Brig. Gen. Richard Noriega (Houston, Texas) is President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANCE, a national two-generation nonprofit dedicated to parental involvement and child development. Under his leadership, AVANCE has established innovative partnerships and community ventures including rapid expansion to states across the nation and for the first time, engaging in cross-cultural research on the adaptability of the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program to different ethnic groups. In 2015, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics selected AVANCE as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education and AVANCE’s Commitment to Action was announced by President Barack Obama as part of the initiative’s Year of Action.
Noriega has spoken to the National Conference of State Legislatures and at the national summit on Hispanic early learning held by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and its President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. He has been featured on NBC’s Education Nation and was selected for investment as a social entrepreneur by New Profit Inc. As part of the New Profit investment, AVANCE is currently participating in an Early Childhood Cohort in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation. Hispanic Business Magazine named Noriega one of the ‘Top 100 Influential Hispanics in the United States’ and recognized AVANCE to their ‘Top 25 Nonprofits’ list for eight consecutive years.
Before joining AVANCE, Noriega served five consecutive terms at the Texas House of Representatives where he introduced and authored the Texas Dream Act. The bill made Texas the first state to offer in-state tuition rates and financial assistance for immigrant children and started a national movement; today, 17 states have similar laws, providing access to higher education to thousands. Noriega’s involvement in the public sector has gone beyond the halls of the Texas Legislature. Since 1980, he has served in the National Guard and Army Reserves. Noriega is currently the assistant division commander-support for the 36th Infantry Division. Previously, he was stationed in Afghanistan where he commanded the Kabul Military Training Center for Afghan forces during Operation Enduring Freedom. Afterward, he was tapped by Houston Mayor Bill White as Incident Commander of the city’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. His leadership was crucial in transforming the George R. Brown Convention Center into a virtual city that cared for nearly 30,000 evacuees and was dismantled within a month.
Noriega is a Houston native with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, holds a certificate in Advanced International Affairs from the Bush School of Government at Texas A & M University, and completed the U.S. Army War College Fellowship at the University of Texas. He serves on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS Ready to Learn National Advisory Board, Temple University’s Responsible Fatherhood Network Steering Committee, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Public Policy Advisory Board and the Texas A&M University- San Antonio College of Education and Human Development Advisory Board. He was awarded the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Award from the National Football League and was honored by the University of Houston with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. In 2016, he will be inducted into the inaugural class of the U.S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame.
(Attended ASCEND at the Aspen Institute)