Oklahoma City associate superintendent says she is committed to the district

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The woman who has been tasked with leading the Oklahoma City Public School District spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday.

Aurora Lora has not been named interim superintendent, but the board has directed her to lead while the future of Superintendent Rob Neu remains uncertain.

Lora came into the district two years ago, serving under Neu.

She said, while she hasn't been named as his replacement, she would be honored to take the job, if it were offered to her.

“I love this city, and I'm prepared to step up and do whatever it takes to provide strong leadership for Oklahoma City,” Lora said.

With uncertainty surrounding the superintendent, Lora said she's focused on the people, not the politics.

“I think the voices of our families and communities are so important,” she said.

Starting Tuesday afternoon, she's going from school to school, meeting with parents and teachers to find out what their greatest needs are right now.

As for the job of superintendent, she applied for the position two years ago but was not chosen.

She said, at the time, officials in the district felt she needed more experience.

“I've spent the last two years working to improve those areas," she said.

While she doesn't say what those areas are, she does admit there's one plan Neu implemented she won't touch.

'The Great Commitment' is a plan the district has developed with help from parents and community members.

“The great thing about having a five-year plan is that, regardless if the superintendent stays, we've set the vision for what we want for the kids in this city,” Lora said.

Lora said becoming a superintendent is her dream job.

She said she would be honored to take over in Oklahoma City and lead the district to a better future.

“I love Oklahoma. This is a place where I want to be for a long time. I just put an offer in on a house. I am committed, and I want to be here for the long-run,” she said.

In fact, she told a group of teachers Tuesday she would love to spend the rest of her career as the superintendent of just one district.

If that district were Oklahoma City, she would gladly take the job.

However, she said, right now, her focus is to simply provide stability for the district.

Lora said most of her work experience is in lower-income districts.

She said she graduated from a low-income school as valedictorian before eventually working in low-income areas in Houston, Seattle and Portland.

“My mission is to prove that kids from low-income communities absolutely can achieve at high levels if we properly prepare them and put supports in place,” she said.

Lora said she didn't really have a position on a hot-button issue that is being debated between lawmakers and teachers.

“I can say that I support all schools that give kids a quality education. I want that for every kid in our city. What that looks like, it doesn't matter if it's a charter or a district school, I just think we need great schools everywhere," she said.

She does say she believes it should be up to the people in each community to decide if a school is changed to a charter school.

She believes the voice of each community should guide that decision.

Lora began her career in education as a fourth grade teacher in Houston.

She has worked in various administrative positions in Portland, Seattle and Dallas.

She also founded an all-girls public school for middle and high school students in Portland.

She said that school served mostly low-income students.

While she has been put in charge for now, Lora said she has not been given a time frame for how long this will last.

She also tells us she has not spoken with Neu in the last week.

Beyond her job, we asked Lora about her unique name.

She tells us her father is from Mexico and Aurora was a common name in his community.

She said she was actually named after her grandmother whose name was also Aurora Lora.

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