Allentown School Board Announces Dr. Gary Cooper as Interim Superintendent


Allentown, PA (July 28, 2016):  At the July 28 Allentown School District School Board of Directors Meeting, the Board of Directors announced and voted Dr. Gary R. Cooper as the District’s Interim Superintendent. Dr. Cooper will fill the role left vacant by the sabbatical approval of Dr. C. Russell Mayo until a permanent Superintendent is named and takes over the helm of the area’s largest urban school district. Dr. Cooper, who worked as an Executive Coach for several Allentown School District administrators over the past three years, will take over guiding the District on August 1, 2016.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the students and families of the City of Allentown and look forward to meeting the parents, guardians and community members in the District,” states Dr. Cooper. “For the past several years I have worked as Executive Director for 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education on developing successful and impactful educational programs in urban school districts. I am committed to guiding the Allentown School District in their efforts to focus on maintaining an impactful academic path that provides equity to all students.”

Dr. Cooper, who has 19 years of central office experience, has served in public education for 35 years in all facets of the educational system – a teacher, building principal and superintendent of schools. During this time, he prioritized curriculum and instruction as the primary tools of school improvement. He has further spent several years mentoring new and pre-service principals through employment in preparatory programs at the University of Buffalo and Cabrini College. He has a keen interest in leadership and has taught managers from all employment sectors over a four-year period in the Masters of Public Administration program at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. For the past three summers, Dr. Cooper has worked with urban leaders from throughout the United States in the Urban Principals Academy at Lehigh (UPAL).

“The School Board is pleased to have found a talented and dedicated urban educator in Dr. Cooper,” states David F. Zimmerman, President of the School Board of Directors. “The fact that he has been working with some of our administrators and is already familiar with our District’s mission will allow him to quickly take the lead as we prepare for the new school year. We’re excited for him to start and to maintain our focus on building equity throughout academic programs for all of our students.”

Dr. Cooper currently serves as the Executive Director of the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education in Conshohocken, PA. In this capacity, he works as a leadership consultant for STEM schools in Cairo, Egypt. He recently completed a two-year contract with the Memphis City Schools as an External Mentor for new principals. For the past several months, he has assisted Lehigh University as an Executive Coach in the Allentown Schools.  Dr. Cooper has consulted with a number of schools districts in the Delaware Valley on management and STEM related issues.

Previously, Dr. Cooper was Superintendent of Radnor Township School District, Radnor, PA; Frontier Central School District, Hamburg, NY; and Sweet Home Central School District, Amherst, NY. He is a former Principal for Souderton High School, Souderton, PA, and Octorara Area High School, Atglen, PA; and a Vice Principal at Kennett High School, Kennett Square, PA. He taught at Holy Cross High School, Dover, DE, and Caesar Rodney High School in Wyoming, DE.

Dr. Cooper received his Ed.D., Educational Leadership, from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a M.Ed., Educational Leadership, and a M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, from the University of Delaware. He completed his B.S. in Social Studies Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo where he graduated Cum Laude.

He is on the Board of Directors for 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education and the Math/Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia. Dr. Cooper is a member of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, and Worlds Futures Society.

About Allentown School District

ASD serves more than 16,250 students in a network of 22 early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools located throughout the City of Allentown, PA. The Allentown School District is the third largest urban school district in the Commonwealth’s 500 school districts. A shared vision of the community, parents, guardians, staff and faculty focuses on “Empowering Students for Life,” providing ASD students with the skills and academics they need to realize their aspirations whether they be college, career or technical focus. ASD goals are aligned and compatible with the Pathways to Success Framework while providing a balanced education to all students. Allentown School District employs more than 2,250 teachers, staff and administrators. The District, founded in 1866, serves students from 51 countries speaking 26 languages with more than 89%  of ASD households qualifying as low income. The Allentown School District is committed to providing safe learning environments in which all students have equal access to education programs and resources.

Information provided by:
Kimberly Golden Benner
Director of Communications
Allentown School District