In Memoriam: Al Lopez

Team & Family, it is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Al Lopez, IDEA’s Acting Superintendent and Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Known for his good-natured disposition, his career and service to IDEA and his community attest to the transformational power of education. 

Lopez was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona where he excelled in sports and dreamt of becoming a professional baseball player. He enjoyed helping others whenever he could, including helping his mother while she studied for her U.S. citizenship and tutoring his father to help him obtain his GED when a supervisor position opened at work. 

After finding his way to the University of Arizona on a baseball scholarship, he graduated with an accounting degree, and later an M.B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado, that set him on a course for a 30-year career as a finance executive for Dell, Inc., and IBM. 

Due to his own experience as a first-generation college student who had little guidance on the way to college, Lopez had a strong history of community service, especially when it came to education. His faith compelled him to be generous and serve those who have fewer resources and opportunities. 

After retiring in 2010, Lopez continued to serve his community full-time including as executive director of the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), a community development organization that serves helps mainly underserved members of Austin wanting to start a small business, a member on the St. John Neighborhood Association board, board chair of the Austin Achievement Zone, and supporting the AVID program at Austin’s Northeast Early College High School. 

In 2012, he was recognized as Austin ISD’s Latino volunteer of the year. Al currently sits on multiple nonprofit boards in addition to his service as IDEA’s fiduciary board chair, including Lifeworks Affordable Housing and People Fund’s New Market Tax Credit Advisory board. As part of their ministry involvement, he and his wife, Judy, also provide affordable rental housing for several families in Austin’s St. John neighborhood. 

Lopez served as Chair of IDEA Austin’s Regional Board and Treasurer of IDEA’s Governing Board before assuming the role of Interim CEO in May 2021. The impact of his outstanding leadership and commitment to our families, students, and staff will remain part of his enduring legacy. 

He is survived by his wife, three children, and 12 grandchildren. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family, friends, and the many others who knew and admired him. 

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