Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday appointed Mike Morath, a Dallas schools trustee, investment manager and avid mountain hiker, to lead the Texas Education Agency.
Morath was elected to the Dallas Independent School District board in 2011 and has helped improve the district’s finances, close the achievement gap between white students and students of color, and successfully turn around underenrolled and poorly performing schools, the governor said in a press release.
Morath replaces Michael Williams who resigned in October citing family reasons. Morath will start at the beginning of 2016.
The governor called Morath a proven education reformer and said he “is committed to innovative solutions that will empower Texas principals, teachers, and students to strive for the highest in education excellence.”
But critics said Morath is too partial toward high-stakes testing and teacher merit pay, according to the Dallas Morning News.
In a statement, Morath said he plans to support teachers and work to improve student test scores during his tenure.
“I realize that no school system’s students can outperform their teachers, and supporting our teachers to improve teaching quality is essential in our public education system,” he said.
Just last month, Morath was appointed by the governor to lead an education committee that will recommend changes to the state’s accountability and assessment systems. The governor told the Dallas Morning News that he will replace Morath on the committee.
For more on Morath, read this 2014 profile in D Magazine.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.