Public & Higher Education

Saturday, 8:30 AM – One on One with Robert Scott

Robert Scott

Former Commissioner of Education

As Commissioner of Education for the state, Robert Scott served as the head of the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the state’s 1,200 school districts and charter schools. Mr. Scott is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a member of the State Bar and the longest-serving education commissioner of the past two decades.

Saturday, 9:45 AM – The Future of School Finance

David Dunn

Executive Director, Texas Charter Schools Association

David Dunn is the executive director of the Texas Charter Schools Association. Dunn most recently served as chief of staff to the U.S. secretary of education. Dunn's experience includes service as special assistant to the president for domestic policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council, the associate executive director and chief lobbyist of the Texas Association of School Boards and 15 years in education and fiscal policy analysis for the state of Texas.

Kent Grusendorf

Former State Representative, R-Arlington; Former Chairman, House Public Education Committee

Kent Grusendorf represented Arlington for 20 years, from 1987 to 2007, in the Texas Legislature, where he focused on education reform. During his last two terms in the Legislature, he served as chairman of the House Public Education Committee. Today he is executive director of Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education.

David Hinojosa

Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

David G. Hinojosa is the Southwest regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s premier Latino civil rights law firm. Since joining MALDEF in 2003, Hinojosa has become a leading civil rights litigator and advocate, with a focus on educational civil rights litigation on behalf of Latinos.

David Thompson

Partner, Thompson & Horton

David Thompson represents public school districts, junior colleges and other educational entities in the Gulf Coast area and across Texas. Thompson serves as legislative counsel for the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Fast Growth School Coalition, the Houston Independent School District, other school districts and education organizations, and has been actively involved in most legislative activities affecting public education in the past 20 years.

Saturday, 11:00 AM – An 83rd Legislative Session Preview

Dan Branch

State Representative, R-Dallas; Chairman, House Higher Education Committee

State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, has served in the Texas House since 2002. Branch is the chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, a member of the Legislative Budget Board and serves on the Calendars, Redistricting and Elections committees.

Dan Huberty

State Representative, R-Houston

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, joined the Texas House in 2011. Previously, Huberty served for five years on the Humble Independent School District board. In his last year as a trustee, he served as the board president and as the vice president and chairman of the finance committee the year before that.

Dan Patrick

State Senator, R-Houston; Vice-Chair, Senate Education Committee

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has represented District 7 since 2007. Patrick serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Education committee and also sits on the committees of Finance, Criminal Justice, Health & Human Services and Intergovernmental Relations.

Judith Zaffirini

State Senator, D-Laredo; Chairwoman, Senate Higher Education Committee

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has represented District 21 in the Senate since 1987. She chairs the Senate Committee on Higher Education; co-chairs the Joint Oversight Committee of Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency; and sits on the subcommittees on Fiscal Matters and Higher Education Funding.

Saturday, 1:15 PM – Standardized Testing and Accountability: The Great Debate

Bill Hammond

President and CEO, Texas Association of Business & Chambers of Commerce; Former State Representative, R-Dallas

Bill Hammond is president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business & Chambers of Commerce. Before leading the association, Hammond served for three years as chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush. Hammond served four terms in the Texas House during the 1980s, where he successfully authored a Texas Education Agency sunset bill.

Carolyn Heinrich

Sid Richardson Professor of Public Affairs; Director, Center for Health and Social Policy, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Carolyn J. Heinrich is the Sid Richardson Professor of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, an affiliated professor of Economics and the director of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Heinrich’s research focuses on education and social welfare policy, public management and performance management, and econometric methods for social program evaluation.

Tom Pauken

Chairman, Texas Workforce Commission

Tom Pauken is commissioner of the Texas Workforce Commission, where he was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2008. In 2007, Pauken served as chairman of the Governor's Task Force on Appraisal Reform. He also served in the White House Counsel's Office under President Ronald Reagan and was appointed by the president to serve as director of ACTION, now known as AmeriCorps.

Michael Williams

Commissioner of Education

Michael Williams was appointed commissioner of the state's education agency on September 1. As commissioner, Williams overees the state's 1,200 school districts and charter schools. Williams is a past commissioner and former chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, with more than 12 years of service to the state, and is the first African-American in Texas to hold an executive statewide elected post.

Additional panelist to be announced soon.

Saturday, 2:30 PM – Chancellor Confidential

Francisco Cigarroa

Chancellor, University of Texas System (tentative)

In 2009, Francisco Gonzalez Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be elected chancellor of the University of Texas System. As chancellor, Cigarroa oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation. In addition to his duties as chancellor, Cigarroa is a working surgeon who frequently performs liver and kidney transplants.

Kent Hance

Chancellor, Texas Tech University System

Kent Hance became the third chancellor of the Texas Tech University System in 2006. As chancellor, Hance is the CEO of all campuses and academic sites of Texas Tech University. He also works in Austin and Washington, D.C., to enhance funding for all institutions.

Lee Jackson

Chancellor, University of North Texas System

Lee Jackson was appointed chancellor of the University of North Texas System in 2002 after a 30-year career in government in Dallas and with the state of Texas. Jackson began his career in the Dallas City Manager’s Office, served 10 years in the Texas House and was elected four times as Dallas County judge.

Renu Khator

Chancellor, University of Houston System; President, University of Houston

Renu Khator has served as both the chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston since 2008. A native of Uttar Pradesh, India, she was named to the Indian Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council in 2009. She is the UH System’s first female chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the U.S.

Brian McCall

Chancellor, Texas State University System

Brian McCall is chancellor of the Texas State University System, the first university system established in Texas, comprising eight institutions with more than 77,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff. McCall previously served in the Texas House, first elected in 1991 to represent the areas of North Dallas, Frisco, Allen and Plano.

John Sharp

Chancellor, Texas A&M University System

As chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp serves as chief executive officer under the direction of the Board of Regents. The A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center that educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year.

Saturday, 3:45 PM – Educating the Emerging Hispanic Majority

Sarita E. Brown

President, Excelencia in Education; Former Executive Director, White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Sarita E. Brown is the president of Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit organization working to accelerate Latino success in higher education. She has spent more than two decades at prominent educational institutions and in government working to increase achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students.

Juliet V. García

President, University of Texas at Brownsville

Dr. Juliet V. García joined the University of Texas System as the president of UT-Brownsville in 1992 after serving as president of Texas Southmost College for six years. When García was named president of TSC in 1986, she became the first Mexican-American woman in the nation to become president of a college or university.

Daniel King

Superintendent, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District

A public school superintendent for the last 14 years, Daniel P. King was named state Superintendent of the Year in 2006 by the Texas Association of School Boards. Since July 2007, King has led the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District. Before coming to the district, King led Hidalgo ISD for eight years.

Shirley A. Reed

President, South Texas College

Shirley A. Reed is the founding president of South Texas College, a post she has held since 1994. South Texas College serves a population of 700,000, with more than 22,000 students per semester and 90 degree and certificate programs. Reed also serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors.