Dept. of Educator & Leadership Prep

Equity. Empowerment. Engagement. Today. Tomorrow. Together.

New Tagline

The Department of Educator and Leadership Preparation (ELP) worked diligently to create a tagline that exemplified the programs, students, and faculty in the department. Faculty collaborated across programs to determine the new tagline. After much thought, the faculty voted Equity. Empowerment. Engagement. Today. Tomorrow. Together. as the new tagline.

Mission Statements and Core Values

During the start of the Spring semester, faculty members met to determine the mission statement, vision statement, and core values of each program. The exercise was led by Lizzy Perez

Stay tuned as faculty finalize the mission, vision and values of their program.

New ELP Faculty

Dr. Esther Garza Returns to A&M-SA

Dr. Esther Garza returned to A&M-SA in the Fall 2018. Dr. Garza was previously an Assistant Professor in the Bilingual Program. Dr. Garza has returned and continues to work in the Bilingual Program as an Associate Professor.

ELP's Social Gathering to Start the New Year

ELP faculty began the new year by gathering socially to foster collaboration among faculty. After the initial spring meeting, faculty participated in a Paint Palooza party where they painted bluebonnets in a field. Stay tuned for more collaboration events amongst faculty.

New SAISD Cohorts Begin

San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) has partnered with A&M-SA to implement a cohort of SAISD teachers pursuing a Bilingual Master's Degree. Additionally, SAISD has funded its third cohort of teachers pursuing a Master's degree in Reading.

New State Exam

The Educational Leadership Program has been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming changes in the Principal's Certification Exam. The team has been implementing consistent preparation activities to support their students to be successful on the new state exam. The state of Texas required a re-application to the certification process which the team completed in September.

Ed Leadership students have been implementing writing, reflection, and data analysis to best prepare for their future in leadership.

The Educational Leadership Program continues to have the highest passing rates on the Principal’s Certification Exam and Superintendent's in the A&M system.

New Peer Evaluation Process for Annual Year 2019

The ELP faculty members have worked throughout the Fall semester to revise the peer evaluation to make it more rigorous. The faculty voted on the final peer evaluation documents in December. The peer evaluation starts this year, 2019, and faculty will submit their documents to be evaluated in the early days of the Spring semester.

Man of the Year

Dr. Scott was named Man of the Year for the San Antonio Business Journal's 40 Under 40. Dr. Scott is an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership Program. For more information on this prestigious award, please view the article at

Outstanding ELP Alumna

Ebony Joy Tinajero graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development in 2014. Currently, Ebony is in her final semester of coursework and will graduate in December 2018, earning a Master’s degree in Reading from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She is certified to teach Early Childhood through sixth grade education and is currently teaching students in China, focusing on mastering the English language in all subject areas. Ebony plans on continuing to teach online because of the joy she receives teaching her students. Ebony is constantly thinking of new things she wants to be when she ‘grows up’, but teaching will always be a part of her as she is passionate about student learning. Ebony enjoys reading in her spare time, especially books that are recommended to her by friends. To her it is another way to connect with them, by reading what they consider to be good books. Ebony loves Disney, Harry Potter, and just about any story that can engulf her, so much so that Ebony has recently found a new love in watching North Korean dramas.

The Reading faculty enjoyed watching Ebony grow as a student and professional during her coursework! We look forward to the difference she will make in children’s and family’s lives.

Dr. Kearney Co-Authors a New Book

Dr. Kearney co-authored "Bullying from Streets to Schools: Information for Those Who Care. The book focuses on the many aspects of bullying by discussing the perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Additionally, the book examines bullying in the workplace, school, home and virtual environments.

District 3's 6th Annual Early Childhood Training Held at A&M-SA

The Early Childhood Program, in collaboration with Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and Voices for Children of San Antonio, held District 3's 6th Annual Early Childhood Training at A&M-SA. The event provided free professional training to early childhood caregivers in the community serving children Birth -8 year olds.

