Jonathan Cooper to be Next Mason City Schools Superintendent

Jonathan Cooper to be Next Mason City Schools Superintendent
Posted on 12/11/2017

Jonathan CooperAfter Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline announced she would retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the Mason City School Board determined it was essential to select a chief executive who could keep the high-performing school district on its course of providing high impact learning, superb staff support, and deep parent and community partnerships.

“We are all proud that Mason is one of the best school districts in the country. To keep us moving forward, we want a values-driven leader who will support our world-class teachers and staff while continuing to cultivate innovation and guide us through a constantly evolving financial and regulatory landscape,” said Matt Steele, School Board President.  “The great news for our students, staff and community is that we already have a visionary, humble, community-oriented leader who has built deep relationships with district partners and business leaders and helped make Mason a leader in innovation and professional development - our current Chief Innovation Officer, Jonathan Cooper - who we are thrilled to appoint as Dr. Kist-Kline’s successor.”

The Mason City Schools Board of Education expects to appoint Cooper as superintendent, effective July 1, 2018, at its regular meeting on December 12 at 6:00pm.

“I am honored that the School Board has entrusted me with this great responsibility. It is such a joy to be able to serve Mason’s students, staff, families and community in an even deeper way. I have been fortunate to work closely with Dr. Kist-Kline and learn from her courageous leadership, and I’m excited to build on the foundation that she and our school board and dedicated staff have firmly established,” said Cooper. “As a second generation educator, learning is my family’s passion and it is our mission as a family to serve our community’s schools.”

The School Board is also naming Cooper as Deputy Superintendent beginning January 1. In that expanded role, he will oversee key personnel and Master Facilities Plan decisions, in addition to his current duties.

“Staff and community members who have worked with Jonathan describe him as authentic, an inspiring unifier, a person who engenders trust and has a heart for others, who builds systems and cohesion, and forms positive, productive relationships,” said Steele. “We are grateful that Mr. Cooper is ready and willing to lead our district, and we appreciate him taking on additional responsibilities during the transition.”

Cooper joined Mason City Schools executive leadership team in 2014. As Mason’s Chief Innovation Officer, he led the development of the Mason Experiential Learning Program allowing hundreds of students to participate in a diverse array of authentic learning experiences throughout the greater Cincinnati region. A partner-oriented leader, Cooper co-created Mason Innovation Week in collaboration with the City of Mason Leadership team and the Chief Operating Officer of Festo USA. In order to make professional development more meaningful for educators, Cooper created the Mason Learning Series which in three years went from 138 teachers attending to over 1000 educators learning together in personalized pathways. Cooper also restructured the district's $2 million technology budget to eliminate excess programs and transitioned it from a traditional technology replacement model to a learner centric technology transformation plan that saved the district over $200,000 annually. A key success was Cooper’s efforts to design and implement a district-wide 1:1 Personal Learning Device Program ensuring that all 10,500 students and teachers had access to a personal learning device within his first three years in Mason. This fall, Cooper was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Education Award and the 2017 Rising Star Award from the Mason Deerfield Chamber of Commerce.

About Jonathan Cooper
In nearly two decades as an educator, Cooper was an award-winning elementary teacher in Centerville City Schools and a successful school principal in Kettering City Schools in addition to his leadership roles in Mason. A Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and former Ohio Teacher of the Year nominee, Cooper was able to successfully merge two diverse elementary school staffs and communities into a strong, thriving and unified Southdale Elementary in 2010.

Cooper earned his Bachelors of Education with a concentration in Science from Ball State University, his Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton, and is currently enrolled in the EdD Program at Miami University.

Jonathan and his wife, Michelle, are parents of Henry, age 12, Wyatt, age 9, Myles, age 7, and Tessa, age 5. The entire Cooper Family are big Comet fans.

“This is a big move for our family because one of our core family values is living an integrated life where we are able to live out our mission by serving our local community and authentically connecting with our neighbors. We look forward to moving to Mason and already have stock in a lot of Mason green,” Cooper shared.

Watch the announcement that was shared with Mason City Schools staff on Monday.

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