Jerry Cooper joins the SPI Team bringing three decades of local government experience. Most recently, he served 20 years as county manager for Cherokee County.
Jerry’s public service began in 1988 with the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Less than two years after joining the city, he was promoted to the role of staff administrator. Jerry went on to spend a total of five years working for the city and then assumed the role of assistant city manager in Newnan, Georgia. Two years later he became the city manager of Woodstock, Georgia, and served in that capacity for six years. Jerry then decided to pursue new challenges and broaden the scope of his public service. He accepted the position of county manager of Cherokee County — a position he held for the next two decades.
During his tenure with Cherokee County, Jerry was successful in maintaining low debt and tax burden and he expanded community development. His responsibilities included leading and managing an organization with more than 1,500 employees and overseeing an annual budget that exceeded $300 million.
Jerry’s leadership resulted in local, statewide, and national recognition. He was a recipient of the Financial Management and Government Efficiency Award presented by Georgia Trend Magazine and Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). He also received the 2020 Achievement Award from National Association of Counties (NACo).
However, Jerry’s contributions to the community went beyond his career in public service and more recognition followed him there. He was named Man of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and received a Presidential Citation from Rotary International. He was presented the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Award from Allen Temple AME Church and the Malon D. Mimms Legacy Leadership Award from the Cherokee Boys & Girls Club. Finally, he accepted the Bob Robinson Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) Leadership Award from the Rotary Club of Canton, the Jerry R. Griffin Excellence in Public Service Award from ACCG, and the Diamond Award for Excellence in Leadership and Community Engagement from The Not Alone Foundation.
Jerry received his undergraduate degree in public administration and Master of Public Administration from the University of Arkansas. He earned a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University.