About Us


John D. Colyandro

Prior to starting Colyandro Public Affairs, John Colyandro  served as Senior Advisor and Policy Director for Governor Greg Abbott, who also appointed him to represent the State of Texas on the Education Commission of the States, and the Transition Legislative Oversight Committee for the Health and Human Services Commission.

Prior to joining the Office of the Governor, John served for over a decade as Executive Director of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, a state-based think-tank that develops public policy recommendations. He also served as Executive Director of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a caucus of members of the Texas House and Senate.

John served previously as a campaign policy advisor to Greg Abbott for Attorney General of Texas and then as a gubernatorial candidate, and has had an active role in numerous campaigns throughout the United States including Texas Senator Phil Gramm’s presidential campaign.

Additional public service roles include chief of staff positions with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Texas Railroad Commission.

John is married with one child.  His wife Gretchen is a stay at home mom who is active in their parish school after working in the President George W. Bush White House and in the office of the Texas Speaker of the House. John is an acolyte and lector at their home parish, and formerly served in the Texas State Guard.  

Michael Barba

Michael Barba has worked in education policy for a decade prior to joining Colyandro Public Affairs as an Associate. Most recently, he served as the Policy Director of K-12 Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he drafted research, legislation, and administrative rules. He and his team published best-in-class research and communication products to establish policies that empower parents and families to take a central role in their children’s education.

Prior to this, Michael served as a specialist on the System of Great Schools (SGS) team at the Texas Education Agency where he helped visionary public school system superintendents understand and deliver the schools that their families want, need, and deserve. Twenty-two districts enrolling about 700,000 students currently participate in the SGS Network. Finally,
Michael has served as the Associate Policy Director for the Catholic bishops of Texas, where he developed a bipartisan state legislative agenda and supported fifteen private school superintendents.

At the core of Michael’s work is a mission to guide policymakers toward serious and sustained reflection on the most fundamental questions that Texans grapple with each day: what must we do to live well? What rights should we claim and honor, and what principles, virtues, and habits do we most need to become productive citizens and good members of our families? How can we go beyond fleeting amusements and find lasting and meaningful happiness in life?

Born and raised in El Paso, Michael completed his undergraduate and graduate education in political philosophy at the University of Dallas.