Ivey appoints Dr. Barbara Cooper secretary of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

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Dr. Barbara Cooper (Office of Gov. Kay Ivey)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey this week announced the appointment of Dr. Barbara Cooper as secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE).

“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,” Ivey said. “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.”

Cooper has more than 30 years of education experience and most recently served in DECE since 2018. She previously served as the department’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 appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer during the Montgomery Public Schools Intervention where she worked to improve leadership and governance.

Cooper is currently in the process of earning a Certificate in Early Education Leadership from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She also received 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.

“Education is the greatest profession and the work we do in our calling as educators will last beyond our lifetime,” Cooper said. “I look forward to serving Alabama’s children and families for many years to come. I appreciate Governor Ivey’s confidence in selecting me to serve in this new capacity and I look forward to hitting the ground running.”

Cooper’s administrative experience is vast as she has served as Deputy State Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer of the Alabama State Department of Education, Deputy Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, Chief Equity and Engagement Officer of Aurora Public Schools (Colorado) and a Principal with Denver Public Schools. She has teaching experience ranging from elementary to teacher instruction.

The governor’s appointment is effective immediately.