Center on Race and Social Problems

Derrick Lopez

Organization: 
Homewood Children’s Village
Area(s) of Interest: 

Derrick L. Lopez, JD served as the first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Homewood Children’s Village (“HCV” or the “Village”).  

In August 2007, Derrick L. Lopez moved his family to Pittsburgh to serve as Chief of High School Reform for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. In that role, he developed a comprehensive five-year roadmap to transform the secondary schools in the city of Pittsburgh.  Implementing that roadmap and attempting to re-calibrate the instructional laser for both teachers and students, he then served as the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, where he supervised the comprehensive high schools, serving grades 9-12, and the thematic learning communities that he and his team have co-designed, serving grades 6-12. 

Before joining the Executive Staff in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Mr. Lopez, a licensed member of the State Bar of Michigan, served as the Principal of Berkley High School located in Berkley, Michigan. He, therefore, brought to the Pittsburgh extensive experience as an administrator, organizational director and teacher. Within his eight years of experience as a principal, Mr. Lopez worked in urban and suburban districts with students from different socio-economical, racial ethnicities and religious backgrounds. This experience is foundational to his understanding of what it means to design a system that works so that all children are successful.

Mr. Lopez became Principal at Berkley High School with its 1,300 students in 2004. Committed to continuous improvement and growth, Mr. Lopez implemented a Professional Learning Community. Teacher and staff leadership were fostered by devoting staff meetings to professional development, modifying the academic calendar and incorporating common planning periods for the development of curriculum and assessments. Mr. Lopez also changed the role of the school’s counselors from just scheduling classes to developing meaningful relationships with students by implementing the Comprehensive Model of High School Counseling. During his tenure as Principal to the 800 students at the Highland Park Community High School also located in Michigan, Mr. Lopez initiated the 9th Grade Academy. The Academy was an orientation for the transition of freshmen students into their high school experience. Finally, as Principal of the Marvin L. Winans Academy for the Performing Arts, Mr. Lopez viewed the arts as integrated, academics discipline through which students develop habits of mind and practices that fostered academic growth and development. Through their arts interest, he worked with his staff to improve academic performance.  Accordingly, each of these roles and experiences has informed Mr. Lopez’s approach to the position that he now holds as leader of the Village.

Mr. Lopez began his career as an educator and then chose to pursue a legal career. After his judicial clerkship and a brief foray into private practice, he returned to the field of education embracing the “classroom” rather than the “courtroom” as his mission field.  That mission was expanded to the “community” of Homewood, as he led the Homewood Children’s Village.

Mr. Lopez received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Dartmouth College; a Juris Doctor cum laude from Cornell Law School; and a Master of Education from Marygrove College and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Policy from Michigan State University in spring 2013. Mr. Lopez and his wife, Lisa, have four children and six grandchildren.