Newsmakers: Arlington’s Cavazos named superintendent of the year

Superintendent Cavazos

UTA adds new vice president for enrollment

The University of Texas at Arlington appointed Troy Johnson, an expert in higher education enrollment, to the new position of vice president for enrollment management, effective in November.

Johnson has been associate vice president for enrollment management at Illinois State University for the past three years. His career in higher education also includes posts at the University of North Texas, West Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.

While at Texas universities, Johnson became the only three-time winner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Star Award for documented impact on student access and success in college.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

“Dr. Johnson brings tremendous depth and breadth of experience in all facets of enrollment management and student success,” said UT Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari. “His broad experience at the local and national levels will enable UTA to reach its ambitious goals as outlined in the strategic plan.”

Johnson’s work in higher education includes serving as a rule negotiator for the U.S. Department of Education’s Discretionary Grants program, on the Texas Education Association STAAR Performance Descriptors Advisory Committee, and as chairman of the Council of Texas Public University Presidents and Chancellors Enrollment Services Efficiency Committee.

Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree in economics and doctorate in higher education administration at Texas Tech University.

Arlington’s Cavazos named superintendent of the year

- Advertisement -

The Arlington Independent School District’s superintendent, Marcelo Cavazos, was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards.

“The entire Arlington ISD community is the lucky beneficiary of his genuine commitment and exceptional leadership,” said AISD Board President Jamie Sullins. “This honor clearly demonstrates his work is making a difference and raising the bar in public education.”

Cavazos was one of five finalists selected by a school board committee. The committee’s decisions were based on specific criteria including advocacy for public education, recruitment and retention of high-quality educators, programs and initiatives that positively affect student growth, and steps to measure continuous improvement.

Cavazos received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Texas-Pan American and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He started his career as an English teacher in the Mission Consolidated ISD in 1990. In 1992, he moved to the McAllen ISD, where he taught English and government. He was named the secondary language arts supervisor for Mercedes ISD in 1993 and became associate adviser for San Benito Consolidated ISD in 1995. Cavazos went to work for the Texas Education Agency Department of School Finance and Support in 1998.

- Advertisement -

He joined the Arlington district in 1999 as associate superintendent for instruction and served as interim deputy superintendent before being named to that post in February 2009. He was previously a lecturer for UT Arlington’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Cavazos served as interim superintendent for six months before being named superintendent in December 2012.

“I am humbled and honored to have been named the 2016 Superintendent of the Year. I have the privilege to spend every day working to better the lives of our students, to break the cycle of poverty and to better the future Arlington economy through education, which is truly the great equalizer,” Cavazos said. “This award is a result of the efforts of our entire staff and board as we work to prepare our students for the college or career of their choice.”

Cavazos serves on the boards of TASB Risk Management Fund, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, Texas School Alliance, United Way of Tarrant County, Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, River Legacy Foundation and the Arlington ISD Education Foundation. He’s an ex-officio member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and an associate member of the Greater Arlington Lions Club.

He received the 2009 Arlington MLK Celebration Sharing the Dream Award for Education, the 2012 YMCA Citizen of the Year Award, the 2012 Educator Award from the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce and the 2013-2014 Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award from the Arlington Elks Lodge No. 2114. He is the 2016 Seat 21 Honoree by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

Banking & Finance

UMB Bank hired Bryson Bowden – as vice president, commercial relationship manager in Fort Worth, where he will be responsible for business development and commercial banking activity in North Texas. Bowden has more than 13 years of experience in banking and financial services in the Fort Worth area. Previously he was vice president, commercial banking at BB&T Bank. Bowden serves with the Fort Worth and Grapevine chambers of commerce, Keller Independent School District, Communities in Schools of Greater Tarrant County and Wounded Warriors.

Boards & Organizations

North Texas Tollway Authority unanimously re-elected former Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr and Bill Moore as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Barr is the Tarrant County representative while Moore represents Collin County. Other board officers re-elected are: Secretary Lorelei Griffith, Assistant Secretary Karen Madison-Ponds, Treasurer Horatio Porter and Assistant Treasurer Dana A. Boone.

