MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has chosen a new leader for the state’s Department of Early Childhood Education. Dr. Barbara Cooper will become the DECE’s new secretary, effective immediately.
Cooper, who has more than 30 years of experience, has been with the department since 2018. She was previously DECE’s Director of the Office of School Readiness and the Birth to Grade 12 Advisor for the Alabama Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.
She was also appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer during the state’s intervention of the Montgomery Public Schools system. In that role, she worked to improve leadership and governance at MPS.
“Dr. Barbara Cooper has spent her professional career dedicated to helping students achieve their greatest potential. She and I share the same goal, and that is to make Alabama a better place, which begins with our youngest citizens,” Gov. Ivey said.
The new secretary’s administrative experience is also extensive. She’s served as Deputy State Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer of the ALSDE, Deputy Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, Chief Equity and Engagement Officer of Aurora Public Schools (Colorado) and a Principal with Denver Public Schools, and has teaching experience ranging from elementary to teacher instruction.
“With her vast experience in various administrative positions, Dr. Cooper is more than qualified, and I have no doubt that she will continue the impressive work of the Department of Early Childhood Education. I am confident that Alabama will continue leading the nation with the best early childhood education system,” the governor added.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running,” Cooper said, and “to serving Alabama’s children and families for many years to come.”
Cooper is currently in the process of earning a Certificate in Early Education Leadership from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She also has a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Innovation and a Master of Science in Administration, Supervision & Curriculum Development from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Illinois University.