Betty Cooke, Ph.D.

Betty Cooke Biography

Betty Cooke has nearly 50 years of professional experience working with and for young children and their families. She has been an early childhood educator, parent educator, and administrator of programs for children and families. She has been a teacher educator of early childhood educators and parent educators at the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota. While she was at the University of Minnesota from 1980-1990 she directed several research and evaluation projects and developed and taught courses at the graduate level in parent education and program evaluation. In 1988 Betty completed a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis on parent and family education at the University.

Betty has been involved with Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), the Minnesota public school parent education program for all families with children 0-4 since 1977. She was a parent educator for two of the early pilot programs.

From 1990 – 2005, Betty was an Early Childhood and Family Education Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). She was responsible for providing leadership for ECFE programs in all Minnesota school districts and the four tribal schools. She also worked with Minnesota’s school district School Readiness programs for 3 ½ and 4-year-old children. She coordinated Minnesota’s school readiness studies, development of Minnesota’s early learning standards, and alignment of the early learning standards with Minnesota’s K-12 Kindergarten Academic Standards.

Betty returned to the Family Education faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2005 until her retirement in 2010. While there she taught graduate parent education teacher licensure courses and advised Master of Education parent education students. She coordinated the development of all parent education licensure courses for online delivery and led the development of the Certificate in Parent Education program at the University of Minnesota, which is available entirely online to students across the country and internationally.

Betty was President of the Minnesota Council on Family Relations (mncfr) in 1991 and again in 2008. Through mncfr she led efforts in developing Ethical Thinking and Practice for Parent and Family Life Educators which provides ethical guidelines for practice in the field. Betty has been involved with the National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) since its inception, serving on the Guidance Council, several NPEN Committees, and as Chair from 2010-2012. She currently serves on the NPEN Advisory Panel.