Speaker Biographies

Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, Dean of Liberal Arts, Austin Community College

Dr. Echevarria-Cruz is currently the Dean of Liberal Arts for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Austin Community College. Since 2009, he served as a professor of Sociology at ACC and before that he was an adjunct faculty member hired in 2005.  While at ACC he has held positions as Assistant Dean for Social & Behavioral Sciences, Department Chair of Sociology and Social Work, and President of the Faculty Senate.  Dr. EchevarriaCruz also spent a year in Romania as a Fulbright scholar in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. EchevarriaCruz is originally from Brownsville, Texas.  He graduated with a PhD in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to ACC, he held faculty positions in Sociology at The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College.  He also served as a full-time faculty member at Concordia University Texas in the College of Business and Communications.  Previous professional positions include roles at UT-Austin in Human Resources (research), undergraduate academic advising, and service as a community college education researcher at CCSSE (Community College Survey of Student Engagement).  Dr. EchevarriaCruz was also employed in the private sector as a survey statistician and statistical consultant.

Dr. Echevarria-Cruz is married and is the father of five sons. He is excited that this summer, his oldest son will graduate from ACC with an Associate of Arts in General Studies while also graduating from high school!

Gigi Edwards Bryant, Vice Chair, Austin Community College

Gigi Edwards Bryant was elected to the Austin Community College District Board of Trustees in December 16, 2014. She was elected as Vice Chair of the Board in 2017. Bryant is a sixth generation Austinite. She is a public speaker, community volunteer and business owner. She speaks with passion, vision, and clarity about her life’s journey and the importance of education, community and family. She believes that through faith, hope, and forgiveness, we can learn to be inspired when an ordinary opportunity thrusts us into extraordinary events and experiences.

Bryant serves her community through organizations that address issues surrounding family, education, youth in the foster system, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Some of her immediate past public service includes, Chair, Texas Department of Child Protective Services, Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council, Downtown Rotary Club of Austin, and Chairman, Texas School Safety Center and Saint Edward’s University New College Advisory Board.

Bryant also has served as a member of the American Association of University Women and, the Executive Women in Golf Association. She is a -Texas Exes – Life member. Her community honors include: Distinguished Austinite, Outstanding Texan Award, CASA-Inspiring Leader and Fierce Advocate for Children, Campfire Promise, Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction, Ma Ferguson – Award of Excellence Finalist, Dedicated Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding Citizen for Leadership.

Bryant started GMSA Management Services, an Austin based business development consulting firm in 1993 after a 20-year career in information systems within the State of Texas. The firm, recognized as one of Texas’ outstanding small businesses, focuses on community outreach/involvement, employee engagement and business development.

Bryant earned an undergraduate degree in business and computer science from St. Edward’s University in Austin, and an MBA in Global Leadership from the University of Texas at Dallas. She started her education at Austin Community College in 1977 and is a 1992-1993 Graduate of Leadership Austin.


Conference Registration Link Below:

AustinEd Summit 2018

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