The Education Department didn’t have to go far to find its new chief information officer.
Federal News Network has learned Luis Lopez, who has been with the department since 2017, will replace Jason Gray as CIO. Gray moved to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in August to be its CIO.
“He brings deep experience and proven skill in delivering information technology services in large and complex government organizations – and leading IT transformations that ensure those organizations continue to adapt effectively for the people they serve,” said Cindy Marten, the deputy secretary of Education, in a statement obtained by Federal News Network. “In his most recent role as the chief of operational services in the enterprise technology services division within the U.S. Department of Education, he helped modernize our infrastructure and position us to move seamlessly to a remote and hybrid workforce. Making sure we continue to manage and adapt our information technology effectively is absolutely vital to our work of serving our nation’s schools, students and families, and I’m looking forward to working together with Luis as he takes on this crucial role.”
Lopez joined Education five years ago as the chief of operational services ETS division, where he led all information technology service delivery and customer service for the department.
He earned his senior executive service (SES) appointment and became director of the division. During his time leading ETS, Lopez led the major transformation from a 12-year legacy IT service delivery contract to a new service model that modernized the infrastructure, end user computing and software upgrades that positioned the department to seamlessly transition to a successful remote and hybrid workforce and continue to modernize, Education said in its email.
As director of ETS, Lopez was a principal advisor to the CIO for IT engineering and operational functions.
The Education Department’s IT budget is just over $1 billion, of which it spends $845 million on operations and maintenance and $208 million on development, enhancement and modernization efforts, according to the Federal IT Dashboard.
Lopez inherits 36 major IT projects with 29 receiving a CIO rating of “yellow” or medium risk, and seven receiving a rating of “green” or low risk.
In becoming CIO, Lopez inherits an infrastructure that has moved to the cloud and is mostly modernized. Gray kicked off phase 2 of his modernization effort in 2020 with a theme of consolidation. The longer term goal is to deliver improved services at lower costs.
Another big focus Lopez will inherit is the move to a zero trust architecture. The CIO’s office is leading an effort to apply zero trust principles to the department’s 200 major systems with a specific focus on the control plane and trust engine elements.
Before coming to Education, Lopez worked as the chief engineer at the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and chief of operations at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004.