Taft Independent School District has hired a Mission Consolidated ISD administrator as Taft’s next superintendent.
Joe Lopez, executive director of MCISD’s state and federal programs, was announced as the lone finalist for Taft superintendent May 2. Taft’s board of trustees will take a final vote May 26, and he plans to start May 27. Lopez replaces Chad Kelly, who has helmed the district since 2007, but was hired on as the superintendent of Jacksonville ISD, in east Texas, in March. An assistant superintendent at Taft ISD has served as interim since Kelly’s departure.
“They have been very successful in the education of their students,” Lopez said. They believe in a strong parental involvement program, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes for students, and I can see myself working very closely to continue to enhance and support their vision, their values and their beliefs.”
Lopez has known he wanted to be a superintendent since his early days as a teacher. He wanted to have a greater impact on his students and the district as a whole. He moved up as a literature teacher at Alief ISD to become an assistant principal within the district. Then, he moved to Veterans Memorial High School in Mission in 2005 to take the post of assistant principal.
He said he’s had the full support of Mission CISD’s superintendent, administrators and board members during his time with the district.
Lopez served as principal of Arturo Cantu Elementary and Mission High School before he was promoted to his current position of executive director.
He also this year was one of 15 assistant superintendents and administrators from across the nation to participate in the Superintendent Leadership Academy through the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.
“I’m grateful for all the staff members, students and parents that I’ve had the pleasure of working with here in Mission,” Lopez said. “I know that I take with me beautiful memories and experiences that I know will help guide me.”
Taft ISD, Lopez said, has the same down-home values and beliefs as Mission CISD, though on a smaller scale. He felt a strong connection to the to district’s board of trustees and thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to move into the superintendent field.
Taft ISD Board President Herman Rodriguez said he and other board members were impressed with Lopez’s answers throughout the interview process.
They were looking for someone who would fit into the community, had a small-town mentality and understood the cultural aspects of a predominantly Hispanic community. Board members believe Lopez fits that bill.
“He will hit the ground running,” Rodriguez said. “We’re anxiously awaiting for him to get hired here.”