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Former OKCPS Interim Superintendent On Job Challenges

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Because there have been more than a dozen superintendents in the last three decades at Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS), News 9 reached out to those who previously held the position to learn more about the challenges that come along with the job.

Back when Dave Lopez was Oklahoma's Secretary of Commerce, he said employers asked him often about the local school system.

“How’s your school system? How can we count on having a continued workforce and a quality workforce is we come to your state?”

So, when there was a need at OKCPS in 2013, he wanted to do his part. He served as interim superintendent for one year, while the district conducted its search.

1/30/18 Related Story: OKCPS Board Accepts Superintendent Lora's Resignation

“What is it like to be superintendent?” News 9’s Christy Lewis asked.

“The superintendent is both challenging and rewarding,” he replied.

After his time as interim, Lopez became Oklahoma's Secretary of State. The school district's next two new hires resigned and the top leader turnover at OKCPS continued.

“On one hand you have to be such a prime educator and know how to create that environment so that learning can occur,” Secretary Lopez told News 9. “That’s very different from the other part of the job, which is running a large organization. And to think about logistics and nutrition and transportation and finance, those are hardly ever found in a single person.”

“If those duties can be divided efficiently and effectively,” Secretary Lopez added, "maybe that’s something to examine going forward. Because we know what hasn’t worked, and so perhaps it’s time to think of new ideas and that’s just one.”

As OKCPS works to transform, Secretary Lopez said now is the time to embrace the thousands of students in the district who depend on it.

“When we come to a crisis,” Secretary Lopez said, "and perhaps this is a crisis, is when we seem to respond best. And so this is a moment when I think we need to lean in and not step back and point fingers.”

District Chief of Staff Rebecca Kaye is now acting superintendent.

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