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Austin ISD Trustees Appoint Paul Cruz Superintendent to Lead District

At tonight's regular board meeting, Austin ISD Trustees appointed Paul Cruz as superintendent of the district's 85,000 students and 12,000 staff members.

"Committed to continuing our dedication to rigor, relationships and resources, I am honored to be named superintendent," AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said. "I look forward to continuing the communication of the district's successes; working with staff and community members to address areas of needs; and carrying out the will of the Trustees." 

Since Dec. 15, 2014, when Cruz was named sole finalist for superintendent, he has been engaging the community by sharing his vision and allowing the public to ask him questions at several public events. Through seven community forums and more than 20 presentations to community organizations, Cruz discussed the district's focus areas, plans for improvement and the need for ongoing dialogue regarding student achievement.

Cruz most recently served as the interim superintendent for AISD. He has worked in education for 28 years. In his time with AISD, graduation rates have improved to an all-time high of 84.1 percent.

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, which is 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, which is a program designed and developed to recruit and retain the best principals and teachers for AISD schools.

Cruz has worked as a teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and south Texas. He 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. 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, Cruz received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Austin at the age of 29. In his doctoral program, 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.

Cruz and his wife, Diana, a former teacher, have been married for more than 25 years and have four children: Maricristina, Selly, Paul and Emmanuel.