With 33 years of experience in public education, including 11 years as a superintendent, Dr. Marcelo Cavazos has been a transformational leader and a tireless advocate for students.
Under his leadership, Arlington ISD improved test scores and implemented innovative programs and initiatives that garnered national attention. His proudest accomplishment is the explosion of opportunities for students, from early college programs to career and technical education. Under Cavazos’ leadership, Arlington ISD developed 13 specialized academies focused on STEM, leadership development, early college education, fine arts, dual language and more.
During his tenure, Cavazos spearheaded three strategic plans, two bond measures totaling $1.6 billion and one tax-ratification election to make the Arlington ISD one of the most competitive school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
With the bond money, Arlington ISD built two new schools and completed total renovations of four aging campuses, plus built new state-of-the-art facilities for career and technical education, visual and performing arts, and athletics.
Before his retirement, Cavazos realized a career-long dream by making free pre-K for all 4-year-old children a reality for Arlington families. He also created “Full STEM Ahead!,” the nation’s first district-wide STEM curriculum for 4-year-olds.
In 2016, Cavazos was named Texas Superintendent of the Year among 1,200 of his peers.
Arlington ISD was one of the first districts to join the Holdsworth Partnership in 2017. Over a five-year period, Cavazos worked with Holdsworth to create a suite of programs and systems for developing leaders in Arlington ISD.
With three strong, ready leaders in the pipeline for every principal opening, Arlington has become an exemplar of what’s possible when districts focus on growing people and preparing them for leadership roles.
Cavazos grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in a migrant farming family of six siblings. Every summer, they picked okra in hot, muddy fields. When school started, his mother insisted they stop picking and use the money they had earned in the fields for clothes and shoes. Her goal was for all to earn a college degree, which they did.
This deep belief in the transformative power of public education is what drove Cavazos to become an English teacher and work his way up to superintendent.
Cavazos started his teaching career as an English teacher in the Mission Consolidated ISD in 1990. He worked in McAllen ISD, Mercedes ISD, San Benito Consolidated ISD and the Texas Education Agency Department of School Finance and Support before landing in Arlington ISD.
He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Texas – Pan American and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Nora, are the proud parents of Theresa and Diego.