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HARLINGEN, RGV – Dr. Rodney Rodriguez has been named the new senior director of RGV FOCUS, a collective impact initiative focused on cradle to career education initiatives across Rio Grande Valley school districts. 

The announcement was made this week by Educate Texas and Dallas-based Communities Foundation of Texas.

Dr. Rodney Rodriguez

“Dr. Rodriguez’s experience in education policy runs deep with an additional sixteen years of service in various executive roles to enhance low-income, migrant children’s growth and development across five states,” said Chris Coxon, managing director of Educate Texas. “We’re thrilled to have Dr. Rodriguez’s considerable personal and professional experience helming our Valley initiative.”

Coxon pointed out that Rodriguez has over 20 years of education and non-profit leadership experience. Rodriguez previously served as executive director of strategic and external relations at Laredo College. 

“Dr. Rodriguez is an outstanding leader who is innovative and creative. I’m looking forward to working with him in his new role as Senior Director with RGV FOCUS,” said Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, Superintendent, McAllen ISD.

Rodriguez replaces Luzelma Canales as head of RGV Focus. Canales was appointed senior associate vice president for student success at UT-Rio Grande Valley. 

Rodriguez’s appointment was first announced in the Laredo Morning Times. Click here to watch the video.

RGV Focus a is a collective impact initiative in the Rio Grande Valley – a team of leaders from school districts, higher education institutions, community-based organizations and business/workforce partnering to improve student lives from cradle-to-career. 

In 2012, Educate Texas, an educational arm of Dallas-based Communities Foundation of Texas, partnered with Valley leaders to launch RGV FOCUS to transform college readiness, access and success across Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. The work to date is driven by the vision that all RGV learners will achieve a degree or credential that leads to a meaningful career.

RGV Focus made headline news this summer when, as first reported in the Rio Grande Guardian, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $2.4 million to the group. This followed a $1.25 million investment by the Greater Texas Foundation.

“Our past success laid the foundation for these new investments in our work in Rio Grande Valley area schools,” said Rodriguez, speaking of the work of RGV Focus. “We’ll be expanding our efforts to focus on cradle to career programs that will help ensure all Rio Grande Valley learners can achieve a degree or credential that leads to a meaningful career and successful life.”

Rodriguez promised RGV Focus would not rest on past successes. He has announced four core priorities that would guide his work in 2019 and 2020:

  • Greater Engagement with RGV FOCUS Partners
  • Strengthen Early Childhood Education in the RGV
  • Emphasis on Education & Workforce Initiatives
  • Strategically Work with Colleges for College Prep and Completion

Rodriguez said his work in Laredo focused on connecting quality education, workforce readiness and global competitiveness, noting his work on the City of Laredo’s Economic Development Advisory Committee. 

“I’m looking forward to forging similar relationships and deepening our partnerships with Valley area business, chamber and economic development leaders through my work with RGV FOCUS.”

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the work of RGV FOCUS, its recent grant awards or Dr. Rodriguez, visit edtx.org/rgv-focus.

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