The woman who is taking over superintendent duties at Oklahoma City Public Schools is discussing her plans.
Aurora Lora is handling Rob Neu’s duties while he is “out of the office,” according to a district spokesperson. It's unclear how long Lora will be handling superintendent duties, she says she has not been given a timeline.
Lora kicked off a listening tour Tuesday afternoon at Capitol Hill Elementary by taking questions from teachers about what they want and need from the district and what she can do to support them.
“I think rebuilding some relationships is really important right now,” said Lora, who currently still holds the title of associate superintendent.
Teachers at Capitol Hill Elementary school asked Lora about her level of commitment to Oklahoma City and if she were selected as the new superintendent, what kind of impact her leadership would have on certain programs.
Lora assured teachers she would work to keep programs in place that help children. She also told teachers she just put an offer on a house and plans to stay in Oklahoma City for the long run.
Lora is a former teacher and principal. She was a finalist for the superintendent position when Neu was hired two years and was brought in as associate superintendent. Lora held a similar position in the Dallas Independent School District.
Before that, she worked for Seattle Public Schools where she met Neu. Lora was also a middle school principal and a teacher.
She is now heading up the state's largest school district. Temporarily, at least, for now. School board members are being evasive about the future of current superintendent Rob Neu.
“As long as Oklahoma City is interested in having me be their leader I’m excited to be here and I’m ready to step up,” she said
But she would be doing so in tough times. State budget troubles has led to layoffs of teachers and administrative staff.
Lora said though she would continue down the path set out by Neu, including the five-year strategic plan dubbed the Great Commitment.
“We are still committed to working towards those goals, trying to figure out how to during tough budget times still keep the work moving forward, still keep making progress towards those goals,” she said.
But Lora believes that begins here by giving teachers support and long term stability.
“I love Oklahoma, this is a place where I want to be for a long time, I just put an offer on a house, I am committed. I want to be here for the long run,” she said.