Derrick Ward is an associate in the Thompson & Horton Dallas office. A native of the Dallas area and graduate of Garland High School, Derrick is proud to represent public schools and universities in Texas. Prior to joining Thompson & Horton, Derrick worked as a Civil Rights Attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights where he led investigations of alleged violations of federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992, among others.

Before his stint in government, Derrick spent two years as a Law Fellow in the National Education Association’s Office of General Counsel. In that role he handled state and federal court briefing on matters including teacher tenure and due process protections, fair-share fees, school vouchers, employee First Amendment rights, and teacher evaluation fairness and privacy.

During law school, Derrick served as an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow with Nelson, Mullins, Riley, & Scarborough LLP’s Education Counsel LLC in Washington, D.C. and as a Youth Rights Law Clerk and Legislative Team Member with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. He also represented students accused of crimes through the school’s Juvenile Justice Clinic in partnership with the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender’s Office. He served on UT’s Interscholastic Mock Trial Team and the editorial board of the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights.

Before law school, Derrick worked as a high school teacher at Sierra High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He taught U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. Government & Politics. He also served as a regional, state, and national delegate for his local NEA-affiliated teachers association and acted as a representative of the association on the district’s Collaborative Decision Making Team, which negotiated the annual Agreement of Trust and Understanding.


  • Community-Based School Finance and Accountability: A New Era for Local Control in Education Policy?, 49(8) URBAN EDUC. 871 (2014)
  • Separate and Unequal?: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations in Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools, 27 STAN. L. & POL’Y REV. 251 (2016)


  • Johnson v. Sch. Dist. No. 1 in the Cty. of Denver & Colorado, 630 F. App’x 768, 769 (10th Cir. 2015) (co-author of briefing on the merits and successful motion to certify a question of state law to the Colorado Supreme Court).
  • Bain v. California Teachers Ass’n, 156 F. Supp. 3d 1142 (C.D. Cal. 2015) (co-author of successful 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss).
  • Ohio v. Clark, 135 S. Ct. 2173 (2015) (co-author of amici curiae brief on behalf of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National School Boards Association).
  • Vergara v. State, 209 Cal. Rptr. 3d 532, 538 (Ct. App. 2016), as modified (May 3, 2016), reh’g denied (May 3, 2016), review denied (Aug. 22, 2016) (co-author of amicus curiae brief on behalf of the National Education Association).