Rick Cruz — Deputy Superintendent
Dr. Rick Cruz left a career at Baker Botts in 2008 to join HISD as a bilingual fifth-grade teacher at Moreno Elementary School, where he was twice named Teacher of the Year. He joined HISD's central leadership team in 2013 as an assistant superintendent over the expansion of the EMERGE program, which he founded in 2010, and he also served Chief Officer of Major Projects before his current role as Chief Officer of Strategy and Innovation. In all these roles, Dr. Cruz has implemented districtwide initiatives focused on ensuring that all students graduate college and career ready.
Under his leadership as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, HISD has seen significant gains in scholarship offers, college enrollment rates, Advanced Placement (AP) exam passing rates, the number of International Baccalaureate programs, and the number of students graduating with Career and Technical Education certifications preparing them to enter the college and/or career of their choice. In addition, Dr. Cruz has overseen the expansion of HISD's Wraparound Services initiative, expanded supports for social-emotional learning, and has established mentorship programs to serve some of the district's most underserved student populations.
Cruz is the recipient of the AASA Education Scholarship Award, the University of Texas at Austin's Nolan Estes Award, the College Board Professional Fellowship, Pitzer College's Presidential Core Values Award, and the Houston Press Master Mind Award. He was also honored by the former mayor of Houston with the city's Hispanic Heritage Award and a proclamation of a "Rick Cruz Day." Cruz graduated with honors from Yale University and earned a master's and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Texas at Austin.
Deputy Superintendent Rick Cruz
Houston Independent School District
4400 West 18th Street, Houston, TX 77092-8501