HEB's Charles Butt Invests $100M in Texas Education

San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Co. CEO Charles Butt has agreed to invest $100 million to create a center for the training and development of school district leaders in the Lone Star State, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The Holdsworth Center, to be located in Austin, will “support current leaders” while also developing superintendents and principals for the future of the 1,200 traditional public school districts statewide, the newspaper said. It also will offer “the opportunity for sustainable improvement.”

The center's governing board, chaired by former Smith College and Brown University president Ruth Simmons, is made up of 17 experts across various fields, including university-level and other educators, a former secretary of defense and CIA director, a former congressman and secretary of the Army, a retired Texas Surpreme Court justice, and current and former corporation chiefs, the American-Statesman reported. Training will focus on school leaders “identifying and tackling barriers to leadership development within their district,” broken into three programs: one for sitting superintendents and their key cabinet members, another for principals and their assistant principals and lead teachers, and the last for district support staff.

Butt has been a longtime advocate of education and public schools, the newspaper stated. Through his company's Excellence in Education Awards, he has donated thousands of dollars in prizes to outstanding teachers, principals and school districts. One of his more recent initiatives was providing startup funds to create a network of industry-led, career-themed high schools known as the Centers for Applied Science and Technology. He named the new Holdsworth center in honor of his mother, Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt.

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