Construction & Engineering

Manhattan Construction Co. promoted Shannon Jones – to operations manager for the company’s North Texas region. He will oversee construction quality, subcontractor management and safety program adherence. During Jones’ 18-year career with Manhattan he has been instrumental in the construction of many complex projects across Texas. Noteworthy projects include AT&T Stadium in Arlington, NRG Stadium and Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Houston, Apogee Stadium for the University of North Texas and Southwest Airlines’ training and operations support building in Dallas. Most recently, Jones oversaw the construction of The Star in Frisco, which includes the new headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys and a 12,000-seat multi-use stadium and practice field.

Dana Walters has been promoted to vice president of business development at MYCON General Contractors. She will be responsible for leading staff, formulating building project pursuit strategies and developing long-lasting relationships with current and potential clients and industry groups. Her focus will be identifying new business opportunities in the retail, office, industrial, religious and mixed-use market sectors. Since joining MYCON in 2004 as director of business development, Walters has helped secure several national clients for the company, including Best Buy, Gander Mountain, IKEA, LA Fitness, Kroger, Simon Property Group and Walmart. Walters has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial construction industry and has been a leader and member of professional industry groups including the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Urban Land Institute-North Texas District Council and The Real Estate Council.

Digital Media

Sarah Webb, a finance executive with experience in both corporate and small-business environments, is the new president of the digital media company Plaid for Women Inc. Webb, a certified public accountant, will be responsible for the overall operation and daily activities of the company. She replaces Plaid co-founder Sarah Zink, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Honors & Awards

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) is a co-recipient of the National Peace Corps Association’s 2016 Sam Farr Congressional Leadership Award. This is the 55th anniversary of the Peace Corps and the first year the award is named after Farr, who is retiring at the end of this Congress. Granger shared this honor with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York), ranking member on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee.

Miriam Frias, a board member for the Hispanic Wellness Coalition, has been selected as one of 12 Coors Light Líderes of legal drinking age as a finalist for her commitment to empower the Latino community. Frias can become the winner through an online public voting competition. To vote for her, go to www.CoorslightLí Voting ends Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. The winner will receive a $25,000 grant to implement a program in partnership with the Hispanic Wellness Coalition to improve and empower the local Latino community.

Tarrant County College recognized the significant contributions made by Allan Saxe to the Tarrant County College Foundation with the naming of the waterfall at the Trinity River Campus in his honor. Saxe has been an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington since 1965 and an adjunct at TCC’s Southeast Campus since 2004. An author, lecturer and philanthropist, Saxe’s views and opinions are often sought for magazine/newspaper articles and radio talk shows.


Amol Agarwal is the new executive chef at Omni Fort Worth Hotel. He will oversee the culinary operations for the property’s Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Cast Iron Restaurant, Wine Thief, and Whiskey & Rye, and he will manage all catering, in-room dining and poolside dining at the Water Horse Pool Bar. Agarwal has more than 20 years of culinary experience. Most recently, he was the executive chef and director of food and beverage at Loews Regency Hotel in San Francisco. Prior to that, Agarwal was the executive chef for The Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, Florida. He also has been executive chef at JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Straits Restaurants in San Francisco. Agarwal started his culinary career as the chef de partie at the Four Seasons in Goa, India, and has worked in several countries, including China, Jamaica and the Maldives.

Professional Sports

The Texas Rangers appointed Katherine (Katie) Pothier as executive vice president and general counsel. She will have oversight responsibility for the Rangers’ legal, human resources and risk management areas as well as extensive interaction with the club’s baseball and business operations. Pothier has nearly 25 years of legal experience that includes an extensive background in professional baseball. She was executive vice president and general counsel for the San Diego Padres from 2002-2010.For the last six years, she has been a partner with Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP in San Diego. Prior to joining the Padres, she worked in private practice in New Jersey and California for more than 10 years.

Real Estate

Fort Worth Housing Solutions and its wholly owned subsidiary, QuadCo Management Solutions Inc., named John Ursino as the director of property management for FWHS. His primary function will be to serve as the president of QuadCo. Ursino is a certified real property administrator through Building Owners and Managers Association and brings more than 22 years of experience to his new position. He is also a six-year decorated veteran of the U.S. Army.

Send Newsmakers to Betty Dillard at