Assistant Vice President for Charter Schools at Grand Valley State University
Don Cooper is the Assistant Vice President for Charter Schools at Grand Valley State University. In that capacity he oversees one of the nation’s largest portfolios of charter public schools.
He brings 20 years’ experience in education policy and charter schools to that position with diverse experience, ranging from serving as staff in the Michigan House of Representatives, to senior-level public and government affairs positions for a leading authorizer, management organization, and one of the nation’s most long standing charter support organization.
Don’s work has primarily focused on system-level change that empowers parents with more and better choices through innovations in public policy and more effective approaches to governance. His legislative experience includes the elimination of charter caps in multiple states, the creation of new entities to authorize public charter schools, and creating a more permeable membrane between K-12 and postsecondary systems. He has also been involved in the launch of more than a dozen schools, both while in school management and as an authorizer, and turnaround efforts at several others.
Don currently serves on the board of directors of the Michigan History Foundation (2015-Present), and the Greater Lansing Sports Fund (Co-Founder, 2019-Present). He has served on the boards of Jackson Preparatory and Early College, Michigan Political History Society, Michigan Association of Public School Academies, and the Kiwanis Club of Pleasant Valley, NY.
Don earned a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hillsdale College. He is currently studying for a Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University.