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Cheyenne Mountain Superintendent Walt Cooper Named 2018 Colorado Superintendent of the Year

Friday, October 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Zach Kinder
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For Immediate Release

October 27, 2017


Melissa Gibson
CASE Director of Membership and Strategic Partners





Dr. Walt Cooper, 2018 Colorado Superintendent of the Year


Cheyenne Mountain School District Superintendent Walt Cooper Named 2018 Colorado Superintendent of the Year


Denver – Dr. Walt Cooper, superintendent of the Cheyenne Mountain School District, has been selected as the Colorado Superintendent of the Year for 2018. The selection was made by a committee of previous award winners and superintendents. Dr. Cooper will represent Colorado in the 2018 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year program, according to the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE).   


“Dr. Cooper is a truly excellent superintendent, and the kind of leader who inspires those around him to continue raising the bar on their own performance," said CASE Executive Director Lisa Escárcega. "His integrity and depth of knowledge and expertise about complex public education issues, particularly related to policy and finance, are unrivaled. CASE is so fortunate to have his involvement in our association."


Dr.Cooper became superintendent of Cheyenne Mountain School District in 2006, after having served as the district's assistant superintendent for business operations. His career in public education began as a high school teacher and coach in Kansas; he moved back to his native Colorado in 1993 and his positions included middle school principal and assistant superintendent in the Weld County School District RE-1. 


Chief among Dr. Cooper's accomplishment is his highly effective leadership in addressing and improving the performance gap between special education students and general population students. Cooper notes that although district-wide, Cheyenne Mountain's student assessment data was outstanding, these performance gaps, and generally lower performance compared to special needs student in other districts, led the district to implement significant new initiatives and practices targeted at improving student performance. 


By thoughtfully investing in comprehensive training for teachers, the district began to see marked gains in student performance by 2012. The following year yielded data that pointed to dramatic improvements in special education student performance across all content areas, and by 2014, the district's special education students had the highest rate of proficiency of any district in the state. More specifically, Cheyenne Mountain special education students demonstrated the highest year-over-year growth in proficiency in reading and ranked among the top three districts in growth in writing and math.



In addition to his strong instructional leadership, Dr. Cooper is held in high regard by his colleagues for his value for relationship-building, collaboration and inclusivity. He is credited with spearheading the healing and rebuilding of trust in the community after the difficult decision in 2008 to close a local district elementary school, and he strategically sought to engage families, businesses, district staff and other stakeholders in conversations about the priorities and work of the district. This work led to the development of not only the district's most comprehensive long-range plan, but also in the passage of a subsequent mill levy override and $45 million bond issue, which were overwhelmingly supported by local voters. Cheyenne Mountain Board of Education Steven K. Parker references both of these as "further testimony to the high level of confidence and trust our community and stakeholders have in Dr. Cooper."



"It's such an honor and very humbling to have both been nominated and selected by my peers to receive this award," said Dr. Cooper. "I'm fortunate to work with such an outstanding team of educators and colleagues in a tremendously supportive community. Being named the 2018 honoree really validates the efforts of everyone in the Cheyenne Mountain School District who is responsible for contributing to our sustained success."



The 2018 AASA National Superintendent of the Year will be announced at the 2018 AASA National Conference on Education next spring. Candidates are evaluated on leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. 



The Colorado Association of School Executives (www.co-case.org) is the preeminent professional association for public school administrators in Colorado. The organization’s mission is to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.




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