James J. Ponce, Ed. D


A career urban educator, Dr. James Ponce leads Texans Can Academies’ statewide efforts to propel disenfranchised students toward graduation and economic independence.

With Texans Can since the Spring of 2016, Ponce brings 28 years’ experience as a teacher, principal, deputy chief of staff, and superintendent. Before coming to Texans Can, Ponce led the McAllen school district to several accolades and awards and was himself honored as a Top Five State Finalist in the 2013 Texas Association of Superintendents’ State of Texas Superintendent of the Year award and most notably the 2012 Texas Outstanding School Board by the Texas Associations of School Administrators. Currently, Ponce serves on the Texas Education Agency’s Alternative Education Accountability Taskforce.

At Texans Can, Ponce has guided the school toward innovation and excellence, and is proud of Texans Can’s recognition as D CEO’s 2019 Organization of the Year at its annual Nonprofit and Citizenship Awards.

For Ponce, Texans Can is a place where students find hope. Driven by a passion to reignite that hope, Ponce seeks to influence his staff and community to see how, through the mission of Texans Can, people change lives, change communities, and ultimately change the State of Texas.

Ponce’s past community involvement includes serving in numerous roles with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, RGV Linking Economic and Academic Development Board of Directors, United Way of South Texas Board of Directors, McAllen Education Foundation Board of Directors and RGV Focus-Collective Impact Leadership Team.

A three-time graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Ponce earned a Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance and Management in December 1990, a Master’s in Educational Administration in December 1998, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration through the prestigious Cooperative Superintendency Program in May 2009.

Dr. Ponce currently serves as Scoutmaster for Troop 905, where he has served since 2009, is member of the Boy Scouts of America Circle 10 Executive Board, and volunteers as an assistant coach to the Grapevine Colleyville Target Team. He and his wife, Katherine, have three sons: Julian, Mathew and Gabriel.