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Some Oklahoma City school administrators face termination, superintendent says

Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez says as many as 100 Oklahoma City school district administrative employees will be relocated to four school sites to combat complacency and improve responsiveness.
by Tim Willert Published: January 13, 2014

Oklahoma City's interim public schools chief said he plans to fire several high-ranking administrators as early as this week, as part of a plan to shake up district operations and improve academic performance.

Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez did not identify those facing termination, but he said Friday that as many as 10 executives would be relieved of their duties for poor job performance.

Lopez told school board members last week that he intended to make sweeping changes to counteract what he said had become a culture at district headquarters “based on oversight and compliance, rather than seeing ourselves as support for school sites.”

Oklahoma City Public Schools — the state's largest district — received 39 F's, 20 D's, 14 C's, 10 B's and 10 A's on report cards released in November by the state Education Department.

Of the district's 93 schools, 18 schools improved, 10 schools stayed the same and 65 schools decreased.

Overall, Oklahoma City Public Schools received a grade of F. Last year, the district's grade was a D.

“There are people who are content with the way it is,” school board member Bob Hammack said Friday. “The only way to shake that up is to bring people in who are not satisfied with an F.”

Lopez unveiled a sweeping six-month transition plan for consideration by the school board that includes a recommendation to overhaul the administrative structure by relocating about 100 employees from district headquarters to individual schools to combat complacency and improve responsiveness.

Those sites have been identified as Greystone Upper Elementary, Martin Luther King Elementary, Douglass Mid-High and Northeast Academy.

“The fact that we're getting closer to our customer, I think, is a very good thing,” school board Chairwoman Lynne Hardin said Friday. “I think this gives us a great opportunity to look at some of the operations that we can clean up.”

Lopez said each school has an abundance of empty classrooms. Relocated employees, he added, could be called upon to relieve administrative staff or even teachers, if needed.

“In addition to their normal work, they'll get a chance to be inspired by the students they get to see every day,” Lopez said Friday. “It will be a daily reminder that they're there for the kids.”

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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 in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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