Dana Cooper

Dean of Elementary

Dana joined Westside Atlanta Charter School in 2017 after 22 years in education. Her career began at Brooks Elementary in Raleigh, North Carolina as a Special Education Teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. She spent 17 years in the classroom, 11 of which were as a special educator. Dana also taught six years in the general education classroom teaching both Kindergarten and 1st grade. Her teaching career has spanned over several states including North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Georgia. In 2012, she stepped out of the classroom as an instructional coach in Atlanta Public Schools focusing on K-2 instruction. From the instructional coaching position, Dana moved to the role of Dean of Lower Elementary at Atlanta Heights Charter School. Looking to expand her leadership experience, she then became a School Improvement Specialist in Marietta City Schools.

Dana is from a small, rural community in upstate New York. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Special Education from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York. She earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Special Education from Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas in 2001. As a classroom teacher, Dana achieved National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in mild to moderate disabilities, ages early childhood through young adulthood. In 2017, she earned her specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University.

The wide range of experiences in education has helped shape Dana as a leader and her philosophy of education. She believes a successful school environment depends strongly on positive relationships- between colleagues and staff members, teachers and their students, and teachers and parents. Success is achieved when everyone (school personnel, families and community partners) is involved in shaping both the social-emotional well-being and academic achievement of students.

During her free time, Dana enjoys traveling, gardening and spending time with family and friends.