Drs. Melissa Jozwiak and Patrick McDaniel keynoted the plenary session. The presentation focused on why the caregiver is the essential element in continuity of care. Dr. Jozwiak highligted stories from her book that not only illustrated how caregivers can promote learning in young children via continuity but also the need for caregivers to care for themselves so that learning can happen.

Additionally, students enrolled in EDEC 5349 presented on various topics that illustrated the importance of play as an instructional strategy with young children. Presentations included:

  • The Power of Play & Play and Emotions

-Elisa Olivarri, Stephanie Free, Maria Serna, Jessica Mar

  • Gender Stereotypes & Sexism in Early Childhood & All Children Need Play
-Anna Valenzuela, Jeffrey Olivarez, Valeria Mendez, Laura Joseph, Michelle Valez, Brittany

Rush & Robyn Swiney

  • El aprendizaje y el juego se puede mezclar?
-Norma Gonzalez
  • Playing with STEM in the Early Years
-Melissa Day

Drs. Pittman and Scott Present in Oxnard California

Drs. Pittman and Scott presented at the Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR)'s Fall 2018 Social Justice and Equity Institute. The theme of the Institute was Intentional Activism: Leadership, Literacy, and Social Justice. They presented, Literacy: Access and Equity as a Social Justice Obligation for African American Students. The Institute was held in Oxnard, CA.

Dr. Jasso Wins Teaching Award

Dr. Juan Jasso received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) for 2017-2018. The award is voted on by a committee of peers within the COEHD.

Two Ed Leadership Students Present at Conference

Two students, Christopher McCaskill and Samuel Gonzales, presented at the Graduate Research Exchange at the University Council for Education Administration (UCEA) Annual meeting in Houston in November. The students are enrolled in the Ed Leadership program.

Reading Students Present at TCTELA

Ten Reading students presented at the annual meeting of the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (TCTELA). Rose Ann Robles, Denise Almaguer, Maria Lavander, and

Dr. Ramona T. Pittman presented, Increasing Teachers' Self-Efficacy in Writing Instruction; Giving Voice to the Many Faces of Students Who are Learning Literacy.

Vanessa Quiroz, Giselle Gonzales, and Dr. Ramona T. Pittman presented, Increasing Teachers' Knowledge of Early Reading Skills to Impact the Many Faces of Literacy in Texas, and Meagen Moody, Anne Gutierrez, Dr. Tasha Vice, and Tori Manley presented, Overcoming the Challenges that Forge Achievement Gaps with Moll's Funds of Knowledge.

Lastly, Christian Delgado, Samantha Montes, and Dr. Ramona T. Pittman presented, Beyond Boots, Borders, & Books Towards Increasing Teachers' Knowledge in the Science of Teaching Reading.

The theme of the conference was Beyond Boots, Borders, and Books: The Many Faces of Literacy in Texas. Drs. Pittman and Piper served as Local Arrangements co-chairs. The 2020 conference will be held in North Texas.

Dr. Krimbill Named to Editorial Board

Dr. Elisabeth M. Krimbill was recently named to the editorial board of the Journal of School Leadership. The board membership is a three-year term.

Dr. Pittman Elected to the Medical Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Pittman was elected to the Medical Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC) at the Winston School San Antonio. The mission of The Winston School San Antonio is to provide a personalized, college preparatory education to students with high potential and identified learning differences.

MSAC is a group of volunteer medical and education professionals who meet regularly to help plan and promote learning disabilities outreach programs, including the Winston Learning Series and Annual Learning Symposium.

Drs. Vera and Garfield Receive Grant

Drs. Debbie Vera and Theresa Garfield received a Strategic Plan Grant totaling $10,000 from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The funds were used to provide two workshops pertinent to the campus community. Dr. Laura Pantano, Associate Dean of Students-Health, Wellness, & Safety at Bucknell University, conducted a workshop, Civility in the Workplace, which focused on appropriate and civil communication in the workplace.

Dr. Robert Porter, Director of Research Development at the University of Tennessee, presented a workshop on writing effective grants for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Drs. Mariya Davis and Gavin Watts Present at Conference

Drs. Mariya Davis and Gavin Watts presented at the Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) conference in October. Dr. Davis presented, "Transition for Students with SLD: Engaging Families in the ITP Process", while Dr. Watts presented, "Cross-Age Tutors with EBD for Kindergarteners At-Risk for Mathematics LD".

