Milwaukee charter school network Carmen Schools of Science and Technology has named Jennifer López as its new chief executive officer.
López succeeds the network’s founder and former CEO Patricia Hoben, who is now leading City Forward Collective, the new organization born out of the merger of Milwaukee nonprofits Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE) and Schools That Can Milwaukee.
López has leadership experience in both public district and charter schools. Most recently, she was chief academic officer of St. Anthony School in Milwaukee. Prior to that role, she was a school leadership coach for Schools That Can Milwaukee.
“Jennifer’s qualifications, experience and values were exactly what we were looking for,” said Ivan Gamboa, chair of Carmen’s board of directors. “We are excited for the future of Carmen under Jennifer’s leadership.”
The daughter of immigrant Salvadoran parents, López is a native Spanish speaker and grew up attending under-resourced urban schools, according to a news release. That experience inspired her career in education. She attended Occidental College on a full-tuition paid scholarship and later joined Teach For America.
“I am an example of how any student can achieve success when adults provide them with high expectations, care and love,” López said. “I believe schools are most effective when parents and the community are full partners, teachers are part of a collaborative professional community and all staff see their work as crucial to student success. I believe these factors for effectiveness and success are alive and well at Carmen and I’m thrilled to take the organization into the future.”
Carmen’s network includes four public middle and high schools and one elementary school. Ninety percent of its more than 2,000 students come from families with low-incomes.
It was named to U.S. News and World Report’s national list of Best High Schools in 2019, ranking second overall in Wisconsin.