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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 The unpublished great American novel will have to wait, however.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

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

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


Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
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