Carlos Villagrana

Managing Director 

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Carlos Villagrana is the Managing Director for Teaching Excellence, an alternative certification program serving five school systems in Houston. He has dedicated his career to working in underserved communities. He has worked in multiple roles at Teaching Excellence, including Instructional Coach, Professional Learning Manager and Manager of Certification and Partnerships.


Carlos firmly believes that the future of our country is dependent on our ability to serve and partner with marginalized communities to improve their educational opportunities and choices. He has had the privilege of teaching in both elementary Spanish bilingual across multiple grade levels, as well as secondary recommitment school settings.

Leading the Teaching Excellence Team has provided Carlos the distinct opportunity to experience and analyze how various talent initiatives and systems contribute to development and retention of teachers across multiple school systems. He is passionate about determining how various aspects of recruitment, selection, onboarding, and training contribute to educational outcomes for students. He is also particularly interested in analyzing how training and development of instructional leaders and teacher educators can contribute to the acceleration and retention of effective teachers. 


Before his time at YES Prep and Teaching Excellence he served as Principal for a state reconstituted charter school, where he would later be named Director-Superintendent. The school went onto expand into middle school grade levels to offer additional school choice to Houston's Gulfton community. The Amigos por Vida turn-around story was documented by the U.S. Department of Education in its Innovation in Education report.  In each of his roles, he has been able to secure significant amounts of grant dollars to expand the programming within each institution he has worked. 


Carlos enjoys spending time with his wife, also an educator, and his children (known as the Texaricans). Specifically, he enjoys discovering hidden gems across Houston on his bike.