Rocque Perez

After an extensive year-long search, Rocque Perez has been selected as the new executive director of the Metropolitan Education Commission, assuming this position on Mar. 4 and bringing with him experience from Arizona’s largest universities.

As executive director, Perez will lead the MEC’s mission, which includes advocating for accessible and quality education, inspiring and empowering engaged citizens to advocate for their community’s educational welfare, and administering programs to enable post-secondary attainment, completion, and career readiness for a dynamic, highly skilled workforce.

In 1990, a group of elected officials within the City of Tucson and Pima County founded the MEC through a joint resolution inspired by the advocacy of June Webb-Vignery with assistance from Raul Grijalva, then county supervisor and now U.S. representative for Arizona’s 7th congressional district, and Thomas Volgy, then mayor for the city of Tucson and now professor of political science at the University of Arizona. 

MEC was established to represent the interests of the community and its citizens in the education of children, youth, and adults. It was the first in the U.S. to bring together a cross-section of 34 members representing families, public and private schools, businesses, government, social services, and cultural communities, with the purpose of collaborating to address all areas affecting the educational welfare of Tucson and Pima County citizens.

Perez’s journey with the MEC began as a participant in its youth programs under Webb-Vignery’s leadership, which later led him to pursue a higher education as a first-generation learner at UArizona. During that time, he served as a student body representative as a senator within the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. 

However, through his career he has supported senior leaders across the state’s public higher education system, developing and implementing engagement strategies in support of enrollment, student success, professional development of students and staff, and the visibility of research impacts.

Since 2022, Perez has served as manager for outreach and communications within theOffice of the University Provost at Arizona State University. In this capacity, he played a pivotal role in positioning the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence and its designation as a Minority Serving Institution. Previously, at the University of Arizona, he worked as a strategist under the guidance of the then-senior VP for research and innovation, maximizing the visibility of the university’s achievements in space exploration, resource resiliency, and inclusion in research. Throughout his tenure 

​Perez has focused on advancing historically underserved communities to ensure their access to, success in, and benefits from academia. He intends to continue this focus in supporting institutions across the region.

“I’m both honored and humbled to build upon the legacy of those who have stewarded this organization before me,” said Perez. “It was their leadership and the developmental and college-going offerings of the organization that led to my interest in the wellbeing of Southern Arizona, pursuing higher education as a first-generation learner, and as a professional empowering others to explore opportunities of meaning to them and their community. My journey comes full circle and I come aboard with the intention of bringing the organization more closely into the region’s economic development strategy, to build upon efforts that support learners of all backgrounds in actualizing their potential.”

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