On Campus

Mary Gendernalik-CooperMary Gendernalik-Cooper

School of Education Dean Named


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Mary Gendernalik-Cooper has been named to lead Sonoma State University’s School of Education. Her philosophy of education emphasizes collaboration and professional development of teachers.

“Teacher leadership is probably closest to my heart,” she says. “We must do more to ‘professionalize’ teaching. Teachers must assume more leadership positions in schools in order to make better use of their expertise and experience, and further improve the educational process for students.”

Gendernalik-Cooper came to Sonoma State University from Georgia Southwestern State University where she was professor and dean of the School of Education. She brings 30 years of experience to her new post, spanning K-12 and higher education.

“Fostering collaboration among school systems, parents, teachers, the university and the community at large is critical to the field of education and the highest quality preparation of educators,” she says. Previously Gendernalik-Cooper served as professor of educational administration and chair of the Department of Teacher Development at Augusta State University. She also coordinated the Central Savannah River Area P-16 Council and was director of their nationally recognized Professional Development School Network. Earlier in her career, she directed the master of arts in teaching program at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., and was the executive director of teacher education reform projects at San Diego State University.

She is an active researcher supported by numerous grants. Her scholarship has focused on collaborative educator preparation, teacher leadership development, assessment of professional development school effectiveness and assessment of teaching effectiveness. She also has an extensive scholarly record of publication and presentations, and has lead organizations in collaborative endeavors.

Gendernalik-Cooper holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science from James Madison College, Michign State University, and a master of arts in teaching and Ph.D. from Wayne State University.