Longtime Dallas schools leader receives top honor for being a ‘champion’ for urban education

Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa has been named as the 2020 Urban Educator of the Year by the Council of the Great City Schools.

Hinojosa, 64, was presented the award this week in a virtual ceremony during the Council’s 64th annual fall conference. He was the lone finalist for the honor, also known as the Green-Garner Award.

“Michael Hinojosa has been a true champion for urban education and his passion for equity and excellence has had a profound effect on how all of us advocate for our urban students,” said Council Executive Director Michael Casserly in a statement. “Over his 41-year career, his dedication and humility have made a difference in the lives of the students he serves and there could be no one more deserving of this award.”

Hinojosa said the honor was especially meaningful coming from an organization like the Council of the Great City Schools, which focuses its lens on 76 of the nation’s largest urban school districts.

“I believe in the mission of urban public education,” he said. “It’s one of the hardest things to do in this business.”

As part of the award, Hinojosa will receive a $10,000 college scholarship to present to a Dallas ISD student.

Hinojosa, a Sunset High School graduate, started working in education in Dallas in 1979, hired as a teacher at Stockard Middle School. In his second stint as Dallas’ superintendent, Hinojosa has shepherded the district through a stretch of rapid improvement, as DISD cut its number of underperforming campuses from 43 to the single digits. He also helped steer passage of its $1.6 billion bond in 2015, as well as getting approval from voters on a tax-ratification election.

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Communities Foundation of Texas, The Meadows Foundation, The Dallas Foundation, Southern Methodist University, Todd A. Williams Family Foundation, The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, and the Solutions Journalism Network. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

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