quite figured out an appropriate job title.

“I spend my mornings in the Alt Ed high school classroom where I teach Spanish and computer apps,” he said. “I help people with computer issues, manage our Facebook page and do odd jobs like dishes. The BHF leadership and my coworkers are uniformly awesome. The students are (99.9 percent of the time) really wonderful, and are kind enough to laugh at my lousy jokes.”

Q. How did you “discover” Wallowa County and what brought you here?

A. My wife and I are native Oregonians and we’d never heard of Wallowa County until six or seven years ago. We were watching PBS and a program came on which featured the Wallowa Lake Lodge, the tram, and the hiking to be found in the Wallowa Mountains. I think the words “Little Switzerland” were mentioned. Sara and I are avid hikers and backpackers. Since coming here, I have been absolutely blown away by the rugged beauty and relative solitude of the Eagle Cap Wilderness and Hells Canyon. I’m excited to spend many more years exploring and experiencing this unique place.

Q. What is your impression of the county and its people?

A. Wallowa County is one of the best places I’ve ever been. I feel very comfortable here. It’s so off the beaten path, and some of the nicest and most interesting people live here. For such a small area there is a good mix of all types –– people who know how to get along and get things done.

Q. You and your wife are cat people?

A. We have two older cats, Sal and Penny. Sal never stops meowing, and Penny is scared of her own shadow. At some point I started pretending to be cat-obsessed with the students at school, and then at some later point, I couldn’t remember if I was still pretending. Now I am known as the cat guy, and students bring me cat figurines and t-shirts. I own more than one ugly cat sweater. The thing I like about cats is that they know how to relax and take it easy.

Q. What is the first book you remember checking out at the library?

A. I can’t say for sure. One I remember reading early on was “Devil on My Back” by Monica Hughes, which was kind of eye-opening and disturbing if I recall it correctly. Growing up I spent a lot of time in the library with my mom because she was the librarian at the grade school. I had

Type to enter text access to all the books I wanted to read and a computer to play Oregon Trail on. Libraries are awesome.

Q. What book are you reading today that you would recommend to others?

A. I’m reading a book by Matthew Walker called “Why We Sleep,” which discusses the numerous benefits that getting sufficient sleep can offer a person. One of my favorite daily activities is a midafternoon nap. I’d probably get along fine in Spain the way they take the afternoons off for a siesta, and luckily BHF lets me get away with it. I’m a little obsessed with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. I’m also a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt and Oregon author Willie Vlautin. His book “Lean on Pete,” about a homeless kid who befriends a racehorse at Portland Meadows, is one of my favorites.


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