OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced Secretary of State Dave Lopez will also serve on her executive Cabinet as secretary of education and workforce development.
Lopez will begin his new duties effective immediately. His appointment still must be confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate.
Lopez is a longtime civic and community leader. From 2013 to 2014, he served as interim superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools while the school board launched and concluded a national search for a permanent superintendent.
“Dave Lopez is a hard-working, energetic Cabinet member whose expertise has been very beneficial to my administration,” said Fallin. “I am asking him to take on the added task of developing and refining policies that will give students, including adult students, the skills they need to find and keep jobs in our state.”
Lopez succeeds Natalie Shirley, who was named to the post in January 2015. She recently resigned as president of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. She begins her new duties later this month as president and chief executive officer of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
“I appreciate Natalie Shirley’s service and ideas she brought to my Cabinet,” Fallin said.”She shepherded a cooperative effort between Oklahoma public education and our business community to ensure we are increasing educational attainment in Oklahoma. The best way we can support our businesses and grow our economy is to produce a more educated workforce.”
As secretary of state, Lopez serves as a senior adviser to the governor on policy, economic and legislative issues. He previously served as the governor’s secretary of commerce from 2011 until 2013.
“It’s an honor to be asked to follow Secretary Shirley and her engagement of the public and private sectors to develop the innovative Oklahoma Works strategies,” said Lopez. “The ‘Earn and Learn’ program of apprenticeships and internships, in particular, can be transformational for Oklahoma students and employers.”
Lopez previously served as president of Oklahoma City-based American Fidelity Foundation and as president of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. Prior to that, he had a 22-year career with SBC Communications (now AT&T), including serving as president of SBC Oklahoma and as president of SBC Texas.
Lopez currently serves on the boards of directors for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Banc First Corp. and Hall Capital. He has received many honors and awards, including induction into the Oklahoma City University Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor, the Corporate Advocate Award from the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Oklahoma City chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Lopez earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from New Mexico State University. He and his wife, Lana, live in Oklahoma City and have five children and eight grandchildren.