LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Daniel King, Ph D.

Position: Superintendent of Schools
School: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
School District: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
City, State: Pharr, TX


Daniel King was nominated by a colleague, Ariana Vazquez-Hernandez.

Seeking transformative change, Superintendent Daniel P. King has transformed two public school systems, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD and Hidalgo ISD, in the Rio Grande Valley.

Working in communities that are overwhelmingly Latino and low income, Dr. King combines a deep commitment to creating college opportunities for all students with innovative, pragmatic approaches to achieving systemic reform. At PSJA ISD, he is establishing early college pathways within every high school so that all 32,000 students – including former dropouts – can graduate and get ready for college and a career.

Throughout Texas and across the nation, leading practitioners, policymakers, and funders are learning from and transmitting to others what Dr. King has achieved in high-poverty communities. He has served students in South Texas for his entire career and is now at a point in his career where he is not only one of the main leaders in education in the region, but has also become the “go to guy” for education reform and funding issues in his state and country.

Through his tenure, Dr. King has achieved unprecedented goals for education by dramatically reducing the number of young people who drop out, putting all students on a trajectory to college and career success, and using innovative means in a low-income community to stretch the limited funds available to districts.

Dr. King is a pioneer and trendsetter. He is not one to shy away from problems, attacking them head-on instead. With his 'no excuses' approach, he has been able to make significant progress towards finding answers to some of education’s biggest questions, such as how to get all students the educational opportunities they need to be successful in life, regardless of their ethnic or socioeconomic background. With Dr. King’s guidance, students across the state are now closer to becoming the educated future our country needs.

To Dr. King, the best form of flattery is imitation. Thanks to his leadership, PSJA has become the “go to place” to visit. The district gets between 2-5 visits per month throughout the year from various school districts in the state like Dallas ISD, Austin ISD, educational reform groups like Gen TX and educators from other states like Alaska, New Mexico, Oregon and North Carolina. They all want to hear his vision, learn his craft and imitate his work, so their districts can show the same results.

"Dr. King’s transformative work with Latino students, the fastest growing demographic in the country, is a model for the future of education," Vazquez-Hernandez said. "His ideas are the foundation for federally funded projects to reform low-performing high schools nationwide."


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