Governor Polis Announces Early Childhood Transition Director

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Polis administration will kick off search for Executive Director in 2022

DENVER - Today, Governor Jared Polis announced the appointment of the Governor’s Early Childhood Transition Director, M. Michael Cooke, who will be leading the transition to the new Department of Early Childhood and will focus exclusively on the transition and change management associated with the establishment of the new agency. 

“We’re excited that the new state early childhood department plans will make Colorado more affordable, save families money, and expand access to quality early childhood services for Colorado kids,” said Governor Polis.

M. Michael Cooke will serve as the Transition Director for approximately two years. The administration will soon begin the search for an Executive Director for the new agency, to be hired in the Spring.

M. Michael Cooke has served with Council for a Strong America (CSA) since 2017 bringing more than 25 years of public sector and non-profit experience to the position. In her role as State Director with CSA, Michael opened the Colorado office which has been an advocacy voice for children and families since that time.

Prior to becoming the CSA State Director for Colorado, Michael was elected to two terms on the Board of County Commissioners in Douglas County followed by an appointment by former Governor Bill Owens to his Cabinet. In that role, she served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, and later as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. 

Michael then joined a public charter school serving at-risk K-12 students throughout Colorado.  An advocate for advancing education opportunities for all PK-12 students in Colorado, Michael served as Executive Vice President.

Michael earned a Bachelor's in Communication from the University of Denver. She is a fourth-generation Colorado native and resides with her husband, Dennis, in Englewood.