The Gonzalez Family
Adan Gonzalez is the second of four sons born to Raul and Zenaida A Gonzalez, immigrants from León, Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1996, his family was living in South Oak Cliff, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Dallas. AVANCE-Dallas had only recently opened when recruiters knocked on the Gonzalez family’s door, and Adan’s mother registered for the first PCEP cohort.
Raul and Zenaida influenced and shaped Adan’s outlook on life early on through their hard work and sacrifice. Adan drew inspiration from his father’s work ethic, remembering how his father used to work double shifts as a custodian to keep his family fed. He also found strength in the family and educational values his mother instilled in him and his brothers as a result of PCEP. Despite both his parents working, they made time to nurture their children’s development and be actively involved in their education and growth. In high school, several of Adan’s friends dropped out, joined gangs, or became parents, but he remained focused and graduated as salutatorian and senior class president with numerous athletic and extracurricular awards, accolades, and scholarships.
The first of his family to attend a four-year college, Adan pursued a Bachelor’s in Government with a minor in Education, Inquiry, and Justice at Georgetown University. While there, he came to believe that education is freedom, which led him to found Puede Network, a nonprofit organization that provides youth empowerment programming and services to underserved minority students and their families. In 2015, after receiving an award through the Coors Light Líderes Program, Adan returned to AVANCE-Dallas to collaborate on developing a leadership project. After graduating from Georgetown, he continued his education, earning Master’s degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia University.
Since returning to Dallas, Adan has served as a teacher and Director of School & Family Partnerships in the same school and district where he grew up, and in 2022, he was named a White House Fellow at the Department of Education. He also still heads Puede Network, which continues to grow under his leadership. Understanding education’s lasting and generational impact, Adan continues to thrive and inspire and uplift his community.