Dr Cook has family connections with Asia that stretch back over five generations. His great grandmother was involved with the famous Chefoo School in northern China.
He earned his B.A. in Intercultural Studies at Biola University, California in 1984. He completed his M.Div. in Theology from the same university in 1986. Dr Cook has a PhD in Sociology from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. His doctoral dissertation focused on the introduction of women’s basketball to the Philippines by American educators, entitled The Social Construction of Bodies through Basketball during the American Occupation: 1906-1922, and was awarded the John F. Doherty, S.J. Award for Social Justice. Dr Cook’s research interests lie at the intersection of sociology of the body, gender, and sport. He currently serves as President of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Sociology of the Body.
Dr Cook started his teaching career as a High School Teacher in La Habra, California. From 1988-1992 he worked in community development in a Muslim majority area of the southern Philippines, where he learned both Tagalog and the local language, Maguindanao. From 1992 until 2004 he worked at Faith Academy, Manila, Philippines, first as a Humanities teacher in the high school, next as High School Principal, and then for five years as school Superintendent, guiding a team of 130 faculty/staff and 700 students in K-12, one-third of whom were boarding students.
From 2004 until 2012 Dr Cook was Chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Departments at Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. He then returned to Asia from 2012 to 2016 as Deputy Dean and High School Principal at UPH University and High School, a flagship Christian institution in Jakarta, Indonesia, with approximately 15,000 students at High School and University. From 2016 to June 2019 he served as Dean of the School of Education at Simpson University, Redding, California, where he successfully led the school through complex accreditation procedures.
Dr Cook is married to Jamie Williams, J.D. They met in Indonesia where Jamie was teaching International Law in the Faculty of Law at Universitas Pelita Harapan. She earned her B.A. in Literature and Letters from the University of Oklahoma and her Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School. A licensed attorney in the states of New York and Texas, Jamie practiced civil and criminal law before moving into education. Prior to joining Woodstock, she was a professor in the History and Political Science Department at Simpson University in Redding, California, where she taught Political Science and Criminology. She was also an adjunct professor teaching Restorative Justice and International Law at Le Tourneau University in Longview, Texas. In addition, she served as Program Coordinator for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a nonprofit organisation that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the foster care system.
In Dr Cook’s own words, “I have been an athlete and participant in vigorous physical exercise for the whole of my adult life, being a regular basketball and tennis player and a tennis coach for many years. We formerly lived in a mountainous area of Northern California where we enjoyed hiking on the many beautiful trails. We now thoroughly enjoy these Himalayas with the same passion. The heart of Christian leadership is being a servant to others, as evidenced by Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet and commanding us to do the same.”