Cantu one of 3 new Trustees welcomed to HC Department of Education Board

(left) Harris County Superintendent James Colbert Jr., newcomer trustees Josh Flynn, Danyahel (Danny) Norris, Richard Cantu and HCDE Presiding Board President Eric Dick.
(left) Harris County Superintendent James Colbert Jr., newcomer trustees Josh Flynn, Danyahel (Danny) Norris, Richard Cantu and HCDE Presiding Board President Eric Dick.

Jan. 14, 2019 – Three Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees were sworn into office in January 2019 to represent Harris County students and community. The new faces who will help preside over HCDE matters are Richard Cantu, Position 3, At Large; Josh Flynn, Position 4, Precinct 3; and Danyahel (Danny) Norris, Position 6, Precinct 1.

Richard Cantu is the deputy executive director of the East Aldine Management District and has held a number of nonprofit and municipal leadership positions. The self-proclaimed community and education advocate sees himself as a representative of working families. He supports increasing opportunities for citizens to access early childhood education, after-school services for youth, workforce development initiatives and teacher professional development.

As the son of a Mexican immigrant who worked hard to achieve the American dream, Cantu says he knows the importance of education in transforming lives of working-class families.

“I am committed to improving access to existing critical services and developing partnerships to address community needs and challenges,” he said.

Josh Flynn is a licensed tax professional chartered through the IRS and specializes in nonprofit accounting. He formerly served as trustee for a university in Bethany, Oklahoma. His immediate goal in office is to make HCDE as transparent as possible. Long-term, he will promote efficiency, directing maximum benefits to Harris County students.

Flynn’s decision to enter public service occurs as the last of his three, publicly schooled children graduated in 2018. Choosing HCDE as a vehicle for public service seemed the logical progression for him to share his parenting skillset.

“Knowing (that) my first grandchild will be entering the school system, I want the best system in place for him and future generations of children,” he said.

Danyahel (Danny) Norris is law instructor of legal research and associate director of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Library at Texas Southern University. He is a practicing intellectual property attorney, principal partner of Norris & Norris Attorneys and Counselors at Law and is part president of the Houston Lawyers Association. He shares his leadership skills through various professional organizations, including the New Leaders Council, Houston chapter.

Norris’s immediate goal as trustee is to partner with local school districts and state legislators to help revise the school finance formula. Long-term, he values continuing HCDE partnerships with local districts and initiating innovative education practices in the county to eventually share statewide and nationally.

“I believe by strengthening the education in our county, we help strengthen the future of our county, and I’m looking forward to helping do so,” Norris said.

The incoming HCDE trustees join fellow board members at 1 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the monthly meeting at 6300 Irvington, according to Eric Dick, presiding board president. Prior to the meeting, HCDE employees join HCDE Superintendent James Colbert Jr. and the board for the School Board Recognition Month Appreciation Reception from 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

About Harris County Department of Education:

HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax of approximately $9 per homeowner. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. We operate four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated or recovering youth who require a low, student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at risk. We are governed by an elected board of seven trustees and have 1,076 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at