John Fitzpatrick, Educate Texas' Executive Director, has an extensive history working with education. Before taking the helm at Educate Texas, Mr. Fitzpatrick served as Executive Director of the Capital Area Training Foundation, now Skillpoint Alliance, where he worked to build relationships between the business sector, educational interest groups, and community partners for the benefit of Central Texans. Concurrently, he held the position of Vice-President for Education and Workforce Development for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and also served as an elected member of the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees. He spent four years on Capitol Hill where he worked on education and workforce development policies for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Mr. Fitzpatrick first began his career in education as a middle school teacher and coach. He received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas-Austin.
As Managing Director, George Tang ensures Educate Texas’ day-to-day operations align with its mission of preparing all Texas students to graduate from high school ready for college, career and life. Prior to joining Educate Texas, Mr. Tang co-founded Rosetta, an advertising agency fueled by an analytical approach to creating marketing strategies. In 2009, Mr. Tang returned to Dallas to focus on education, addressing the significant gaps and challenges currently stressing the education system. Mr. Tang earned a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from New York University.
Managing Director, Programs
Chris Coxon currently serves as the Managing Director of Programs for Educate Texas. Mr. Coxon previously served as the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for the Boston Public Schools. During his tenure, the Broad Prize for Urban Education recognized the district as a finalist for four consecutive years and then as the winner in 2006. Mr. Coxon has also served as a principal, district administrator, and teacher in Puerto Rico for the Department of Defense Education Activity and in Dallas where he began his teaching career. He has served on various educational boards at the state and national level and has presented at various conferences across the country. In 2000, Mr. Coxon was selected into the Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard University. Mr. Coxon holds a bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Phoenix University, and a master’s degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University.
Managing Director, Finance and Administration
Amy Groff is Educate Texas’ Managing Director of Finance and Administration. Before joining the Educate Texas team, Ms. Groff served as Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for 23 years. Prior to joining the Symphony, she was with Pricewaterhouse-Coopers (formerly Coopers & Lybrand) leaving as a senior manager after seven years of employment. Ms. Groff serves on the Finance Committee for the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas County and as a board member on the Dallas Symphony Foundation Board. Ms. Groff graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting.
Executive Director, RGV FOCUS
Dr. Luzelma G. Canales is executive director for RGV FOCUS, a collaboration with Educate Texas. Prior to joining Educate Texas, Dr. Canales served as a community college and university administrator for over twenty-five years. During her time in higher education she provided oversight for resource development, compliance, organizational development, community engagement, continuing education, workforce development, corporate training, and adult basic education. Dr. Canales also served as the lead for numerous national reform initiatives including Achieving the Dream (ATD), Breaking Through, and several Excelencia in Education initiatives from 2004 to 2011. In 2009, Luzelma was invited to join an elite group of professionals as an ATD Data Coach and remains active. She also worked with UT-Austin and Texas community colleges to establish a culture of evidence by making data informed decisions. Dr. Canales holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pan American University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas – Pan American, and Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University – College Station.
Dr. Reo Pruiett is the Educate Texas Director of Programs with a focus on T-STEM Initiative, and has over 25 years of experience in education. Dr. Pruiett began her career as a high school teacher and after obtaining her master’s degree, worked in central office administration as an exemplary teacher and leader, new teacher supervisor, and science supervisor. After obtaining her doctorate degree, Dr. Pruiett was chosen to become the director of secondary education which entailed working with all high school and middle school principals to promote rigorous academic achievement for all students. She has served on various academic committees at the district, regional, state and national levels.
Director, Insights & Analytics
Kristin Kuhne is the Director of Insights and Analytics at Educate Texas. Her primary responsibilities include conducting quantitative and qualitative research on our statewide educational initiatives. Prior to joining the Educate Texas, Dr. Kuhne worked at the Texas Schools Project/Education Research Center at UT Dallas as a Research Associate. Her work there included the evaluation of a variety of educational interventions from early childhood to high school. Dr. Kuhne received her doctorate in public policy and political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas where she also earned a master’s in public affairs. She also holds a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and was employed in the financial services industry before doing her graduate work.
Priscilla Aquino Garza
Deputy Director, Policy
Priscilla Aquino Garza is responsible for statewide policy and advocacy work related to K-12 education in Texas. She began her education work as a middle school teacher in Boston, the South Bronx, and Austin. She worked as a research associate for the Texas High School Project, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Early Childhood Coalition. She then served as the Director of Educator & Student Policy Initiatives at the Texas Education Agency where she was responsible for improving educator quality and effectiveness and developing more effective educator recruitment and retention strategies. Prior to Educate Texas, she was the Deputy Director for Stand for Children Texas where she oversaw organizing, advocacy and statewide education policy. Ms. Aquino Garza earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Harvard University, a certificate in Latin American Studies, and her teaching certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her master’s in public affairs from the LBJ School for Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
Deputy Director, Policy
Melissa Henderson is the Educate Texas Deputy Director of Policy and brings with her eight years of experience in the Texas House, having served as legislative director for Rep. Patrick Rose. Throughout his four terms, she had primary responsibility for advising him on education - both P-12 and postsecondary - particularly in his capacity as a member of the House Higher Education Committee for three sessions. Ms. Henderson worked closely with institutions of higher education, House leadership and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on issues such as tuition and financial aid policy, top ten percent admissions policy reform, and creating student regent positions on the boards of regents of each public university system in the state. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University.
Deputy Director, Programs
Dr. Kelty Garbee is the Deputy Director of Programs at Educate Texas, leading the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative. Dr. Garbee previously worked at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) where she served as the Early College High School Program Manager. In this capacity, she developed expertise in dual credit and P-16 partnerships and was responsible for creating a designation process that allows school districts and colleges to join the statewide network of Early College High Schools. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Manager of Grants and Sponsorships in the Development Office at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Dr. Garbee earned her doctorate from the University of Texas-Austin College of Education and her master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Studies in Women and Gender from the University of Virginia.
Deputy Director, Programs
Susan Henderson serves as the Deputy Director of Programs for the Early College High School Professional Development Network. Before joining the Educate Texas team she was principal of the Berkner TSTEM Academy in Richardson ISD. It was due to the achievements of this academy that Susan sought a position at Educate Texas to expand her reach with such innovative programs as TSTEM and ECHS. Susan has also served as an assistant principal, instructional specialist and math instructor. In her current position at Educate Texas, she manages the development and delivery of specialized professional development specifically designed to enable teachers to move students through rigorous classroom curriculum at a pace necessary for the completion of college courses in high school. Susan earned both her bachelor of science in kinesiology and master’s in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
Deputy Director, Programs
Kate Haisten currently serves as a Deputy Director of Programs for Educate Texas. In this role, Kate supports collective impact initiatives across the state as well as internal program management. Kate started her career as a high school math teacher in Memphis, Tennessee through Teach for America. Prior to joining Educate Texas, Kate was a consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Dallas. Kate is a graduate of Texas Christian University and holds a BBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management.