HISD names new Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer, Chief Development Officer

Ashlea Turner

The Houston Independent School District announced two leadership promotions, naming Ashlea Turner as Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer and Ann Best Scott as Chief Development Officer.

Turner, who previously served as the district’s Government Relations Director, will lead HISD’s local, state, and federal policy efforts and implement strategies that advance the district’s legislative goals and funding needs. She has strong relationships with elected officials and school leaders statewide. Turner will continue to work with a collection of statewide partners and school districts to fight harmful legislation and push for school finance reform.

“I am encouraged to have Ashlea’s expertise in governmental relations as it pertains to public education,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “She has an indispensable knowledge of HISD’s legislative pursuits in school finance reform, and she always ensures that education is at the top of elected officials’ lists.”

Before joining HISD, Turner advocated for Houston’s business community at the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) and worked for several elected officials. She is a native Houstonian and a product of HISD schools. She is also an alumna of Stanford University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and she is a recipient of Houston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award.

Ann Best Scott

“I am grateful to the Superintendent for this amazing opportunity to serve our students in a greater way,” Turner said. “HISD’s legislative goals remain a top priority. I look forward to advising the leadership on the best strategy to achieve our goals at all levels of government.”

Scott, who currently leads the HISD Foundation and will continue in that role, has been an advocate of educational opportunity and equity for all students for nearly 21 years. Scott will broaden efforts to raise funds for the district to support strategic district initiatives and ensure that all children can have access to a quality education.

“I am excited to work with Ann to raise the district’s profile with community and business stakeholders and to develop supports for our students and schools,” Carranza said. “Ann has a passion for education and our children, and she will be an unrelenting force in providing opportunities for our students.”

Scott has also worked as Chief Human Resources Officer for HISD and was instrumental in improving the teacher evaluation process. Scott led the district’s teacher effectiveness efforts with the implementation of an improved teacher appraisal and development system that would hold teachers accountable for student achievement.

“This new role is an exciting opportunity to mobilize our community to make strategic investments in the students of HISD, investments that I’m confident will have a direct, positive impact on our students’ educational outcomes and their lives,” Scott said.

An alumna of Oakwood College, Scott joined Teach For America and taught at Ed White Elementary School. She subsequently joined the staff at Teach For America and led the organization to double its presence in Houston and improve teacher impacts on student outcomes.