President & CEO,
Tejano Center for Community Concerns
Superintendent of Schools,
Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success
Ed.D., University of Texas at Austin
M.Ed., University of Houston
B.S., University of Houston
Some might say Adriana Tamez began to impact the community in 1992 when she began her career in education as a bilingual teacher. During this same period, due to her involvement in the community, Tamez joined forces with a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to improving the lives of families in Houston’s East End and co-founded the Tejano Center for Community Concerns (Tejano Center). In 1996, the Tejano Center became one of 15 organizations to be approved by the State Board of Education to operate an open-enrollment charter school in Texas. Dr. Tamez is a co-founder of the charter school, the Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success (RYSS), and served as its first director of education. Even when she went on to work as an educator/administrator in the Houston Independent School District and the Region 4 Education Service Center, she continued to volunteer at the Tejano Center and RYSS. In 2014, Tamez returned to RYSS as Superintendent of Schools where her focus was improving the academic achievement for its predominantly Hispanic student population, increasing community and governmental partnerships, and expanding the district’s reach to serve more students. Her efforts have met with success. The district now enjoys a 96.4% graduation rate, with 85% of its graduates attending two- and four-year college programs. In July 2017, in addition to her role as superintendent of schools, Tamez became the President and CEO of the Tejano Center. Dr. Tamez has made the Tejano Center a beacon of service within Houston’s East End neighborhoods, providing assistance to those most in need. As a beacon of service, under the leadership of Dr. Tamez, for example, Tejano Center expanded the Affordable Housing Program through the Home Repair Program. This program began operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008 and was ready to respond during Hurricane Harvey, repairing over 120 low-income, minority-owned homes. Other programs implemented by Dr. Tamez are: Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program, which focuses on assistance services to victims and survivors of all types of crimes, especially domestic abuse; Child Placement Agency (CPA) with 18 homes that provide for foster care placement; and Sunrise Lofts, a new 52-unit affordable and permanent supportive housing development with onsite training and referral services targeting homeless youth ages 18-24, including those who have aged out of foster care. Most recently, as COVID-19 has made it unprecedented impact on the community, Dr. Tamez’ visionary leadership has shaped various relief efforts: the Tejano Center’s affordable housing program has received an increase of appeals for assistance, and this assistance has included rent and mortgage assistance; due to the increased rate of domestic violence, VOCA has increased its services; and a drive-thru meal distribution program was established that has now served more than 300,000 meals and snacks, and coordinated food distribution. COVID-19 relief efforts have been made possible in great part by donations from community partners, the fruits of Tamez’ leadership and resource development.
The mission of the Tejano Center for Community Concerns is to develop education, social, health, and community institutions that empower families to transform their lives. Dr. Tamez has cdertianly done that as she has furthered the mission of TCCC through her innovative and forward-thinking ideas. Dr. Tamez is a leader who can help others see her vision, and she has the ability to identify and nurture others towards the same goal of service to community. She and her team are determined to create a vehicle that can help others productively create self-sufficient and fulfilling lives. She has identified needs within the Hispanic community, especially in southeast Houston that allow the community members to have a comprehensive array of social, educational, economic, and housing services, as mentioned previously. She has partnered with many organizations, including the City of Houston, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Texas Education Agency, Baylor College of Medicine, the Harris County Juvenile Probation Office, and UnidosUS in order to ensure the needs of the community are met. She has worked diligently to bring about financial stability to the organization as well as an environment of innovation, transparency and accountability. Tamez has made an indelible impact on her community and continues to do whatever she can to enhance the lives of people within the Hispanic community. Her role as President and CEO of the Tejano Center for Community Concerns and Superintendent of Schools for Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the Houston community.
Adriana Tamez grew up as a disadvantaged youth in the Denver Harbor area of Houston, Texas. Seeing the poverty and need around her convinced her at an early age that she would have to make a difference in the community. Her calling was guided by education, knowing that furthering your education was a good way to empower yourself and help others. This was also the impetus for her creating the Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success. Instead of looking around and making excuses about her life, Dr. Tamez took those life experiences to create an opportunity to be able to look at the needs of the community through their eyes so that she can effectively provide what is needed for the community.
Dr. Tamez has received several awards and recognitions of her work. Examples of awards she has won include: the 2020 Solo Mujeres Woman of Year for Education Programs award; Ford Motors Mujeres Legendarias, 2017; The White House Initiative—Servant Leader in Education Service Award, 2016; The University of Texas at Austin—Dr. Nolan Estes Leadership Ascension Award, 2010; Tejano Center for Community Concerns—Willie Velasquez Hispanic Excellence Award, 2009; Association of Hispanic School Administrators—Outstanding Principal of the Year Award, 2004; Houston Independent School District, East District—Principal of the Year Award, 2003; Tejano Center for Community Concerns—President’s Award, 1999; Willie Velasquez Excellence Achievement Award Educational Award, 1999. Most recently, The Tejano Center was awarded the coveted 2020 Above and Beyond Award from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools through the RYSS schools for feeding community children, whether they attend the charter school or not, during the COVID-19 crisis when area school districts suspended meal pick-ups for a few days. Never one to turn away a child for any reason, RYSS continues to feed children daily through the community meal pick-ups. They provide services feeding youth age 18 and under, provide food/meals to people age 18 and over, especially those who are senior citizens and unemployed, and provide social-emotional support through a hotline to access counselors. Dr. Tamez is or has been affiliated with several other nonprofits, including Harris County Housing Authority Board, Effective June 25, 2019; Houston Community College Board of Trustees, District III Trustee and Former Board Chair; Keep Houston Beautiful Commission, Commissioner; and Houston READ Commission, Advisory Board. Prior to her affiliation with RYSS, Dr. Tamez served as the assistant executive director at Region 4 Education Service Center (ESC), the largest ESC in Texas and Regional Superintendent of the Central Region in the Houston Independent School District, the fourth largest school district in the country, for five years.