AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry named Michael Williams of Arlington the State Commissioner of Education, effective September 1, and announced that Lizzette González Reynolds will serve as chief deputy commissioner. This team will lead the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and oversee the state’s 1,200 school districts and charter schools.
“High standards and accountable public schools are essential to our state’s future success, and no two people understand that better than Michael and Lizzette. Together, they will build on the improvements achieved during the tenure of Robert Scott and Todd Webster, and will ensure our children are prepared for the challenges of college and the workplace,” Gov. Perry said. “Michael’s pioneering leadership in both public and private sectors, combined with Lizzette’s nearly two decades of public education experience guiding and implementing statewide reforms create a powerful and dynamic team that will fortify our state’s public education system.”
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 a statewide elected post. He is past Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) and past Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Treasury under President George H.W. Bush. Additionally, Williams is a former adjunct professor at the Texas Southern University School of Public Affairs and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
Williams is a past chairman of the Governor’s Competitiveness Council and Governor’s Clean Coal Technology Council, and past member of the Southern State Energy Board, National Coal Council and Interstate Mining Compact Commission. He is also past chairman of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, former honorary chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas, and a past board member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Texas Public Policy Foundation and Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School. Williams received a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in Public Administration, and a law degree from the University of Southern California.
Reynolds has served as Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Programs at TEA since 2007, providing strategy and oversight in the areas of curriculum, assessment, accountability, educator quality, school accreditation, and school improvement. Prior to joining TEA, she served as Region VI Representative for Secretary Margaret Spellings at the U.S. DOE, where she also served as a special assistant for the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs. Reynolds is a former assistant director of the Institute for Public School Initiatives at the University of Texas System, has worked in the private sector as a principal at Public Strategies Inc., and served as deputy legislative director for the Texas Governor’s Office under Governor George W. Bush. Reynolds received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University.