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Back to School

A Conversation with Dave Lopez



Photo by Carli Wentworth

At the time of our interview, business leader and former Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Dave Lopez is just a few weeks into his role as interim superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools. He equates the monumental challenge of charting a new course for more than 45,000 schoolchildren with being “back in school.”

We sat down with Lopez and learned a lot about the former telecommunication executive’s unbridled enthusiasm and optimism for getting the job done, which made us wish he’d consider dropping the “Interim” half of his job title.


What is your hometown? Las Cruces, New Mexico. I’ve lived in Oklahoma for about 14 years.

What is your wife’s name? Lana.

How is the new gig going? It’s been fun, energizing and challenging. In a very real sense, I’ve gone back to school! There’s so much to learn, not just about the structure and how things work, but also about what the community thinks about Oklahoma City Public Schools. The opportunities in this job are greater than I would have imagined.

As interim superintendent, you’ll only serve in this role a short time. What is the one thing you hope to accomplish in the limited time you have? I hope to demonstrate to the incoming superintendent that this is a community that cares. I’m encouraged by the many people who have come forward in support by asking, “How can we help?” Fortunately, apathy is not something we have to fight.

Did you spend any school years in the hall? Oh, yes. I can still remember calling my fourth grade teacher a “party pooper” when she wouldn’t let our class go to recess after an assembly one day.

Did you have a favorite teacher? My first grade teacher, Sister Herman Joseph.

What’s a risk worth taking? Love.

Do you have any guilty pleasure? Popcorn. It evokes so many memories of spending Friday nights around the TV with my brothers – I’m the youngest of five boys. We loved watching Friday night prize fights.

How much worthless trivia do you retain? Tons, especially about sports. In college, I was a stringer and I became interested in statistics, which was something of a currency of choice for conversations.

What kind of unsung skills do you have? I like to think I’m a good writer. The unpublished great American novel will have to wait, however.

What has been your greatest achievement? Hopefully, that is yet to come, but marrying Lana would be at the top of that list.

What do you value most in your friends? Humor.

What do you think your friends value in you? Loyalty.

What should everyone experience at least once in this lifetime? Giving to someone who can never repay you.

What’s not as important as it used to be and what’s more important than it used to be? What’s not as important is getting it perfect. I think it was General Patton who said that a good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. What’s more important is focusing on these young students and understanding the opportunities and obligations there.

What do you wish you’d never thrown out, lost or given away? My eighth grade yearbook. That year, there was a predictions section about ‘Where will they be?’ and someone wrote that I would be head of a telephone company! How prophetic!

What were your teachers and parents wrong about? Not all mischief is bad. Said the fifth of five boys …

What do you now bring to a crowded room? A smile.

What’s the best decision you ever made? To give up the dream of being an athlete. I played basketball and one day, the coach put some tape on the wall and said, ‘If you can walk under the tape, keep walking.’ That’s terrible! No, it turned out fine. I had a geometry teacher who pointed me in the right direction.

What’s still on your bucket list? More time for reflection and time to treasure the relationships that matter most.

What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall in OKC? In OKC, it’s Classen Grill. In Oklahoma, it’s Eischen’s in Okarche.

What’s the last book you read? “Boundaries for Leaders” by Dr. Henry Cloud.

What’s the best advice you ever got? It came from my dad, who was a great example of this (and in fact, my dad got much smarter as I got older): Work hard and be proud of what you do.

What other examples did your parents model? My mom was generous to a fault. There were no strangers and no one ever left our house unfed. We were poor, but we didn’t know it.

What is the one thing you’re determined to accomplish by the end of the year? Demonstrating positive outcomes for the school district.

What is your most treasured possession? My faith. It’s hard to think of anything having meaning beyond that.

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Calendar

November 2019

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

OIS is hosting a Trivia Night on Sunday, November 17, 2019.  This will be held at the Will Rogers Theatre located at 4322 N. Western Avenue in Oklahoma City.  Tickets are $75/person and...

Cost: $75.00

Where:
Will Rogers Theatre
4322 N. Western Ave.
OKC, OK  73118
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Interviewing Services
Telephone: 405-615-6357
Contact Name: Jennifer Rodgers
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

“My Love Affair with the Brain” is a documentary that covers the brain, the passion of scientific discovery, the creation of modern neuroscience, Albert Einstein, women in science, and...

Cost: 0

Where:
StoneCreek of Edmond
17701 N Western
Edmond, OK  73012
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s Concert Band will hold their fall concert, “Marching Songs,” Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Chickasha High School Auditorium. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chickasha High School
900 W. Choctaw Ave.
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: USAO Music Department
Telephone: 405-410-9331
Contact Name: Kaleb Benda

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Get in the holiday spirit with M-PACT’S Winter Wonderland. This award-winning pop-jazz vocal a cappella group has been called the “Cirque du Soleil of Song.” Their vocal...

Cost: $10-15

Where:
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
1727 W. Alabama Ave.
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405-574-1310
Contact Name: Katie Davis

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Eat, drink and give thanks for good friends! Start a new Friendsgiving tradition with us! Let the Melting Pot be your host this Friendsgiving as you relax with your friends and you enjoy a...

Cost: 29.95

Where:
The Melting Pot
4 E Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot
Telephone: 405-235-1000
Contact Name: Donna Jackson
Website »

More information

Thrills, laughs, and excitement are on full display in this incredible Cirque program that transports audiences back to the timeless adventure of the big top circus ring. This production, set to...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

University Theatre and the School of Dance present The Nutcracker. Oklahoma Festival Ballet will enchant audiences with Tchaikovsky’s beloved fairy tale ballet, a holiday favorite!...

Cost: 10-35

Where:
Elsie C. Brackett Theatre
563 Elm Ave.
, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: OU University Theatre
Telephone: (405) 325-4101
Contact Name: Sandra Bent
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

Oh no! The nutcrackers from Oklahoma City Ballet have escaped and are hiding at the Engel & Völkers Oklahoma City shop. Help them see Oklahoma City before they have to go home for their...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Engel & Völkers
1138 N Robinson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Britta Thrift
Telephone: 405-881-5000
Contact Name: Britta Thrift
Website »

More information

Eat, drink and give thanks for good friends! Start a new Friendsgiving tradition with us! Let the Melting Pot be your host this Friendsgiving as you relax with your friends and you enjoy a...

Cost: 29.95

Where:
The Melting Pot
4 E Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot
Telephone: 405-235-1000
Contact Name: Donna Jackson
Website »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

Thrills, laughs, and excitement are on full display in this incredible Cirque program that transports audiences back to the timeless adventure of the big top circus ring. This production, set to...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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