Leadership and Staff


David Leebron

Incoming President and CEO

David Leebron has served as President and CEO of Texas 2036 since 2024, after serving 18 years as president of Rice University in Houston where he is now President Emeritus and remains on the faculty as University Professor. Under Leebron’s guidance, Rice underwent a period of growth and transformation extending its research endeavors and international presence, deepening its relationship with its home city of Houston, and earning greater visibility locally, nationally and internationally while significantly growing enrollment and expanding the number of speciality centers and programs.

A.J. Rodriguez

Executive Vice President

Based on his experience bringing business and civic leaders together to address community challenges, A.J. Rodriguez joined Texas 2036 in September 2020 after working as Vice President, External Affairs at Zachry Group, a privately held business engaged primarily in the engineering, construction, and maintenance of large industrial facilities. He began at Zachry in 2011 and oversaw the organization’s community investment and philanthropic efforts, media relations, and government affairs.


Our Legacy Leaders


Margaret Spellings

President and CEO

Margaret Spellings served Texas 2036 from 2017-2023 after serving as president of the 17-institution University of North Carolina System. Spellings’ extensive leadership experience in state and federal government includes service as U.S. Secretary of Education, White House Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, Senior Policy Advisor to then-Governor George W. Bush, and President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Through her work as legislative director and chief committee clerk for the Texas House of Representatives, Spellings helped lead bipartisan efforts making her a well-respected leader across the state.