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News Release
District 12 Chief Named 2018 Colorado Superintendent of the Year (Photo) - 10/25/17

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 current 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 for four years. His 33-year career in public education began as a high school teacher and coach in Kansas; he moved back to his native Colorado in 1993, and served as middle school principal and assistant superintendent in the Weld County RE-1 School District and superintendent of the Ellicott School District in El Paso County.

Noted among Dr. Cooper's leadership accomplishments was a commitment to early childhood programming and to 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 students in other districts, led the district to implement initiatives and practices targeted at improving student performance.

In addition to his strong instructional leadership, Dr. Cooper is held in high regard for his relationship building, collaboration, and inclusivity. He is credited with building community-wide trust and spearheading a new direction for the Cheyenne Mountain community after a 2008 decision to close a local district elementary school, as he strategically sought to engage families, district staff, and other stakeholders in conversations about the priorities and work of the district. This work led to the repurposing of the former elementary school as a preschool campus, the district's most comprehensive long-range plan, and the passage of a subsequent mill levy override and bond issue, which were overwhelmingly supported by local voters. Cheyenne Mountain Board of Education Steve 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 across the state to receive this award," said Dr. Walt Cooper. "I'm fortunate to work with 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.

Attached Media Files: Cooper_Photo.jpg