During National School Choice Week 2024, FCCS organized the Leaders and Lawmakers Series in Houston, Texas. This event provided a platform for community and school leaders, as well as elected officials, who play a significant role in shaping the lives of Black and Brown children in the region.
Houston’s leaders addressed a range of critical issues during the event, such as community and family engagement, funding, leadership development, language and learning, early childhood education, universal pre-K, special education, and school operations. This gathering allowed them to share their personal stories, experiences, and vocalize the importance of public school choice for the well-being and success of our Black and Brown children.
Four Houston Educational Change Makers were honored, including:
Patty Williams Downs, CEO, Breaking Bounds: Patty Williams Downs is a seasoned charter school leader and the former Executive Director of One Goal. At One Goal, she helped prepare more than 500 Black and Brown Houston charter school seniors for college admissions and acceptance.
Patra Brannon Isaac, Director, Kinder Foundation: Patra Brannon Isaac is a seasoned human capital, talent development, and community advocate leader. Through her work at Leadership ISD, Patra developed several school board trustees and charter school directors and helped bridge Black and Brown teacher shortages in the local school districts. Patra now works in philanthropy at the Kinder Foundation to advocate for families to have access to school options.
Representative Harold Dutton: Representative Harold Dutton is one of the senior voices in the Texas House of Representatives and is a long-standing member of the Education Committee who advocates for equitable school funding.
Mayra Arreola, School Leader, K-8 Windmill Lakes, International Leadership Academy: Mayra is entering her 6th year as the leader of Windmill Lakes. A seasoned principal having led at A+ and Houston ISD, Mayra is known for her bilingual education, intervention, and teacher development expertise. Mayra, during a period of budget cuts, advocated for her campus to receive behavior specialists to help mitigate issues and support Black and Brown students to be successful academically. Mayra leads a campus where more than 85% of students are Black and Brown students.