Sara Martinez Tucker

CEO of the National Math + Science

Sara Martinez Tucker is the CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative. NMSI’s mission is to improve student performance in the critical subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Its programs place highly-qualified teachers in classrooms, introduce students to rigorous academic content and increase student STEM engagement in the United States. She serves on the Boards of Directors of American Electric Power, Sprint, and Xerox. Tucker also serves on the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees.

She most recently served as the under secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. She was nominated to that post, the nation’s top higher education official, by President George W. Bush on September 5, 2006, and confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 2006. As under secretary, she oversaw all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid.

Tucker’s personal accomplishments included the development and implementation of two signature programs to increase access to college: a joint initiative with the U.S. Treasury Department to make nearly $70 billion in 2008-09 federal student loans available during the nation’s financial crisis, an effort described by the Wall Street Journal as “one bright spot in a season of crises and bailouts,” and an innovative new website,, which helps students and families prepare for college. received Computerworld’s Laureate Medal for exceptional use of technology to better society.

In addition to the successful oversight of over $32 billion in disbursed appropriations and almost 5,600 discretionary awards, Tucker provided expert testimony before Congressional committees and special hearings, led policy discussions within the Administration and with trade associations, and led or represented the United States in international delegations.

Prior to joining the Department, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. In her time at the helm of HSF, Tucker raised $280 million for scholarships, growing annual scholarships from $3 million to over $25 million, and to launch community outreach programs to raise college expectations in Latino families and communities.

Prior to joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company’s executive level. In her last assignment at the company, she served as a regional vice president for AT&T’s Global Business Communications Systems, where she led a $400 million division to its highest profit levels. She also served as vice president for Consumer Operations, a $370 million operation with 6,500 employees serving AT&T’s 80 million consumers. Under her leadership, this group contributed to the division’s receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award.

Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for two years as a reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to the University of Texas to earn her master’s in business administration with high honors.

Among her many awards and honors, in 2005, Time magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States. Tucker has been named as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex and a Distinguished Alumna at The University of Texas at Austin and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College and the University of Maryland University College.

She and her husband, Greg, a management consultant, live in Dallas.