Education News

Texas Schools Have New Education Commissioner

Gov. Greg Abbott picked Mike Morath, a Dallas school board member and investment manager, to lead the state’s public schools.

photo on a school bench Mike Morath
Mike Morath

He's from Dallas, likes to climb mountains and works in the world of investment management.

Meet Mike Morath, and his next challenge is to manage more than 1,000 school districts and charter schools in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced his appointment Monday, calling Morath a “proven education reformer.”

Morath will take over the Texas Education Agency in January when the current Education Commissioner Michael Williams steps down. Williams said in October that he would retire at the end the year because of family reasons.

Morath isn't new to education. He's served on the Dallas school board since 2011. There he developed a controversial "home rule" policy that ultimately failed to pass, but would have allowed the Dallas school district to avoid state control. He's also a strong advocate for school choice.

In addition to his new job, Morath already leads a new state commission to change how Texas rates schools and tests children.

Other state officials and business leaders praised Abbott’s pick for the top education job.

“He is a great choice,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a statement.

Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond echoed that sentiment.

“Mike is an innovator, and I'm confident he will bring that innovation to the task of ensuring our students are ready for a career or college after they graduate,” Hammond said in a press release.

Many educators will likely see the new commissioner differently.

“We anticipate that he will want to pursue innovative approaches to regulations dealing with such issues as charter schools, teacher appraisals, and student testing,” said Gary Godsey, executive director of the Association of Professional Educators, in a statement. “We hope that Morath will be the type of commissioner who is receptive to educators' voices in matters of policy and will support local control.”

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