A Letter From Al Lopez, IDEA Public Schools Executive Committee Board Chair and Acting CEO

Dear IDEA Families,

IDEA Public Schools’ national Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for every IDEA school’s success and for our organization’s accountability — to you and your children, to our public and philanthropic funders, and to everyone else who counts on IDEA to help students succeed and graduate from college. This week the national Board had to make some difficult decisions.

As Board chair, I announced on Tuesday that IDEA’s chief executive officer, JoAnn Gama, and chief operations officer, Irma Muñoz, had left the organization. (You can read my message to the IDEA Team & Family in English and Spanish.)

An independent review of how IDEA spent money in years prior to 2020 revealed to the Board that a small number of senior leaders in Texas misused IDEA’s financial and staff resources for their personal benefit on multiple occasions. Upon hearing this evidence for the first time, the Board’s choice was clear. We had to act for the sake of IDEA’s vital mission.

The former executives’ activities were wrong. They did not respect the commitment that this organization has made to you and your students, and for that I apologize. Let me assure you that IDEA’s mission and dedication to your children is unwavering. IDEA continues to have the resources to deliver an excellent education at every campus, in every region and state, and we have an excellent team supporting our students at every level.

The Board of Directors has named me as acting CEO. I will serve as a volunteer during the search for a new leader. I have served on the Board since 2015 and as chair since 2020. I am a proud first-generation high school and college graduate, like many IDEA alumni. The power of education has been central to my own life and it is why I am devoted to IDEA.

IDEA is going through a necessary transition that will result in a stronger organization. We rejoice in the fact that this year 100% of students were accepted to college — our 15th consecutive year! We had more Master teacher designations than ever before, and 15 of IDEA’s high schools made the U.S. News and World Report list of America’s best high schools.

IDEA was founded to provide a superior education to students of all backgrounds and to prepare them for success in college. Today, IDEA’s 8,000 teachers and staff educate more than 66,000 students. We are a strong community, and we are grateful your family is part of it.

Sincerely,

Al Lopez

Acting Chief Executive Officer & Board Chair

IDEA Public Schools

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