John H. Hopper was born on October 10, 1925, near Mountain Home, Arkansas. He was the youngest of 10 children born to Alfred and Lucy Hopper.
He moved with his mother and sister to Borger, Texas, where he worked for Phillips Petroleum. Two years later he enrolled in the electrical engineering program at Oklahoma Baptist University. He later transferred to Connors State Agricultural College and eventually finished his degree in agricultural education in 1950 at Oklahoma A&M.
John’s first teaching job as an agricultural education teacher was in Wellston. Three years later John moved to Stroud where he taught the next 14 years. He then joined the Oklahoma Department of Labor, where he developed an 11-county Neighborhood Youth Corps program. It was during these years that John recognized the need for vocational education skills training for both youth and adults.
In 1966, Dr. Francis Tuttle invited John to join the staff of the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education. Along with Dr. Tuttle and Dale Hughey, John helped organize and form the first five area vo-tech districts in Oklahoma. John received his “dream job” when he was chosen to become Central Tech’s first superintendent in 1968. John loved the job so much that he spent the next quarter of a century there, finally retiring in 1993. During his tenure, Central Tech rapidly achieved a reputation for being an innovative and advanced educational facility. John and his board members were instrumental in establishing the Vo-Tech Administrators Council, Oklahoma Vo-Tech Education Council, the Central Tech Foundation and the Central Oklahoma Business and Job Development Corporation.
John has received many awards in his career, including AVA Region IV Administrator of the Year in 1986; Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award, 1988; Arch Alexander Outstanding Service Award, 1989; and the Graphics Arts Education Council of Oklahoma’s Award of Excellence in 1993. He currently serves as president of the recently formed Oklahoma Association of Retired Vocational Educators.
Mr. Hopper was inducted to the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 1999.