HARLINGEN, Texas – John Fitzpatrick, the executive director of Educate Texas, says he is thrilled to have former Harlingen CISD Superintendent Art Cavazos as the group’s Superintendent in Residence. 

Educate Texas is an initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas. Through its programs and policies it works to ensure every Texas student is prepared in the school, in the workforce, and in life. 

Communities Foundation of Texas works locally and across the state through a variety of charitable funds and strategic initiatives. The public foundation professionally manages 1,000 charitable funds for individuals, families, companies and nonprofits. It has awarded more than $2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.

Fitzpatrick pointed out that since 2003, Educate Texas has partnered with school districts, institutions of higher education, businesses, community and civic organizations, state agencies, and policymakers to strengthen the public and higher education systems for all Texas students.

“I am thrilled to have Dr Art Cavazos join Educate Texas as a superintendent in residence supporting Rio Grande Valley pre-K through 12 and higher education leaders to build stronger pathways to postsecondary degrees and certificates, as well supporting better teacher preparation programs,” said Fitzpatrick said. 

“Dr. Cavazos is a visionary leader with a track record of both innovation and academic achievement gains for students.”

Fitzpatrick said that in his new role, Cavazos will play an integral part in growing Educate Texas’ work to improve college readiness, access and success in the Rio Grande Valley.

Cavazos, pictured above, retired as superintendent of Harlingen CISD in 2021. He had led the school district since 2013. He holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from the University of Texas Pan-American and a doctorate in education from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, he has earned certifications in Mid-Management and Superintendency from the University of Texas Pan-American.

“I am very excited to join the Educate Texas team for several reasons,” Cavazos said. 

“First, I have high hopes for students across the Rio Grande Valley and have appreciated the opportunity to partner with Educate Texas on many occasions over the last decade to share innovations and best practices in the field of education. 

“Second, I am inspired by the fact that Educate Texas never shies away from the difficult work of setting strategic goals and collaborating with the right partners from all sectors. 

“Last but not least, as Educate Texas expands its work in the area of higher education and workforce development, it aligns perfectly with the work that I have done previously in pre-K-12 to prepare students for career pathways and remove barriers to their success.”

Cavazos was one of the founding members of the leadership team for RGV FOCUS, an initiative of Educate Texas. RGV FOCUS was started in 2012 and comprises of a group of leaders from school districts, higher education institutions, community-based organizations, and the workforce. The idea was to establish an education-focused collective impact initiative in the Rio Grande Valley that could greatly improve the educational outcomes across the four-county region.

Fitzpatrick said Educate Texas partnered with Valley-based leaders to establish RGV FOCUS in support of the vision that all Rio Grande Valley learners will achieve a degree or credential that leads to a meaningful career and successful life.

As Educate Texas’ Superintendent in Residence, Cavazos plans to advance the work of Educate Texas’ 2025 Strategic Plan. He believes he can do this by deepening its executive team’s expertise in designing partnership opportunities and policy recommendations that best serve public school students and educators. 

Cavazos also wants to help grow the number of districts and campuses participating in Educate Texas’ programs. These include a portfolio of work across four key impact areas: college and career readiness, effective teaching, higher education, and collective impact. Currently, Educate Texas has two offices in the region: one in the lower Rio Grande Valley area in Harlingen, and one in the upper Rio Grande Valley area in Mission.

In November 2014, Cavazos was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top school leaders from across America to participate in the first-ever National ConnectED Superintendents Summit at the White House. He has taken on many leadership roles to further advance public education, including having been appointed as chairman of the State Board of Educator Certification in 2019.


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