As Regional Director, María I. Campos will oversee AVANCE programs and operations in the Rio Grande Valley.

AVANCE Inc. announced Friday that it has selected María I. Campos as Regional Director for the organization’s operations in the Rio Grande Valley. Assuming this new leadership role on November 3, Campos will oversee AVANCE Head Start and Early Head Start programs in the South Texas Counties of Hidalgo, Starr, and Zapata.

“We are delighted to have María join our team,” said Dr. Teresa Granillo, CEO of AVANCE. “With her experience in community building, program oversight, and commitment to empowering the Latinx population, she is a perfect fit to lead our efforts across the Rio Grande Valley.”

Campos joins AVANCE with 20 years’ experience in child advocacy and youth justice that has spanned public service at the state and federal levels as well as the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she served as a Regional Technician for the Census Bureau Field Division where she forged partnerships with community- and faith-based organizations, schools, media outlets, and grassroots entities in the Austin/San Antonio region to ensure maximum Census participation within historically undercounted Latino communities. Previously, Campos was the Director for several community-based youth programs aimed at mentoring and truancy prevention. In that role, she also led the development of “Mi Hermana’s Keeper,” a first of its kind toolkit with evidence-based programming recommendations that are centered on the voices of Latina youth and their families. Campos earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from St. Edward’s University in Austin, and a Master’s in Public Administration in Non-Profit Management and Public Policy from the City University of New York-Baruch School of Public Affairs where she was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

“My experience as a Latina growing up in East Austin has always guided me and fueled my passion for addressing the social and educational disparities of underserved populations,” Campos said. “I’m excited to put my passion and experience to work for the AVANCE families in the Rio Grande Valley. I look forward to working with the team to change the trajectory in the lives of local youth and families.”

With a new school year underway, Campos’s leadership comes at a crucial time, as programs across the Valley have pivoted to virtual service delivery amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Her community building experience will also play a vital role as AVANCE establishes partnerships across a very rural landscape, to ensure local children and families have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.