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Oklahoma City school district marks end of eventful school year

The 2013-2014 school year finally ended Tuesday for students in the Oklahoma City school district, two days later than planned, thanks to inclement winter weather that resulted in several school cancellations.
by Tim Willert Published: June 3, 2014


photo - Students cheer during the last day celebration on Tuesday at Southern Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City.  SARAH PHIPPS - 
SARAH PHIPPS
Students cheer during the last day celebration on Tuesday at Southern Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City. SARAH PHIPPS - SARAH PHIPPS

The 2013-2014 school year finally ended Tuesday for students in the Oklahoma City school district, two days later than planned, thanks to inclement winter weather that resulted in several school cancellations.

Superintendent Karl Springer retired after five years, former Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez was named interim superintendent, and Rob Neu was hired to lead the district starting next month.

School board Chairwoman Lynne Hardin called it a year of significant change for the state’s largest school district.

“The business expertise Dave Lopez brought to Oklahoma City Public Schools and his focus on improving operations has proven to be just what we were looking for when we approached him back in August,” Hardin said. “His commitment to our students and staff has provided us many positive outcomes, including a new administrative building and stronger partnerships in the community. Now, with the addition of Rob Neu and other impressive educators who will join our team, we expect great academic successes that we will relish this time next year.”

A look back at the 2013-2014 school year:

AUGUST

•The first day of school for more than 40,000 students. All but one of the district’s 78 schools is open, despite ongoing construction at 20 sites. Problems with renovations delays the opening of Taft Middle School.

•A districtwide dress code goes into effect, and nearly three dozen new principals and vice principals begin new roles, along with 248 first-year teachers.

•The school board votes unanimously to appoint state Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez as interim superintendent. Lopez, a former telephone company executive, agrees to lead the district until a permanent successor is found for Springer.

•Springer retires after five years as superintendent.

SEPTEMBER

• Lopez makes his debut as interim superintendent.

OCTOBER

•Board members voice their support for a policy to add safe rooms to every school in the district.

•District officials report that more students are attending district schools than at any time in the past 35 years. Enrollment rose by 2.4 percent or 1,115 students during the first quarter of the school year.

NOVEMBER

•School board approves Rodney J. McKinley as chief of human resources and head of district security. 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.

•Oklahoma City Public Schools receives 39 F’s, 20 D’s, 14 C’s, 10 B’s and 10 A’s on report cards released by the state Education Department. Of the district’s 93 schools: 18 schools improved, 10 schools stayed the same and 65 schools decreased, resulting in a grade of F for the district.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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