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Promotion puts administrator at top

The Department of Children and Families' operations administrator in District 7 is now heading up District 13.

By ELENA LESLEY
Published August 21, 2006


The Department of Children and Families has already filled its recently vacated top job in District 13.

John Cooper, operations administrator for District 7, will take over for Don Thomas, who recently left his post as administrator for District 13.

"I'm basically the No. 2 guy now" in District 7, said Cooper, who will start his new job Friday. The promotion will expand the scope of his duties, Cooper said.

He is currently responsible for management and operations of all program areas, including family safety, adult services and child care licensing.

Cooper served as a military police officer in the early 1980s and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminology from Florida State University in 1988.

He started out at DCF as a protective investigator in Fort Myers and moved up the ranks to the position of supervisor of protective investigations.

"Being a protective investigator is the most difficult job you could have, and also the most rewarding," he said. "I know firsthand what the front end of the process looks like."

In District 7, Cooper says, he saw a successful transition in Orange and Osceola counties to community-based care agencies taking over case management duties from DCF.

"I want to continue to work with community-based care agencies and build a strong relationship with Kids Central Inc.," he said.

Cooper lives in the Orlando area with his wife, Evelyn, and their three children.

Elena Lesley can be reached at 564-3627 or elesley@sptimes.com.