AlumNow: Skyline grad carves a life creating spaces and building relationships


As a student at Skyline High School (Class of 1997), John Paul Valverde’s favorite teacher provided more than an education; his intelligence and structure helped Valverde become the professional he is today.

AlumNow, The Hub feature that profiles Dallas ISD alumni, caught up with Valverde for an update.

What are you doing now?

I’m principle/owner of Coeval Studio.

Briefly list a few of your career and/or personal highlights.

I opened Coeval Real Estate in 2004. In the beginning, I focused on affordable housing and then grew into high-end multifamily sales. Coeval Real Estate became Coeval Studio in 2007. We designed a dozen or more well-known restaurants in those first few years. A huge milestone for me was when I opened my first restaurant in 2010. Since then, Coeval Studio has designed, and I’m an owner of, two Pakpao Thai locations (named one of the Top 5 restaurants in 2013), El Bolero Cocina Mexicana, and Quill.

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?

My favorite classes were always on the technical side. My interests are still that way: all about details. Tennis was my favorite activity: anything I could do to be outdoors. Playing in doubles matches is a great way to learn about teamwork now that I think about it.

Who was your favorite teacher?

Mr. Richard Pennington. He was extremely intelligent, a fantastic mentor, and strict which made me a better professional.

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

Interacting with a diverse group of students from all backgrounds taught me about working with people. My business is about building strong relationships with my clients and my work is to create spaces where people spend their time.

What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?

Work hard and build a strong network of like-minded, smart people. Listen to elders because they have so much more experience and wisdom to offer you. Why not prevent mistakes by learning and listening to others? It’s very important to take risks. Don’t overthink all of your decisions. Take a leap of faith in yourself. And travel.

If you are a Dallas ISD alum and would like to be considered for an AlumNow spotlight, please complete the questionnaire and submit along with a recent high-resolution headshot. We look forward to catching up with you and sharing your accomplishments.


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