Vail Daily column: Welcome, Dr. Maggie Lopez |

Vail Daily column: Welcome, Dr. Maggie Lopez

Kate Cocchiarella

As president of the Board of Education of Eagle County Schools, it is my immense honor and sincere pleasure to introduce to the community Dr. Maggie Lopez, Eagle County Schools’ interim superintendent for the 2017-18 school year.

Lopez has graciously agreed to temporarily put her quiet life in retirement on hold and return to the role of leader of our school district. In our first conversation, this comment won me over immediately: “I really appreciate the opportunity Eagle County Schools has given me to serve students again.”

Lopez’s focus is on reaching kids. Her work is centered on the question, “How can adults develop systems and refine their craft in order to effectively reach all children?” We never want to lose sight of the true goal of the work of public schools: preparing our children to be globally competitive and contributing members of society. Lopez will help us keep our eye on this target.

Eagle County Schools is privileged to welcome an experienced systems thinker such as Lopez. She has worked in all types of districts during the course of her 37-year career in education: urban and rural, wealthy and impoverished, diverse and homogeneous. Her career path started in the classroom and wound its way up the ladder, with stops in gifted and talented programming and school leadership on her way to district leadership. She is an effective communicator, thoughtful and thorough.

Lopez is a lovely, petite woman; mild mannered, yet firm in her beliefs about what is best for children. There is a lot of power and dedication packed into a small package.

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Lopez understands the value of focus on the instructional core, the relationship of content in the presence of teachers and students. She models the behaviors of a learner, in addition to the behaviors of a leader. Skills developed throughout her long and varied career will serve us well as we move forward with the challenging work of teaching all children to rigorous and internationally benchmarked standards.

Lopez is familiar with the work of previous superintendent Dr. Jason Glass and Eagle County Schools; she believes we are on the right track, doing the right work. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a strong Latina who has a deep understanding of instruction, who values equity and who believes all children are capable of growth, academic and personal, under the guidance of professional, caring educators. Her contract was signed at this past Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. Lopez will start full time on July 24, but she has already begun transition work by sitting in on several meetings and will be in the district off and on throughout the next several weeks getting to know us. Her wisdom and insight will be valuable throughout this next year of transition. She is willing and very able to help us with the important tasks ahead: continue to refine our strategic plan and the many tactics that interlink to move student achievement forward, select our next leader and guide our district along our charted course.

Lopez comes highly recommended from many quarters. I have heard from teachers and administrators who have worked with her — only the highest praise — and I am delighted to add my voice to the chorus. Bienvenidos a Eagle County, Maggie Lopez.

Kate Cocchiarella is the president of the Board of Education of Eagle County Schools.

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