MISSION—After months conducting a search for a new superintendent of schools, Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a lone finalist at a special meeting Tuesday in a 4-3 split vote.
Finalist Ricardo Lopez started his career in education in 1995 as a history teacher at Ranchland Hills Middle School with Ysleta ISD, in the El Paso area. He climbed the ranks to become assistant principal and principal of three different high schools within the district.
Currently, Lopez serves as one of three area associate superintendents, for Ysleta School District. He supervises 25 schools and the 17,000 students that attend them.
The candidate said he handles the same responsibilities as any other superintendent, except for dealing with the board directly.
“I was in charge of 25 schools, which covers construction, instruction, finance, and secondary and elementary operations,” Lopez said. “All the facets that go with running a district.”
If approved for the position, Lopez has plans to build a relationship with the Mission community, and bring his years of experience to benefit the district. He said there is no cookie cutter frame for success; the district has to build a foundation for its students.
“Our kids are going to be ready for whatever comes their way, whether it be for higher education or business,” Lopez said. “We are going to be the leaders of how students can succeed, but the true measure is the quality of life that they have when they leave our schools.”
Lopez holds a bachelor of arts degree from University of Texas at El Paso, a master of arts from New Mexico State University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas-Austin.
His recent accomplishments include: supervision of nationally renowned dual language programs, improving state and college entrance exam scores, improved educational climate, and increasing the number of National Merit Scholar graduates.
“I plan to stop, look and listen…success is already set for the district; we are going to take it to new heights,” Lopez said. “Everything we do will be about the students. They will be at the forefront. They are the ones that are going to make the district shine.”
Eight candidates were interviewed for the position; Lopez was selected out of the final three. The board is required to list any finalists for this position at least 21 days prior to any final vote on the candidate, and can make the final hiring decision as early as August 7. The split vote was 4-3, with Board President Dr. Sonia M. Treviño, Vice-President Patricia O’Caña Olivarez and board member J.C. Avila voting against approval.
The new superintendent replaces Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, who left Mission CISD at the end of June to take a position as the executive director for the Region One Education Service Center. Dr. Gonzalez had been with Mission CISD for 3 ½ years.
“I am excited by the prospect of moving my family to Mission,” Lopez said. “Mission is a solid district. Plus, the Mission community and Rio Grande Valley have great family values.”
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