Before the next school year begins, Trinity University’s Shari Albright will leave the university and her position as education department chair to lead the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve Texas public education.

Albright built her education career in San Antonio, influencing the city’s schools and its educators. In the past three decades, she served as a teacher and administrator in the East Central Independent School District, principal of the International School of the Americas, North East ISD’s director of special projects, and since 2010, as Trinity’s education department chair.

Starting Aug. 1, Albright will commute to Austin for work at the foundation, where she will shape programs to improve school and teacher quality, create greater family engagement, and boost student outcomes.

“San Antonio will always be home and have a special place in my heart,” she said. “Now, I get to learn about a lot of other parts of Texas and the schools around [the state].”

Raise Your Hand Texas has two branches: advocacy and foundation. Albright will lead the 501(c)(3) arm as foundation president following a recent restructuring of the organization’s leadership.

Albright said she is eager to work on programs such as Raising Texas Teachers, an initiative to build a stronger pool of educators entering the teaching profession. Transitioning out of a higher education role that focuses on teacher preparation, Albright said this program is “near to her heart.”

The longtime San Antonio educator said she looks forward to collaborating with the advocacy arm to address issues that affect Texas public education. The No. 1 issue: a “broken and outdated school finance system,” Albright said.

A new legislative session opens in Austin in January 2019, and Albright said Raise Your Hand Texas will work to advocate for and assist with the shaping of strong education policy. This is what Charles Butt, chairman and CEO of H-E-B and founder of Raise Your Hand Texas, will look for with Albright in her new role.

“In the current political climate, Texas public schools and the 5.3 million children they serve need the best and brightest stars to serve as friends and passionate advocates,” Butt said in a prepared statement. “Shari is one of those shining stars.”

In 2017, Butt founded the Holdsworth Center, where Albright serves as a board member. The Holdsworth Center is an Austin-based education institute that develops school leaders and mentors school districts throughout the state. Albright helped design the curriculum for the institute’s member districts. She will continue to serve on the board.

Trinity officials lamented the loss of Albright from their university’s ranks. Spokeswoman Susie Gonzalez said Albright’s impact reaches far beyond Trinity and into the whole community.

As she transitions into her new role under the employ of Raise Your Hand Texas, Albright said she hopes to remain active at Trinity as an alumna.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.