The conference was held in Portland, Oregon. The 2019 CLD Conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas, October 3-4 at The Westin Riverwalk.

Great News for The Special Education Program's Student Chapter of Council for Learning Disabilities

The first and only national CLD student chapter at Texas A&M University-San Antonio hit a record number of 68 members in the Fall. The students launched a campaign “See the ABLE, not the LABEL” to serve their local community. As Temple Grandin once said, “In special education, there is too much emphasis placed on the deficit and not enough on the strength.” See the ABLE!

Drs. Piper and Pittman Present at ALER, NCTE, and LRA

Drs. Piper and Pittman presented research at the Association for Literacy Education and Research (ALER) in Louisville, KY, and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Houston, TX, which consisted on students presenting alongside faculty. Lastly, they presented at the Literacy Research Association's (LRA) annual meeting in Palm Springs, CA. The presentations focused on African American English and multicultural children's literature.

Fall Symposium

The Ed Leadership team hosted a fall symposium featuring panelists from local school systems. The guests were Teresa Silva, Kevin Vanlanham, Leslie Cooper, Shannon Burns, and Patty Escobedo. The symposium was well attended and appreciated by the students.

Special Education Program's Graduate Students Volunteer

Graduate students, Kelda Sattler and Cynthia Garcia, alongside Dr. Mariya Davis completed community service by volunteering at the Fiesta Especial Royal Court workshop in the Fall semester. Fiesta Especial® is a community engagement program of disABILITYsa.

Fiesta Especial® is also an official Fiesta® San Antonio experience created for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental differences and the family and friends who love them. Fiesta Especial® creates inclusive and educational experiences engaging individuals with disabilities in the culture, diversity and celebrations of Fiesta® through community instruction and training. Individuals with disabilities and our community are invited to take part in the Royal Court, Royalty Run 5K & Parade and Celebration day experiences.

Fiesta Especial® is organized and hosted by disABILITYsa, Fiesta® San Antonio, The Fiesta® Carnival (Wade Shows) and the City of Windcrest.

(Retrieved January 21, 2019 from

Jag Literacy Conference

In the fall, the Reading Program held it's first literacy conference at A&M-SA. The theme of the conference was Reaching Out, Looking In, Rising Up: Voices in Literacy Conference. The conference was funded at $13,000 through the University's University Strategic Plan: Build. Impact. Transform. Grant. The conference featured speakers, such as: Weston L. Collins, Mark Williams, and Dr. Octavio Quintanilla. The plenary session's speaker was Dr. Hsiao-ping Wu from the Bilingual program. The keynote for the luncheon was Dr. Janet Zadina. Additional events held throughout the conference were: Family Literacy Night, Great Ideas for Teachers (G.I.F.T.S.) and student presentations. The conference was spearheaded by Dr. Tasha Vice.

Member of TEA Committee

Dr. Pittman recently served on the TExES Examination Framework Review Committee for the Science of Teaching Reading Certification Exam. The committee consisted on literacy educators from a variety of work environments including higher education and PK-12 schools. The committee met in Austin, TX.

Professional Development Opportunities

Wrightslaw Conference


Thursday, February 7, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


University of Houston, Student Center South
Ballroom 201, Student Center South

Houston, TX 77004-3049

Conference tickets include:

Three Wrightslaw books - A retail value of $62.85

Free Parking at the Welcome Center Garage with the provided voucher provided upon check-in

Free WiFi, Coffee, and Water


Wrightslaw programs are designed for parents, educators, health care providers, advocates and attorneys who represent children with disabilities.

Special education law, rights, and responsibilities

Assessments to measure progress


Tactics and strategies for effective advocacy

The program is not disability specific.

For information, view the flyer.

