STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Dr. Matt Underwood has been named the inaugural Director of Tarleton State University’s dual enrollment program for Texas high school students, Tarleton Today, effective March 1.
Most recently, he served Ranger College as Senior Vice President for Erath and Brown Counties, increasing partnerships with several school districts and expanding dual-credit offerings. He led the Stephenville Independent School District as Superintendent for seven years, the Lago Vista ISD for five and the Mason ISD in 2003-2009.
Slated for a fall 2023 start, Tarleton Today will enable students to earn credit in agricultural and STEM areas while completing graduation requirements at Texas high schools. Credits apply directly for Tarleton undergraduates and can transfer to other four-year universities in the state.
Tarleton already collaborates with more than 350 school districts statewide through its nationally acclaimed Distinguished High School Partners outreach. Launched in 2020, the program guarantees admission and provides annual scholarships to qualifying seniors.
“Increasing the number of high school graduates prepared for post-secondary education is paramount to the economic prosperity of our region,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “With almost 30 years in public education and a commitment to student success, Dr. Underwood is the perfect choice to help us build pathways of opportunity and access for many more students.”
Students participating in Tarleton Today will take university courses over a traditional school year, receiving the high school portion of their instruction from their high school teacher and the university portion from a Tarleton professor. In addition to course content, Tarleton faculty will empower students with university-ready skills and provide professional development for collaborating teachers.
“The scope of this initiative is limitless,” Dr. Underwood said. “Expanding opportunities for students to earn college credit while still in high school has been my passion for more than 20 years. Giving them the tools they need to succeed at an NCAA Division I university will change their lives forever.”
Dr. Underwood began his career as a teacher and athletic coach at Boerne Middle School, advancing to Assistant Principal before moving to the Mason and Llano systems as Principal.
Under his leadership, the Stephenville school district received its first A rating by the Texas Education Agency in 2019. And more than $68 million in facility upgrades were made at Stephenville campuses.
His numerous honors include 2008 Region XV Superintendent of the Year, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards.
He earned a doctorate in education at the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s in educational leadership at Texas A&M and a bachelor’s in history at Texas State University.A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.