March 2018 - Dr. Maggie Lopez

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

 
LA LUZ DE LIDERAZO - A MEMBERSHIP SPOTLIGHT
March 2018

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Dr. Maggie Lopez, Superintendent of Eagle County Schools.

Career Highlights & Education
I came to the US in 1962 as a political refugee fleeing Castro’s Cuba. My family literally left everything behind except a suitcase for clothing and started over. I was a second language learner at a time when ELL programming did not exist. It was through talented and caring teachers that I learned English while maintaining my Spanish language at home. School is where I learned about the American culture and language. I think my own experience as a child in school attracted me to education and specifically to diverse learners. I received a clear message by my teachers, “You can be successful.” I thank them every day for their belief in me.

During the time I served as superintendent in Pueblo, CO, I was moved by the diversity of the community and proud to work with the students, staff, and families. After being retired for three years, it is a privilege to serve as the interim superintendent this year in Eagle County Schools, and once again be working with a diverse community of students. My visits to schools and throughout the valley, have reminded me of the importance of my dual language skills. Our district offers dual language programs and a biliteracy certification for our students. Times have changed since I was a child who rarely, if ever spoke my native language at school!

I know that as Latino educators we are role models for our students Education is critical for all kids! I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado in 3 years, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a specialization in Bilingual Education. Ten years later while working full time, I obtained my Master’s degree from The University of Colorado and several years after that I got my PhD at the University of Colorado Denver, while still working full time and changing positions twice. I tell students that if you set your goal to have a great life, you have to get a great education!!

What is exciting about my job?
The most exciting part of being a superintendent is being able to serve students, schools, and the community in many different ways. Whether it is attending a community event, visiting classrooms and talking to students and teachers, or working with the Board. My very favorite event of the year is graduation. The joy the graduates show as they walk across that stage to get their diploma, confirms the importance of the work we do as educators no matter what our role.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader?Remember you took this role on because you wanted to serve students and make a difference. There will be challenges! How you respond sets the tone for others. On those days when the challenge becomes overwhelming, take a time out and walk into a classroom. At any grade level, the students will energize you!

Remember to listen, listen, and then listen some more. Find a mentor. You do not have to do this journey alone. There are many of us walking behind you, beside you or ahead of you who would love to share stories with you!

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
Cooking, running, reading, writing or doing photography. As I re-retire, I also look forward to returning to my work as a Hospice volunteer.

How does CO-ALAS add value?
It is refreshing and promising to know that there are other leaders in our state who bring diversity to our schools and that CO-ALAS is a valuable resource for all of us.

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.

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CO-ALAS
PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201
coloradoclase@gmail.com

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