Michelle Castillo

Michelle Castillo, Ed.M.

Deputy Director of Advocacy

Michelle Castillo, Ed.M., is IDRA’s Deputy Director of Advocacy. Before joining the IDRA team, she was the Chief of Staff for Texas State Rep. James Talarico where she built and managed a team whose legislative victories included capping insulin copays and historic early childhood legislation including supporting the creation of the first Early Childhood Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives. Under Michelle’s leadership, Rep. Talarico’s team put the first limits on pre-K class sizes in Texas history, passed legislation to give all incarcerated minors a full high school education, fought classroom censorship bills (HB 3979/SB 3), introduced ambitious climate justice legislation, and freed millions of state dollars for social-emotional learning programs in Texas schools.

Ms. Castillo is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University. She lives in Austin where you can find her hiking the Greenbelt with her daughter Eleanor and husband Emmanuel.

At IDRA, Ms. Castillo assists in implementing IDRA’s federal, regional and state policy agendas and advocacy strategies. She collaborates with other Texas advocacy organizations to execute state-level advocacy campaigns and develops campaign strategies for, convenes and manages the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition (TLEEC). Ms. Castillo leads strategies to engage community members and students in state and local advocacy on education policy issues, including building capacity for student engagement and participation in policy advocacy to promote culturally-sustaining schools across Texas and combat classroom censorship policies. She provides training guidance and assistance to educators, students and families to support their engagement in education policy and advocacy.

Prior to her time at the Texas Capitol, Ms. Castillo worked with the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas where she organized for youth civic engagement and led the creation of the first Texas Civic Education Roundtable, along with ending family detention and child separation. She has worked in the White House, Texas Senate, and on statewide political campaigns for public education, criminal justice reform, voting rights, immigrant justice, and health care.

Michelle also previously served as the southern policy director at Young Invincibles, a nonprofit advocacy group for Millennials, where she was responsible for developing the regional office’s state legislative and policy advocacy strategy to improve higher education, healthcare, and economic opportunity for young Texans. She was also a co-writer for the youth workforce report, Learning to Work in Texas, which provided local and state policy recommendations to improve economic security for young people.