TASA has selected Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, superintendent of Arlington ISD, as Texas’ nominee for the 2017 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year award.
Cavazos has served as superintendent of Arlington ISD, a school district of more than 63,000 students in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, since 2012 but has served the district in other administrative roles since 1999.
During his tenure as superintendent, the district has opened two fine arts/dual language academies and expanded community-based prekindergarten. Cavazos has created partnerships to help fund instructional programs. They include one with Tarrant County College to construct facilities for an early college high school, one with Music & Arts to create an instrument repair program, one with Texas Trust Credit Union for academic scholarships and an outdoor performance area, and one with Boys and Girls Clubs of Arlington for a branch within a new elementary school.
“I prioritize instruction first and challenge staff to repurpose existing resources, where appropriate, to fund new initiatives or to expand existing successful initiatives,” Cavazos says. “My constant message is that improvement is the only non-negotiable and education is the great equalizer for our students.”
In 2015, Arlington ISD was a finalist for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award in the large district category. That program recognizes districts’ commitment to student achievement through innovative programs, parent/community involvement, and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.
In September, the Texas Association of School Boards named Cavazos the 2016 Texas Superintendent of the Year. While the TASB Superintendent of the Year program is not affiliated with the AASA program, honorees of the TASB program are encouraged to apply for the AASA award.
In addition to his membership in TASA, Cavazos is a member of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, AASA | The School Superintendents Association and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). He serves on the TASB Risk Management Fund Board of Trustees and is the current president of the Texas School Alliance, an alliance of large, diverse school districts that educate about one-third of Texas’ students.
Cavazos began his career as an English teacher in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1999, after a stint in the Texas Education Agency Department of School Finance and Support, he joined Arlington ISD as associate superintendent for instruction. He became deputy superintendent in 2009 and superintendent in 2012. He has previously served as a lecturer for The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas-Pan American and a doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin.
As a state nominee for AASA National Superintendent of the Year, Cavazos will now be considered by a national blue-ribbon panel of judges that will select four finalists to be interviewed in Washington, D.C., in January. The 2017 National Superintendent of the Year will be announced and the state nominees honored at AASA’s National Conference on Education in New Orleans March 2-4.