By Erin Albanese
The Godfrey-Lee Board of Education has offered the superintendent position to Carlos Lopez, current director of curriculum, instruction and assessment in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, in Plymouth.
Subject to the negotiation of a contract, Lopez will replace nine-year Superintendent David Britten, who is stepping down June 30.
Lopez, who has been in his current position for two years, was formerly the school leader at a Detroit charter school that has a predominantly Latino population. He has also served as superintendent of River Rouge Schools; deputy superintendent at Oak Park Schools; and held various positions in Detroit Public Schools. He has a doctorate in curriculum instruction and administration from Wayne State University.
Lopez, 55, who is bilingual in Spanish and English, said he was attracted to the position because of his background in working in majority Hispanic schools such as Godfrey-Lee, where 78 percent of students are Latino. He said he looks forward to continuing programs and innovations the district has implemented, including the human-centered design process and projects tied to it.
Godfrey-Lee is completing the human-centered design process, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation, in which staff, parents, students and community members are challenged to reimagine schools. It is an approach to problem-solving that incorporates the wants and needs of end users of a product or service at every stage of the design process.
An experienced grant writer, Lopez said he is also excited about funding he can secure for various opportunities in academics, arts and other areas.
Aiming for National Model
Once a refugee, Lopez immigrated to the United States in 1970 from Cuba with his his family.
“Many people reached out to us,” Lopez said. “I’m here because of the generosity of very dynamic humans who were there at the right time to helps us.”
Lopez said he looks forward to continuing Godfrey-Lee’s efforts to embrace parents and the community.
“I want the children to feel like they belong there, and the parents to know we’re giving their children the attention they need and deserve,” he said. “I would love to make Godfrey-Lee be a national model for a school that really demonstrates how we can educate (English-language learners) to achieve high levels of proficiency with dignity.”
Lopez was offered the job after interviews with four candidates narrowed from a field of 30 applicants.
Board President Eric Mockerman said the board appreciated Lopez’s varied experience, especially in working in populations similar to Godfrey-Lee’s.
“His experience was very impressive to us, and his passion for students and their learning was very impressive to us,” Mockerman said.