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August 2016 Member Spotlight - Ricardo Lopez, Ed.D.

Ricardo Lopez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Mission Consolidated Independent School District; ALAS Latino Superintendent of the Year

Career Highlights & Education: I am entering my 21st year of education.  I have been honored to work alongside some extraordinary leaders who have taken the time to mentor me and enhance my leadership skills.  As a teacher, I was awarded the teacher of the year honor for the campus, district, and region.  As a principal, I served in middle and high schools that were among the highest in the state in scores on state assessments, won numerous academic, athletic, and fine arts awards, and exemplified professional collaborative excellence.  As superintendent of Mission CISD and in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, our district has been highlighted in TASA’s Insight magazine for our Read to Lead initiatives, received the Mission Greater Chamber of Commerce Partner of the Year award, and was chosen by Google to host their first Education Leadership Symposium in Texas.  Mission CISD employees’ efforts allowed me to be recognized as the 2016 ALAS Leaders In Education Latino Superintendent of the Year. 

What I like best about my job:  I am driven by making the improbable a true possibility.  I love demonstrating that impoverished minority students can outperform their more affluent counterparts. I wake up each morning inspired and humbled by the magnitude of being a superintendent – a position that allows me to provide unique opportunities, experiences, and successes for the students I serve.  

The best advice I’ve ever received: When I was little, after a stellar performance at a little league baseball game, I was being congratulated by many of the opposing spectators.  My father, who was a coach at the time, turned to me and said, “son, you are not as good as they say, but not as bad either.”  While I did not understand his point at the time, his words stuck with me and it is these words that keep me grounded and always striving to outdo my best day.  

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: I would advise the new leader to take the time to understand the entire community.  Get to know people, celebrate their traditions, use the strengths of the organization to move forward, and listen more than you speak.  Your authenticity and ability to gain collective buy-in will not only allow for plans to come to fruition, your initiatives will be sustainable over time.   

If I ever snuck out of work early, I would probably be found: I would likely be sneaking my daughters out of school for some R&R at the beach. Shhh…don’t tell mom, she will be working. 

People would be surprised to know that: I had long hair. Yes, I am bald today but in my prime, I had long locks of beautiful shiny hair that had women jealous. 

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: I wish more educational leaders understood that ALAS is not just an organization that provides professional direction. ALAS is an organization that is rooted in providing lasting and authentic partnerships and networks that facilitate one’s administrative growth.  The organization provides the platform for those with similar backgrounds to share professional experiences and to further enrich the lives of the Latino/a students they serve!