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New Chief of Schools, James Ponce

Texans Can Academies, an open enrollment, free charter high school with 11 campuses across the state and seven in the North Texas area, recently welcomed Dr. James Ponce as their new chief of schools. Ponce brings nearly 23 years of experience to the non-profit organization where he will oversee the academic instruction and management of 11 campuses and 5,500 students.  

Ponce will oversee all academic strategy, staff and instructional implementation in the district.  He will also be responsible for the management of the district’s facilities and instructional budgets. After many months of careful candidate review, Richard Marquez, CEO and president of Texans Can Academies, selected Ponce as chief of schools.

Prior to joining Texans Can Academies, Ponce was superintendent of schools for the McAllen, Texas school district. During his tenure, McAllen ISD earned numerous state and national accolades including the National 2015 Blue Ribbon Award; State Finalist for the 2013 H-E-B Excellence in Education District Award; National 2015 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award (only one in Texas and one of 10 in the U.S.); Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (five consecutive years); and the Leadership Circle Platinum Seal Award and Gold Seal Award for financial transparency (three consecutive years) which is the Texas Comptroller’s highest category in financial reporting.

While with the McAllen school district, Ponce was honored as a Top Five State Finalist in the 2013 Texas Association of Superintendents’ State of Texas Superintendent of the Year award.  Before becoming a superintendent he held positions as a teacher, principal, area superintendent and deputy chief of staff in the Dallas Independent School District. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the students, parents, District employees, volunteers and Board of Trustees at Texans Can Academies to continue providing the best education possible to our students,” said Ponce.  “I’ve seen the level of commitment by the Texans Can staff and look forward to working with them to reach an even higher level of overall student success.”

Ponce’s past community involvement includes serving in numerous roles with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, RGV Linking Economic and Academic Development Board of Directors, United Way of South Texas Board of Directors, McAllen Education Foundation Board of Directors and RGV Focus-Collective Impact Leadership Team.

“After considering several candidates for our chief of schools position, we chose James because his educational philosophy working with students mirrors our philosophy and expectations. His broad education background, his proven administrative abilities and his ability to lead staff to provide the strongest education experience possible to our students every day is going to make a huge impact to our schools,” said Richard Marquez, CEO of Texans Can Academies.  “I look forward to having James back in Dallas and to the dedication and innovation he is going to bring to our schools.”

A three-time graduate from the University of Texas in Austin, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration-Finance degree and in Management in December 1990, his Master’s in Educational Administration in December 1998, and his Doctorate in Educational Administration in May 2009. He and his wife, Katherine, have three sons.

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