Dr. Barbara J. Cooper was appointed as the Secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) by Governor Kay Ivey on July 1, 2020. She has served the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education since 2018, helping to administer the nationally recognized, high quality, First Class Pre-K program and other birth to age 8 programs including the First Teacher Home Visiting program. Dr. Cooper previously served as the department’s Office of School Readiness Director. She has also served as the Birth to Grade 12 Advisor for the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation since 2017.
Dr. Cooper’s administrative career is extensive as she previously served as Deputy State Superintendent and 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. Her classroom teaching experiences range from elementary schools to universities.
Dr. Cooper is currently earning a Certificate in Early Education Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She received a doctorate 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. She and her husband Walter reside in Montgomery, Alabama.