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Pueblo City Schools’ superintendent to retire

Pueblo City Schools Superintendent Maggie Lopez will retire at the end of the school year, the district announced today.

The retirement marks the end of a 37-year career in education. Lopez has been Pueblo’s chief since February 2011.

Pueblo City Schools is the largest district — of nearly a dozen — nearing the end of the state’s “accountability clock.” The district has two more years to improve on the state’s annual accountability reports or lose its accreditation with the state. The district did improve on its annual ranking this year, but it wasn’t enough to achieve a higher accreditation status.

Pueblo serves 17,692 students, 70 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. It operates 24 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and five high schools.

Most of Pueblo’s schools are performing well below average, Colorado School Grades, said in a recent report. The coalition of public education advocacy organizations uses the state’s district performance framework data and assigns letter grades, A-F, to schools.  

“Maggie’s leadership has allowed us to make measurable progress in student achievement by taking our district out of turnaround status,” said school board president Dr. Kathy DeNiro in a statement. “She has been a tireless worker to improve the relationships and trust with our staff.  Maggie has supported the community’s work on our strategic plan.  Perhaps most importantly, she is an individual of great integrity and that has been demonstrated repeatedly during her tenure.”

Accomplishments touted in the district’s statement include the realignment of its middle school, a $10 million grant to fund science, technology and math curriculum and “successfully navigating the district and community through the difficult closure of three schools.”

Previously, Lopez served in central administration roles at Academy District 20 in Colorado Springs. Lopez began her education career at nearby District 11 as an elememnarty school teacher in 1977.