Portrait of Dr. Cruz

Dr. Paul Cruz


Dr. Paul Cruz is the superintendent for the Austin Independent School District, serving more than 85,000 students and more than 12,000 employees. Dr. Cruz has worked in education for 28 years. In his time with Austin ISD, graduation rates have improved to an all-time high of 84.1 percent, and post-secondary enrollment rates have also increased significantly.

While with Austin ISD, Dr. Cruz has worked on the development and implementation of the following initiatives and programs:

  • Early College High Schools, where students are able to earn up to 60 hours of college credit before they graduate from high school;
  • Single-gender schools;
  • One-way and two-way dual language immersion programs;
  • Family Resource Centers;
  • Social and Emotional Learning Initiative;
  • Creative Learning Initiative, which involves integrating fine arts into everyday lessons;
  • Twilight Schools, an after-school program to support high school completion;
  • Learning Support Centers to reduce discretionary placements to the Alternative Learning Center;
  • Youth Service Mapping; and 
  • REACH, a program designed and developed to recruit and retain the best principals and teachers for Austin ISD schools.

Dr. Cruz has worked as a teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and south Texas. Dr. Cruz was also a superintendent of schools in Laredo ISD, a district with approximately 23,500 students. He served as the deputy commissioner for dropout prevention at the Texas Education Agency. Dr. Cruz also has taught a graduate-level course in curriculum and instruction.

Having set a personal goal to earn a doctorate before he turned 30 years old, Dr. Cruz received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Austin at the age of 29. In his doctoral program, Dr. Cruz was a fellow in the Cooperative Superintendency Program, which is designed to prepare future urban school superintendents.

He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from UT-Austin, with a specialization in English, and a Master of Science degree in educational administration from Corpus Christi State University.

Dr. Cruz and his wife, Diana, a former teacher, have been married for more than 24 years and have four children: Maricristina, Selly, Paul, and Emmanuel.