Head of School Elect

Stephen Popp appointed next Head of School
Dear Cooper Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, we are proud to announce the appointment of Stephen Popp as the next Head of School of The John Cooper School, effective July 1, 2022.
Recognized broadly at Cooper as a leader of the highest integrity, Mr. Popp has a tremendous commitment to the school’s mission and a deep appreciation for the importance of balancing tradition and innovation. With over two decades of experience as a teacher, dean of students, division head, and assistant head of school, Mr. Popp has accrued a wealth of pedagogical expertise. His professional journey began at Plano Senior High School where he was an Advanced Placement U.S. History, Government, Comparative Government, and World Geography teacher. In 2005, he moved to Houston where he served as an Upper School Faculty member and Dean of Students at St. John’s School for ten years until 2015. And as we all know, Mr. Popp has most recently served Cooper admirably as Assistant Head of School from 2019 and as Head of Upper School since 2015.
Mr. Popp holds a B.A. in History from Baylor University and an M.A. in History from the University of Houston as a James Madison Fellow. He earned his M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership at Teachers College at Columbia University in 2015. Over the years, he has participated in numerous professional development workshops and ISAS accreditation visits. Just like the students and faculty he oversees, he continues to grow, evolve, and learn, believing strongly in a collaborative growth mindset. Mr. Popp will soon complete a Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning and Organizations at the esteemed Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.
During this exciting time in our school’s history, and given Mr. Popp’s accomplishments and the outstanding recommendations he has earned, the Board of Trustees’ decision to appoint him was unanimous and followed an enthusiastic recommendation by the Search Committee. We are confident that his collaborative spirit, character, and vision will help position Cooper for continued excellence in the coming years and will serve to build upon Mike Maher’s inspiring legacy.
We are grateful to the many parents, faculty, students, and alumni who contributed their perspectives throughout this process. We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to Search Committee members Lindsey Cooksen, Beth Griffith, Cole Pate, Brian Petrauskas, Doug Rock, and Pat Shea whose thoughtful reflection and efforts were paramount. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Cooper community, we thank them for their service.
While the School will be well served by Mike Maher’s continuing leadership over the year ahead, we will look for opportunities to assist Steve, his wife, Amy, and their children as Steve transitions into his new role. Please join us in congratulating Stephen Popp on his appointment and wholeheartedly embracing him as The John Cooper School’s Head of School Elect.

Gerald Glenn - Chair, Board of Trustees
Yvette Aquino - Chair, Head of School Search Committee

A Message From The Head of School Elect

Dear Cooper Community,
I am deeply honored to be appointed as the next Head of School of The John Cooper School. Since its founding in 1988, Cooper has been an educational exemplar in The Woodlands and throughout the greater Houston area, and I want to thank the Board of Trustees for entrusting me with this high privilege and responsibility. I am grateful to continue to serve this special school community as we together build upon the school’s tremendous successes.
During my time at Cooper, I have been inspired by our bright students and our accomplished alumni. I am profoundly committed to upholding the Cooper values of academic challenge, intellectual inquiry, and service to others, and continuing to develop responsible leaders and lifelong learners. The dedicated and innovative faculty, staff, and administrative teams, and our generous and supportive families, have fostered a vibrant and caring school environment. I am eager and ready to join with our teachers, staff, and administrators as we lead each of our students in their journey from curiosity to wisdom in furtherance of The John Cooper School’s compelling mission.


Stephen Popp
Head of Upper School
From Curiosity to Wisdom
The John Cooper School is an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory day school. Our mission is to provide a challenging education in a caring environment to a diverse group of select students, enabling them to become critical and creative thinkers, effective communicators, responsible citizens and leaders, and lifetime learners.

The John Cooper School seeks to attract qualified individuals of diverse backgrounds to its faculty, staff, and student body. The School does not discriminate against any individual in admissions, educational programs, personnel policies, general practices, or employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, physical disability, or age.