“Mary is a passionate advocate for education, a brilliant strategic thinker and skilled network weaver who will help accelerate our shared strategies for the future of learning,” said Cyrus Driver, Senior Director of Strategy and Program. “We were honored to receive interest and engage with a significant number of highly qualified candidates, and we are excited for Mary to join the team and advance our operational and developmental capacity at a crucial time. When Scott Nine departed to join the Oregon Department of Education, staff and consultants worked hard to fill a number of operational gaps and, though this position is not the same role that Scott held, a number of those gaps and different needed areas of work will now be skillfully attended to with Mary’s leadership.”
Mary will be joining the Partnership with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University. Her Doctoral degree is in Curriculum and Instruction- Cultural Studies in Education at UT-Austin. Previously, she has worked at the National Hispanic Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and as the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University. Mary currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Allgo, Texas’ state-wide Queer People of Color organization.
Most recently, Mary was awarded the “Champion for Children” title by the Equity Center, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that strives to create a more equitable public school finance system, as well as the “Leadership Award” by Equality Texas in 2019. Mary has been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine for her leadership in education and was recognized as one of ten “Next Generation Latinas” by Latina Magazine. In 2015, she was the youngest inductee into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame.
In her individual capacity as a Texas resident, she is currently serving her fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives as State Representative for House District 75—an area that includes east El Paso County, the fastest growing parts of the city of El Paso and adjacent towns. She brings a depth of knowledge, having authored numerous bills to improve public schools and increase economic development. She was named “Freshman of the Year” by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, a “Champion of Equality” by Equality Texas two sessions in a row, and the 2015 “Advocate of the Year” by the same organization.
Mary has received an array of awards and honors for her leadership in a variety of areas. She was elected Vice Chair of the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, a national nonpartisan, 501 (c)3 non-profit organization comprised of the elected Latina/o officials serving as the chairs and vice chairs of their respective state Hispanic Legislative Caucuses from across the country, as well as other Latina/o members serving in leadership position. In 2017, she was nominated for the national Victory Fund Award, an award created to honor state LGBTQ elected officials. She also received the Progressive Movement Leadership Award from the Young Elected Officials Network at their 2017 National Convening and as a “Leader of Promise” by the YWCA of Greater Austin in Honor of her commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women.
Mary writes, “We are living in a moment where equity, diversity, social justice and access to democracy are at the center of reconceptualizing society. Our public school systems are part of that re-envisioning. It is an exciting moment to join the Partnership for the Future of Learning and NPESF family because they have been engaging in this critical work through coalitions and around issues that are reflective of our entire country.”
Mary will lead in executing key components of the Partnership’s strategy, including facilitating collaboration among team members, managing key consultants, and acting as a central strategic thought partner with our core staff and consulting team, the Steering Committee and leading network stewards and funders. She will also lead on strengthening the operational infrastructure to execute on strategy, move work plans, and monitor progress. Mary will also carry a key role in grant writing, reporting, and budgeting, working under the supervision of and in close collaboration with NPESF Senior Director of Strategy and Program, Cyrus Driver.