Linda Cantu, Ph.D., served as an IDRA senior education associate through 2022 and is now an IDRA consultant. Dr. Cantu leads IDRA’s Youth Leadership Now project and the Valued Youth Partnership program, a groundbreaking dropout prevention and student leadership program. Her 14 years of leading the program brought international recognition and awards as it keeps 98% of its tutors in school impacting thousands of children, families and educators. She coordinates the training, technical assistance activities, materials development and evaluation for each school that implements this innovative cross-age tutoring program that successfully stems dropout rates and builds social-emotional skills at the secondary school level.
She earned her doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M College Station. Her master’s degree is in public administration from Trinity University, and her bachelor’s degree is in education from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Dr. Cantu also managed and administered IDRA’s three Transitions to Teaching projects (Transitions, T-TExAS, MASS), funded by the U.S. Department of Education to recruit and prepare elementary school teachers. Similarly, she served as project administrator for Alianza, an IDRA model teacher preparation and leadership development initiative, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, that developed a comprehensive, binational and interdisciplinary program for teacher preparation and leadership development.
Dr. Cantu directed IDRA’s TECNO (Technology-Enhanced Community Neighborhood Organizations) project, funded through the U.S. Department of Education and later by TG Public Benefit Program and JP Morgan Chase. TECNO established computer centers in a high-poverty, high minority area of San Antonio to provide community-based college access and computer support to high school students and their families.
Dr. Cantu taught fourth grade for six years at Johnson Elementary and Ben Franklin Elementary in the San Antonio Independent School District. In 1988, she served as the assistant director of training for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) at their national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. She provided training and technical assistance to the HACU staff and four local school districts.
Dr. Cantu directed the PreCollege Programs, which included Upward Bound and Talent Search, for Communities in Schools (CIS). This program works with more than 500 middle and high school students in the south San Antonio and Southwest school districts. These students represent the many who are college material, but due to their at-risk status are rarely given opportunities to fulfill their potential. Through the PreCollege Program, Dr. Cantu helped students get a taste of university life and learn about potential support through tours, presentations and general information dissemination.
Dr. Cantu was a participant in Leadership San Antonio in 1989. She was a member of the Texas Association of Student Support Services (TASSSP) and the Southwest Association of Students Support Services (SWASAP) for three years. She has also served on the executive committee of TASSSP.
- Raising Expectations – Building College Intention into Dropout Prevention, December 22, 2015
- The “Win-Win” of Quality Accelerated Teacher Certification, September 22, 2015
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Celebrates 30 Years of Keeping Students in School, May 09, 2014
- The Impact of the Coca-Cola Valued Program on Students and Schools in the United States and Brazil, October 18, 2013
- New Teachers Learning and Leading through IDRA’s Transition to Teaching Programs, April 19, 2013
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Alumni Share their Stories, May 09, 2011
- Building Teaching Quality from the Start – New Skills for New Teachers, December 14, 2010
- Seeking Opportunities to Build Student Leadership – Students Considered At-Risk of Dropping Out Demonstrate their Leadership Skills, April 03, 2008
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutors- Their Stories, October 02, 2007
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – Strengthening Student Connections with School, October 29, 2006
- IDRA’s Transitions Project – Promoting Excellence in Teaching through a Highly Qualified Teaching Force, April 06, 2006
- Educational Technology – An International Conversation, September 30, 2002
- Binational Collaboration Prepares New Teachers, January 30, 2002
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Addressing the Digital Divide, May 01, 2001
- Project Alianza: Tapping Community Resources for Bilingual Teachers, February 01, 1999
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Students Meet Peers Via Video Conference, August 30, 1998
- Traditional Methods of Identifying Gifted Students Overlooks Many, June 30, 1998
- Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program: “Because All Children Are Valuable”, October 01, 1997
- Affirmative Action: Not a Thing of the Past, February 20, 1996
- The Power of Student Voices in Dropout Prevention – Podcast Episode 125, June 26, 2013
- Learning While Teaching (A Conversation with New Teachers) – Podcast Episode 120, March 07, 2013
- Expressions of Effective Parent and Community Engagement – Podcast Episode 100, January 24, 2012
- Valuing Students and Children – Podcast Episode 84, February 25, 2011
- Student Voices on Being Valued – Podcast Episode 54, May 14, 2009
- Coaching and Mentoring New Teachers – Podcast Episode 24, November 09, 2007
- Learnings from the Valued Youth Program – Podcast Episode 15, June 28, 2007