CAST Tech High School's Advisory Committee Credit: Courtesy / CAST Tech

One of the distinctive features of San Antonio ISD‘s CAST Tech campus is its industry-led focus. To maximize the benefits of this alignment, the school has announced its first industry advisory committee. The 12-member committee will provide guidance for the school as it develops cutting-edge curriculum, offers real-world projects for students to complete, provides mentorship, internship and job shadowing opportunities, and offers job interviews upon graduation.

“They are very interested in us meeting the needs of our students,” CAST Tech Principal Kelly Flieger said. 

The committee members represent the diverse faces of the tech industry, from obvious candidates such as Jungle Disk, to companies that demonstrate the wide range of tech needs, such as Whataburger.

The committee members are:

Tri-Chair: Gavin Gallagher, Chief Information Officer, H-E-B

Tri-Chair: Deborah Carter, Sr. Manager, Global Talent Development, Rackspace

Tri-Chair: Matthew Reedy, Executive Director, Innovation, USAA

Bill Phillips, Senior Vice President / Chief Information Officer, University Health System

Bret Piatt, CEO, Jungle Disk

David Heard, CEO of Tech Bloc & Chief Marketing Officer for SecureLogix

Dick Evans, Former Chairman & CEO, Frost Bank

Doug Mathes, Assistant Vice President for Technology Development, AT&T

Earl Eiland, Senior Engineer, root9B

Kate Rogers, Executive Vice President, Holdsworth Center

Kim Harle, Community Relations, Whataburger

Lorenzo Gomez, Founder, Geekdom

The technology-focused high school on the Fox Tech campus will be the first in a series of schools that align with local industries. The initiative was announced as a partnership between H-E-B, local school districts, and industry sectors. CAST Tech was made possible by a lead gift from Charles Butt of $2.6 million and an additional $1 million from H-E-B. Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation put up a $600,000 challenge grant, spurring a $100,000 commitment from Frost Bank and a $50,000 gift from AT&T.

Such an advisory board is key to the school’s charter, Flieger said, which promises real world alignment. CAST Tech leaders already sought industry input when they began selecting hardware and software ahead of the school’s opening for the 2017-18 year. USAA recently helped the school select virtual desktop software to ensure that students are learning on the most relevant equipment available.

“They’ve helped us think about the aspects that are important to business and industry,” Flieger said. 

Because the committee is not a governance committee, it will not be subject to open meetings rules, and will not replace the SAISD school board in any way. Its role, Flieger said, is simply to ensure that CAST Tech is supplied with current information regarding innovation and application in real world scenarios.

CAST Tech is accepting applications for incoming 9th graders through March 10. A middle school girls and families information session will take place on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Girls Inc headquarters at 1209 S. St. Mary’s St.

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Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog,, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.