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Trinity University Launches School Design Network to Incubate and Grow Great Public Schools for San Antonio Region Students

May 16, 2019
Fellowship and incubator program opens with $5 million in support from the Walton Family Foundation

SAN ANTONIO, May 16, 2019 – Today, Trinity University announced the creation of the School Design Network, a fellowship and incubator program. The Network will enable more than 40 educators and entrepreneurs to launch innovative, high-quality, traditional district, autonomous district and charter schools in the San Antonio region over the next five years. The Network will launch with support from a $5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

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Carla Sierra

"At Trinity, we strive to prepare our students to become part of a leading force in education for San Antonio and beyond, with our program being recognized as one of the premier teacher preparation programs in the nation, known for long-standing partnerships with San Antonio schools" says Trinity University President, Danny Anderson. "Through this grant, Trinity will continue to help San Antonio educators make a greater impact in the lives of their students."

“We need to put the unique needs of every student first, and that means moving beyond a one-size-fits-all education system,” said Walton Family Foundation Board Member and Trinity alumna Alice Walton. “This program will allow educators and leaders to create the innovative, high-quality schools students need.”

"We are so excited to be partnering with the Walton Family Foundation on such an important initiative – providing resources to local educators and entrepreneurs so that they will be able to better meet the needs of our local K-12 students," said Linda Mora, Ph.D., interim executive director for the School Design Network in Trinity's Department of Education. "I believe this grant speaks volumes about Trinity's commitment to public education in our region."

Few local pathways exist to support educators interested in transitioning from teacher or principal to school founder. Recent opportunities to launch traditional district, autonomous district or charter schools reveals an unprecedented need for an incubation program that prepares leaders to meet the unique needs of San Antonio area students. The demand for high-quality schools in the region is great – more than 40,000 families submitted applications for just three San Antonio public charter school networks in 2017. There are already more applicants than slots available at CAST Tech, the autonomous district school that opened in 2018.

“This generous gift from the Walton Foundation is incredibly important to the students in the City of San Antonio,” said Jose Menendez, Texas Senator, San Antonio District 26. “A city is only as strong as its citizens, and with this boost to our educational system, we are looking at a winning combination in order to continue moving San Antonio into a bright and prosperous future for everyone.”

To open and lead schools in the San Antonio region, the Network will offer programming and supports in three phases. The fellowship will provide future leaders with rigorous school design training, personalized leadership development and coaching. A school launch “boot camp” will prepare Fellows for a strong school launch and take place during the summer. For the following two years, Fellows will engage with mentors, instructors and peers through the Networked Community of Practice.

“The Southwest Independent School District offers its full support for The Trinity School Design Network, the proposed new school incubator and fellowship project in San Antonio,” said Lloyd Verstuyft, Ed.D., superintendent of schools for the Southwest ISD. “I am confident that Southwest ISD's participation in the Trinity program will enable us to accelerate our incubation of new school models as we prepare the next generation of school leaders in our District.”

“The Northside Independent School District, along with the other districts in our community, will benefit greatly through this program and will be able to provide even more innovative, high-quality, diverse learning experiences for all students in an ever-changing world,” said Brian Woods, superintendent of schools for the Northside Independent School District. “At NISD we believe that each student deserves equal and equitable access to a quality education, and I believe that this grant will help ensure this for local students.”

The Network will launch with up to five participants later this summer. For more information, please contact Linda Mora at 210-999-7523 or

About Trinity University
Trinity University, San Antonio’s premier liberal arts and sciences university, is proud to mark its 150th anniversary of academic excellence in 2019. As one of the nation’s top undergraduate institutions, the University is known for its challenging and supportive academic environment, personalized attention from outstanding faculty, large school resources, post-graduate preparation, and vibrant campus life. Trinity encourages students to discover, grow, and become global citizens engaged with the community and the world. Trinity’s 2,480 undergraduate and graduate students come from 47 states and 63 countries. Students choose from 47 majors, 59 minors, and five graduate programs that integrate conceptual and experiential learning, emphasize undergraduate research, and develop strong leadership skills to accelerate what’s next. Discover more about Trinity University.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.