IDEA Public Schools announces hiring of president, chief schools officer

RIO GRANDE VALLEY IDEA Public Schools is pleased to announce two appointments to their Executive Team that will oversee core functions of IDEA Public Schools. IDEA’s Board of Directors has named Cody Grindle, president, and Ernesto Cantu, chief schools officer. The appointments come after a national search that attracted a wealth of talent and experience from internal and external candidates.

Grindle’s nearly 14-year tenure with IDEA began in the classroom as an English teacher at IDEA Mission and evolved into technology roles on IDEA’s Information Services Team. Two years ago, he became IDEA’s first Chief Information Officer, leading the transformational work to turn data into information and empower all areas of IDEA with the tools to create value for students and communities. Grindle’s keen insights and creative solutions have influenced nearly every aspect of IDEA’s operations, from students’ daily attendance to family recruitment and their COVID-19 pandemic response.

As President, Grindle will oversee chiefs and teams supporting IDEA’s operations, including Information Technology, Advancement, Human Assets, and Operations. He will continue to be based in Austin.

Ernesto Cantu

Cantu will oversee all IDEA regions and campuses in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Ohio, as well as the organization’s Student Support Services and Talent Development teams. He has been part of the team and family for nearly 20 years — almost as long as IDEA has been around. First as a part-time tutor, then as a classroom teacher, Cantu has served as Director of New Site Development, Director of Operations/Assistant Principal of Operations, Principal at IDEA College Prep Pharr (which is in the same RGV colonia, Las Milpas, where he was raised), a Senior Vice President of Schools, Executive Director of IDEA El Paso, and as Area Superintendent since 2021. He will be based in the Rio Grande Valley.

“As we complete another successful school year, I’m excited to turn our efforts toward preparations for next school year and the exciting and bright future at IDEA,” Jeff Cottrill, superintendent of IDEA Public Schools, said in a news release. “Each are highly regarded senior leaders well-known throughout our Team & Family. They operate with the utmost integrity and have historically led exemplary teams. I am fortunate to work with both inspiring leaders and the entire team to ensure IDEA delivers on its promise of high expectations resulting in student achievement and success in college and beyond.”

Grindle and Cantu will assume their respective roles effective July 1.