Luzelma G. Canales, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Resource Development & Administration

As an Achieving the Dream Data Coach, Luzelma Canales consults two community colleges in Illinois and one in California, with an interest in improving their student retention and graduation rates, particularly for low-income students and students of color.  Dr. Luzelma G. Canales joined the Lone Star College System in 2012 as the Executive Director for Resource Development & Administration. In this role, Dr. Canales provides leadership in overseeing the system efforts in identifying, developing, and administering funds from external agencies to support the system’s student success and completion agenda. Dr. Canales facilitates the development of innovative strategies to increase student success and completion. In this capacity, she works closely with the leadership of six colleges and the system office to ensure alignment with system-wide goals. She serves on the system-wide Completion Council and Workforce Council both focused on increasing student outcomes with a laser focus on completion. Dr. Canales also provides oversight over the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure compliance with research guidelines.

Prior to joining the Lone Star College System, Dr. Canales served as the Interim Associate Dean of Community Engagement & Workforce Development at South Texas College. In addition to joining Achieving the Dream, she was also invited by the University of Texas at Austin to serve as a consultant for the Student Success by the Numbers initiative focused on assisting Texas colleges in building a culture of evidence. Dr. Canales’ experience includes establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships and partnerships with community organizations, institutions of higher education, public school districts, and other private/public organizations and agencies. She provided leadership over continuing, professional, and workforce education programs including building accelerated career pathways for adults with low literacy skills by establishing policies and procedures to articulate noncredit and credit courses. Dr. Canales worked with five area School Districts to establish the first six early college high schools at South Texas College. She also worked with McAllen and Mission Independent School Districts to build a dropout recovery program in partnership with the national Gateway to College program. Her experience includes building sophisticated models to leverage existing funding streams to build sustainability for innovative, effective programs and services. She served as the college liaison on national initiatives for improving Latino student success and completion including Achieving the Dream and Excelencia in Education Starting Point & the Accelerating Latino Student Success (ALASS) at Texas Border Institutions. She served on the Blue Ribbon Panel for the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education and the AACC Voluntary Framework of Accountability initiative. Dr. Canales was appointed to McAllen Independent School District’s Superintendent’s Parent Advisory and Technology Leadership Cadre councils. She was a founding board member for the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas, a non-profit focused on cultivating long-term and structural changes in the Rio Grande Valley to increase Latino voter turnout. She was also the founding President of the McAllen High School AVID Booster Club, which was the first academic booster club in the district’s history.

Dr. Canales holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pan American University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas – Pan American, and Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University – College Station.

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