New Mason superintendent will be familiar to students, staff

Mason Schools’ new leader is not a new face.

At a time when many area school systems go outside their district boundaries to pick a new superintendent – Lakota, Middletown, Ross schools in Butler County and Lebanon Schools in Warren County – Mason stuck with a known insider from its leadership ranks: Jonathan Cooper.

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That familiarity factor played a big role, said district officials, in selecting Cooper, who has worked as the district’s Chief Innovation Officer since 2014, to replace Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline, who will retire at the end of this school year.

“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,” said Mason Board of Education President Matt Steele of Cooper.

“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.”

The school board also named Cooper as deputy superintendent beginning Jan. 1. In that expanded role, he will oversee key personnel and Master Facilities Plan decisions, in addition to his current duties until taking over as superintendent during summer 2018 for the 10,500-student district.

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The Springboro resident is looking forward to moving to Mason Schools’ community in southern Warren County, he said.

“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,” Cooper said.

A former Ohio Teacher of the Year nominee, acclaimed teacher in Centerville Schools and school principal in the Kettering Schools district, the superintendent’s position will be the first for Cooper.

Among other accomplishments since joining Mason Schools’ leadership team, Cooper has 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, said district officials.

“I have been fortunate to work closely with Superintendent 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, who along with his wife Michelle are parents to four young children.

“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,” said Cooper.

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