Office of the Governor of Alabama

Department of Early Childhood Education

Dr. Barbara Cooper

Secretary of Early Childhood Education

Dr. Barbara Cooper was appointed as secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education by Governor Kay Ivey on July 1, 2020.

Cooper has over 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 and Curriculum Development from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Illinois University.

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.