At the end of this 2016-2017 school year, TMI says farewell to Dr. John Cooper, Retiring Headmaster of TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas, who will complete his 23rd consecutive year as a school head and join the TMI Class of 2017 in launching into the next stage of life. For the students, they will all be going to college; for Dr. Cooper, it is a much-deserved retirement in Fort Worth with his extended family.
The constant theme of TMI is the call for students and adults alike to become the best “servant leaders” they can possibly be. According to Dr. Cooper, “That is the greatest lesson I have learned from TMI—to set out each day to become a servant leader in every endeavor.”
Service and leadership have been the constant theme of Dr. Cooper’s professional career. He has served as Headmaster of TMI since 2012, while also serving on the Board of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools. Prior to TMI, Dr. Cooper served as Head of School at Elgin Academy in the Chicago suburbs and as Headmaster at Wichita Collegiate School in Kansas. After earning a B.A. and M.A. from Florida State University, he earned his Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Before entering the world of independent schools, he served as research assistant to U.S. Ambassador Michael Novak, he was a professor of philosophy and religion and academic dean of Bridgewater College, in Virginia, and he was president of a public policy think tank, the James Madison Institute, in Florida.
Dr. Cooper’s accomplishments in his twenty-three years as a headmaster include: touching the lives of countless young people, growing enrollment numbers, fund raising, merging two independent schools, expanding educational technology and robotics programs; and designing and building new and renovated facilities, including a LEED Gold Certified classroom and theatre building. “I have so many memories of young people in all three of my schools who showed such promise, who worked so hard, and who had unstoppable personal ambition. I follow many of them today as they graduate from medical schools, practice law, serve in our armed forces, teach, lead businesses, and start families,” says Dr. Cooper.
Dr. Cooper has served on the Boards of both the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. As President of the Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools he helped network approximately 50 schools in the Wisconsin-Illinois- Indiana region surrounding Chicago. As President of the Illinois Coalition of Nonpublic Schools, he represented the interests of more than 1,100 schools and 250,000 students in private, parochial, and home schools in Illinois.
Recently, Dr. Cooper has been working closely with his successor, Father Scott Brown, the incoming Headmaster of TMI. “Scott Brown is an excellent choice to lead TMI to even greater successes in the future.”
This summer, Dr. Cooper will start his new life with his wife, Joan, in Fort Worth, and enjoy camping, biking, playing guitar, and, most of all, playing with his grandchildren. He also plans to work part-time as a consultant to independent schools through affiliations with The Education Group and the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools.