TCDS Legacy

Mr. Richard Cooper

Founder Emeritus

Mr. Richard Cooper is the Founder of Tucson Country Day School.  He has a Bachelors Degree in K-12 Education and a Masters Degree in Education Administration. He is a former teacher and has more than 59 years of educational experience. For 10 years, he worked under Dr. Charles Grubbs, the Assistant Superintendent of public instruction for district number one where he helped to develop the Pima County Career Guidance Program.

In 2009, Richard was awarded the “Arizona Entrepreneur of the Year Award,” representing the state of Arizona as an outstanding business leader by Newt Gingrich, of American Solutions. Newt visited TCDS and remarked that this type of program is the way education should be going in our country.

In 2011 , Richard was awarded the Arizona Charter Association’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Education, which is given to honor a person who has dedicated their life and passion to the advancement of education. Mr. Cooper is only the second person to receive the award since the charter school movement started in Arizona in 1996. His educational career has been guided by a quote from Horace Mann, the Father of the American public education system: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” He has high expectations for both academic and social excellence, and believes every child should work to reach their highest potential. Students are expected to show a high level of manners, respect, etiquette, and responsibility. 

In 2012, Richard was awarded the Sahuaro High School Cougar Foundation Hall of Fame Award. This award was given for the many additional educational programs  that he started for the district. Some of the programs include the Selective Enrichment program as well as a very popular Senior Electives class.  

Some of the community organizations that Richard has been involved with are: Tucson Chamber of Commerce, VIP Breakfast Club, Sunrise Chapel Church board, as well as the Kiwanis, Moose, and Elks clubs.  Richard is a sailing enthusiast. For many years, he served as the Commodore of the Tucson Sailing Club.   

Mr. Cooper has two children- Nadine and Chris Cooper. They both live in the Phoenix area. He is married to Susan Scott-Cooper, a retired elementary school teacher and guidance counselor. She is a native of Louisiana. Susan is very involved with the homeless population in Tucson. 

Tucson Country Day School when it was a deer ranch

In October 1968, our founder, Mr. Richard Cooper purchased a 22-acre Deer Ranch Park with plans to build a summer camp and school.

Tucson Country Day School campus

Shortly after, Tucson Country Day School opened as a private Pre-K and Kindergarten program. There were 30 students, five staff members, and five classrooms.

The following summer, Tucson Country Day School started operating as Camp Adventure, drawing children from the entire Tucson area during the summer months. Children participated in archery, athletics, practiced cattle roping, and a variety of other outdoor activities.

Where it all started!

After three decades of operating as a private school, Mr. Cooper decided it was time to change course. He pursued his vision to provide everybody in the Tucson area the opportunity to obtain a quality education without the expense of a private school. Mr. Cooper established a Charter with the state of Arizona, which operates as Tucson Country Day School to this day.

TCDS is proud to have reached its 50th year in operation and looks forward to continue growing with the Tucson community.