Dave Lopez was hired to bridge the gap between Karl Springer and a permanent leader for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
But in his short tenure as interim superintendent, Lopez quietly has tackled several of the district's operational issues, including the safety and security of students and teachers.
Instead of replacing the district's recently retired chief operating officer, Lopez, a former business executive and state commerce secretary, created a new position to oversee security operations and selected an Air Force retiree for the job.
His pick, Rodney J. McKinley, was approved as chief of human resources by the school board at Monday night's meeting. McKinley was the 15th chief master sergeant of the Air Force — the highest enlisted level of leadership in the Air Force — and was assigned to the Pentagon from 2006-09.
“Our team is working on a multitude of operational improvements. But a safe environment for our students and teachers must be at the very top of the list,” Lopez said Tuesday. “Rod's leadership and expertise will help us address that priority as fast and as thoroughly as possible.”
No longer will safety and security be the responsibility of the district's facilities division. And McKinley will report directly to Lopez.
“I felt it needed to be a higher priority because the environment we need to provide for teachers, students and patrons is more comprehensive than just the buildings we use,” Lopez said.
McKinley, 57, who lives in Edmond, will begin his new role Monday. In addition to safety and security, he will oversee recruitment and retention of all district personnel, including teachers. He will be paid $128,000.
“Whenever parents send their kids off to school they shouldn't have to sit home all day and worry about the safety and security of their children,” McKinley said Tuesday. “(Teachers) also should not have any fear of going to work for their own safety and security.”