Board of Directors

Margie Cooper

Margie Cooper, Ph.D., is founding President and Executive Director of Inspired Practices in Early Education, Inc. With more than 30 years in the field of education, Cooper has enjoyed many roles. She began as an elementary school teacher, working in both the Upper Arlington and Lebanon City school districts in Ohio. Following the completion of her first Master’s degree in early childhood education, she became administrator and lead teacher at Wright State University’s early childhood laboratory school, Warner House, where she earned a second Master’s degree in educational administration. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in early childhood education from The Ohio State University in 1994 while teaching undergraduate courses and engaging in academic research. In addition to her current work with Inspired Practices, she is a writer and presenter.

Cooper is active in civic organizations and has served on a number of boards including The Dayton Association for the Education of Young Children, The Georgia Association on Young Children, High Meadows School and Camp, and Roswell Arts Renaissance. She was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to the Georgia Child Care Council and by the Mayor of Roswell to the Roswell Recreation and Parks Commission where she served for 15 years.

Since her first visit to the infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1991, Cooper has returned more than 40 times to continue her research and education, and to support others in their research and education. In 2011, she became a founding board member of the Reggio Children–Loris Malaguzzi Foundation.

Linda Grant

Linda Grant, Ph.D., is an Instructor in the Associates Degree program in Early Childhood Care and Education at DeKalb Technical College. She has been teaching children and adults for 25 years in various capacities including classroom teacher, parent educator, teacher educator, and consultant. She began her career as an early childhood educator teaching preschool children on a college campus and an employer-sponsored child care center, spending seven years sharing the lives of children (infants through age five) and their families. Before moving to Georgia, she worked for a community child care agency directing parent resource and referral services and teacher education.

Grant also worked teaching pediatric medical residents about children’s emergent literacy at Emory University School of Medicine. This was a part of a family literacy research project at Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital. She was also employed at the Head Start Technical Assistance Support Center providing support to those Head Start programs in the Southeast that were non-complaint with program standards. As a consultant for the Georgia School Age Care Association, she designed the School Age and Youth Care Technical Certificate of Credit and helped DeKalb Tech to be the first in Georgia to graduate 13 students with this certificate, which educates caregivers of 6 -12 year old children in after school programs and summer camps. Grant also is a fully certified trainer for the West Ed Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers.

Grant received her Ph.D. in 2009 in early childhood education from the University of Georgia and her Master in family/child development from Montclair State University in New Jersey. She has also participated in two study tours to Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1999 and in 2006. Grant is a founding board member and Secretary of Inspired Practices in Early Education, Inc.

Emily Schmidt

Emily Schmidt’s career in early childhood education has included several roles within the field, including classroom teacher, director of a program, founder of a parent cooperative preschool, and instructor at the university level. Her volunteer work with Inspired Practices has offered the opportunity to travel to Reggio Emilia four times and to support the professional development of teachers in local preschools. Schmidt is a founding board member and serves as Vice President of Inspired Practices in Early Education, Inc.

Now in retirement, she enjoys playing with neighborhood children. She and her husband, Eric, live in Alpharetta. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and one grandchild.

Brian Cooper

Brian Cooper is Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations for Cox Media Group. He joined the Cox organization in 1984 as Assistant Controller of the Dayton Daily News, and in 1987 became Manager of Financial Analysis for Cox Newspapers, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Later, he became Controller and Vice President of Finance. In January 1996, Cooper served as Sr. Vice President of Cox Newspapers, responsible for overseeing Cox’s nine community newspapers, the newspapers’ financial operations, as well as the company’s interest in Cox CustomMedia and PAGAS Mailing Services. In January of 2004, he returned to Cox Ohio Publishing as the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of the Dayton Daily News. In April 2005, Cooper returned to Atlanta as the Executive Vice President of Cox Newspapers. In January 2009, Cooper was named President of Cox North Carolina Publications and Publisher of the Greenville Daily Reflector and in May 2009 became President of Cox Ohio Publishing and Publisher of the Dayton Daily News.  In January 2010, Cooper became Senior Vice President of Operations for Cox Media Group Ohio.

Cooper also served as a representative on the boards of Trader Publishing Company and Agora Holdings, corporate parent of Poland’s largest daily newspaper and SP Newsprint, a newsprint manufacturer with mills located in Georgia and Oregon.

A native of Dayton, Cooper has a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Master of Business Administration in finance from Wright State University.

Active in civic organizations, Cooper has served on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, Center for the Visually Impaired Foundation, the Cox Arboretum Foundation, and the Wright State University Foundation. Presently, he serves as Treasurer for Inspired Practices in Early Education, Inc.

Anne Hassoun

Anne Hassoun is a consultant for small entrepreneurial businesses in Falls Church, Virginia. Prior to this position, Anne spent 30 years as a transportation engineer in Washington, DC and Dayton, Ohio. Her expertise lies in innovative solutions to all aspects of project management. Major projects include the infrastructure redevelopment in DC’s Anacostia Waterfront Area, including the 11th Street Bridge Project. As Transportation Director for the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Anne facilitated the development of the 20 year transportation plan for the Miami Valley Region. She is a skilled leader and manager who is passionate about regional cooperation, with the ability to build consensus and effective relationships throughout the region and with state leaders. Anne has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Dayton.

John Hassoun

John Hassoun is VT Group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President. In this role, John reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for overall VT Group executive management and corporate strategy.

Prior to joining VT Group, John was President and CEO of Vistronix Intelligence and Technology Solutions, where he was responsible for the significant growth of the company in the Intelligence and National Security markets, leading to its acquisition by ASRC Federal in 2016. 

John has more than 30 years’ experience in the government services sector with roles in executive leadership, corporate strategy, business development, business operations, and program management. After a successful career as a program manager for the U.S. Air Force, John served in executive leadership roles at publicly-held General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and Veridian (NYSE: VNX), and served as co-CEO of ATS Corporation (NYSE: ATSC) until its acquisition by SalientCRGT. John’s extensive executive leadership experience also includes chief executive positions that he held internationally with Global Integrated Security and Olive Group North America LLC.

John currently also serves as a board director of GardaWorld Federal Services and GardaWorld Government Services. Both companies are leading providers of worldwide comprehensive security and risk management services.