Jose Rafael Lopez
Taft Independent School District

Taft, Texas

Career Highlights & Education: For the past 15 years I have served as a teacher, middle school and high school assistant principal, principal at both the elementary and secondary level, and central office administrator.  During my educational career, I have placed an emphasis on collaboration and communication with students, parents, and staff.   At each of my leadership positions, a priority was to focus on student achievement.  Together with my Campus Instructional Leadership Team (CILT) and other staff members, we developed a shared framework of systems to guide every critical decision.  The same collaboration was also established in conjunction with our parents and stakeholders in the community.
What I like best about my job: In our job as District Leaders, we truly have the ability to shape, modify, and adjust the sails of our district to meet the needs of our students.  Every day brings an opportunity to guide our Board of Trustees, District and Campus Leaders, Staff, and Stakeholders in the Community. 
The best advice I’ve ever received: To listen and learn about the community you serve. 

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: As a Superintendent of Schools it is your responsibility to keep your Team of 7 completely informed.  Serving as the Superintendent of Schools means exactly that…your decisions will affect the students of the schools you serve.  When tough decisions have to be made, take time to review the facts and understand the outcomes that will be attributed to that decision.  At the end of the day, the decision you make should be based on what is best for your students.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: I would be found spending time with my wife and kids in the back yard having a South Texas BBQ.

People would be surprised to know that: I played college basketball as a walk-on for Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. 

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: I truly believe that Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) is on the forefront of opening opportunities for all students.  The members of ALAS not only believe in breaking down barriers for students in Latino communities, but in developing those leaders who will be serving at the helm.  I am proud to be a Superintendents Leadership Academy (SLA) Cohort IV Alumni and I will be forever grateful for their guidance, wisdom, and support.