Carmen L. Lopez is a hero of public education.

She has stood up against the most powerful people in her state to defend the public schools and the basic principles of democracy.

She served as a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court from 1996 until her retirement in 2008. At that time, she was elected to the Bridgeport Board of Education.

She played a pivotal role in the legal strategy and lawsuit that stopped the State of Connecticut’s effort to take over the Bridgeport School System. Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that the state had failed to follow its laws and ordered that the democratically elected board of education be reconstituted and given back the authority to run the City’s schools. An election was held earlier this month and an elected board again controls the schools.

Judge Lopez is now opposing the Mayor’s effort to change the city charter and take control of the school system. The proposed change would eliminate a democratically elected board of education and replace it with one appointed by the Mayor and City Council.

Judge Lopez is an advocate for students in need of special education services. She has represented many students at due process hearings on a pro bono basis.

For her strong leadership on behalf of democratic control of public education, Judge Carmen Lopez joins the honor roll as a hero of public education.