Chair, AVANCE National Board of Directors
Dr. Luzelma Canales is the Chief of Staff at the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity (BranchED). Her previous roles at BranchED include Vice President for Community Engagement and Partnerships and Associate Vice President of Leadership Learning and Activation. Prior to BranchED, she served as the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Success for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and the founding executive director for RGV FOCUS. She also provided leadership for a large-scale collective impact initiative to transform college readiness, access, and success across the Rio Grande Valley. She served as an administrator for over 25 years, leading numerous initiatives, including Achieving the Dream, Breaking Through, and several with Excelencia in Education. Dr. Canales serves on local, state, and national boards related to closing equity gaps in voter turnout and educational attainment. She was born and raised along the Texas-Mexico border in deep South Texas. She and her family migrated to Washington and Oregon to work in the fields during the 1960s and 1970s. Her lived experience shaped her commitment to work with organizations to identify and eliminate barriers faced by Latino students. Dr. Canales earned a bachelor’s in accounting from Pan American University, MBA from the University of Texas–Pan American, and a Ph.D. in human resource development from Texas A&M University.