David R. Garcia is a native Arizonan and a product of Arizona’s public schools. Prior to attending college, he proudly served in the U.S. Army Infantry, where he excelled as an expert marksman, was awarded the Humanitarian Award and the Army Achievement Medal, and was trained as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Specialist.

David is now an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. David’s professional experience includes extensive work in state and national education policy development and implementation. Prior to his appointment at ASU, he served as the state Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for Standards and Accountability, Director of Research and Policy for the Arizona Department of Education, research analyst for the Arizona State Senate Education Committee and as a peer consultant for the U.S. Department of Education.

Nationally Recognized Leader

David has contributed his leadership and research expertise to many state education organizations including the Arizona State Board of Education, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU and the Arizona Humanities Council. He is the director of the Arizona Education Policy Initiative and currently serves on the board of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise. He has been recognized by Phoenix magazine and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to public education. In 2011, he participated in the inaugural class of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy.

He has been recognized nationally for his expertise in education research and policy. In 2008, he was awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, one of the most prestigious academic awards in the country. In 2015 and 2016, he was named a RHSU Edu-Scholar, as one of the most influential public scholars in the country.

Scholar and Teacher

He is an author with several research articles, book chapters, national academic presentations and policy reports to his credit. He is a member of the editorial team for two of the highest ranked academic journals in education. He has also studied international academic standards, including a presentation at the University of Helsinki, Finland.


David received a Bachelor of Arts and Honors Diploma from Arizona State University, where he was recognized as the 1993 ASU Man of the Year. He also holds a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago in Education Policy, Research and Institutional Studies.

David teaches courses in research methods, data analysis and statistics. In spring 2013 he taught a seminar on the American Educational System to a cohort of Teach for America teachers.

David is married to Lori A. Higuera. Their family is bilingual and their two daughters attend a public school.