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DirectorDallas County Health and Human Services
“Like the majority of students entering college, I did not have any idea what I wanted to major in, so I took the basic courses to earn my degree at El Centro. I was interested in El Centro because the convenient downtown location allowed me to work and pay may way through college. Also, DCCCD’s tuition was affordable.
“The best part of the DCCCD experience was the interaction with the professors, who showed a genuine interest in their students. I credit the El Centro professors with guiding me toward continued education at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“My DCCCD education helped me in my career by instilling in me that education is a continuing journey in life. Since I was a first-generation college student, it was El Centro College that inspired and prepared me to obtain my bachelor’s degree from UTA and master’s degree from Amber University.
“The most important thing I learned in my DCCCD education was the importance of using your education to benefit more than yourself through service to the community.
“My current job duties as the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services include running the day-to-day operations for more than 15 programs, supervising 350 employees and overseeing an $80 million budget. I have also been an adjunct professor at Eastfield College for more than 15 years.”
Zachary Thompson earned an associate degree from El Centro College before transferring to UTA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, followed by a master’s degree from Amber University. He has more than 20 years of experience in managing state and federal grants and previously served as the project director for the West Dallas Community Center for 13 years and as deputy director for the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services for eight years.
Under Thompson’s direction, Dallas County Health and Human Services was recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for its work in providing Section 8 homeownership opportunities for low-income families. His department hosted the largest Strategic National Stockpile in the United States in 2005, and the DCHHS Medical Reserve Corps received national recognition for outstanding work during response and recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Thompson has served as a member of the Texas Department of Health’s Council of Minority Health Affairs and on the Tuberculosis Funding Formula Development Committee. He was speaker at the Texas Association of Counties Annual Conference in 2006 and has also served as speaker at the annual convention and scientific assembly of the National Medical Association.