Katie Lopez, who joined the Apricot Valley staff on Nov. 18, was a long-term substitute teacher in the local district at Patterson Junior High School 10 years ago.
“I was among those who helped launch Creekside Middle School,” Lopez said. “I also launched my teaching career in Patterson.”
After leaving Patterson, Lopez was hired at Sylvan Union School District in 2004 as a teacher, where she taught second grade for six years and fourth grade for three years. Lopez took the position of instructional facilitator at Sylvan at the beginning of the school year before accepting the assistant principal job at Apricot, following Sara Michelena, who now works in Turlock.
Lopez’s job duties include doing whatever is needed for the 873 students who attend Apricot Valley. Her focus, however, will be on curriculum and discipline.
“Overall, Patterson has been extremely welcoming to me,” Lopez said last week. “Even the first day, Phil Alfano (superintendent of schools) paid me a personal visit — I feel welcome.”
Lopez stressed that Apricot Valley educators work as a team and are totally focused in their students. At the same time, the kindergarten through fifth-grade school has events a smaller school would have, such as carnivals, assemblies and school performances.
Lopez, a 1998 Modesto High School graduate, attended University of California Santa Barbara and graduated from there in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree on sociology and a minor in women’s studies.
Then, she came back to Modesto, where her family lives, and earned her teaching credential in 2004 from Chapman University and her masters’ degree in educational leadership from the same institution in 2010. Lopez and her husband Erik have two children, ages 2 and 4-years-old.
Meanwhile, Lopez is thrilled to be back where the start of her career began.
“I’m excited that now I’m back in Patterson to launch my administrative career,” Lopez said. “Patterson has changed since I’ve been here — Patterson has really grown up a lot in 10 years.”
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.