Dyslexia Conference in Austin

IDA Austin invites you to join us for our 2019 annual conference. IDA Austin serves a wide area of Central, South, and West Texas. This conference is an exciting opportunity for educators, therapists, and families from Waco to Corpus Christi to Ft. Stockton to connect with the dyslexia community.

David A. Kilpatrick is the keynote speaker at this year’s conference.

Six breakout sessions have been added to the conference agenda, which will address in greater detail how to navigate the world of dyslexia.

"Navigating Dyslexia"

2019 IDA Austin Conference

30 Years of Serving the Central Texas Dyslexia Community

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Austin Marriott South

Austin, Texas

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Texas Association for Literacy Education (TALE) Annual Conference - March 1 & 2 in Waco, TX

EARLY CONFERENCE REGISTRATION extended until Friday, Feb. 8.

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS REGISTRATION extended until Friday, Feb. 8. Check out our high-quality, low-cost pre-conference workshops on Thursday, Feb. 28 at

REDUCED RATE HOTEL REGISTRATIONS extended until Thursday, Jan. 31.

Looking forward to seeing you at TALE on March 1 & 2!

For a list of featured speakers including: Stephanie Harvey, Ernest Morrell, and Richard Gentry, click the following link:

HEC Collaborative

The Building RTI Capacity for Implementation in Texas Schools project is part of the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) within the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Funded by the Texas Education Agency for more than 10 years, the project promotes evidence-based practices and resources to build Texas schools’ capacity for implementing Response to Intervention (RTI). The team creates and disseminates information, resources, and tools to enhance instructional decision-making in the areas of reading, mathematics, and behavior. Explore the website at

Faculty can participate in the quarterly meetings by registering using the website.

  • January 15, 2019: Bolstering Tier 1; evidence-based reading practices across the content areas
  • April 23, 2019: Using data within an RTI framework
  • July 23, 2019: Effective, evidence-based intervention

To support attendance, the project can reimburse mileage costs at the state rate (up to $150), provided the necessary paperwork is completed within the allotted timeframe.

Hot Topics in Literacy Series- The School to Prison Pipeline: The Problems with Inequities in Literacy and Schooling

Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 12:30-1:45pm

Vista Room, CAB 402

Inequities exist in many forms across the United States’ public (PK-12) schools. African-American students represent only 16% of the student population, but African American students represented 32% of students who received an in-school suspension; 33% of students who received and out-of-school suspension; 42% of students who received more than one out-of-school suspension; and 34% of students who were expelled. Additionally, African American students represented 27% of the students who were referred to law enforcement, and 31% of students who were subject to a school-based arrest. (Source: ABA Coalition on Rachial and Ethnic Justice, 2018)

This presentation will focus on the inequities in schooling, as well as the disproportionate amount of African American students who end up in prisons. Many times teachers set low expectations for African American students because of the way in which they talk, and prisons can predict how many jail beds are needed based upon third grade readings scores. So, how does language and literacy impact this pipeline? Dr. Carr will pose thought-provoking discussion questions, for audience participation, that will attempt to address solutions to this negative phenomenon.

Please invite your students to attend.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Remaining Hot Topics for the Spring Semester

March 28, Thursday- 12:30 -1:45 Dr. Maria Acevedo-Aquino

Location: TBD

Young Children Responding to Global Literature

April 18, Thursday -11:00- 12:15 Dr. Amanda Lindner

Madla, Room 205

The Importance of Spelling Instruction (Especially for English Language Learners)

Call for Manuscripts

English in Texas, Vol. 49.1
Spring/Summer 2019
Theme: Reflections: Beyond Boots, Borders, and Books: The Many Faces of Literacy in Texas
Manuscript Deadline: April 1, 2019
Column Deadline: April 15, 2019

English in Texas, Vol. 49.2
Fall/Winter 2019
Theme: Teachers as Readers and Writers
Manuscript Deadline: September 1, 2019
Column Deadline: September 1, 2019

Click the link for more information:

Selected Faculty Publications

*Cummings, A.E., Piper, R.E, & Pittman, R.T. (2018). The importance of preparing teachers to teach vocabulary to students in Prek – 12th Grade: The Whys and Hows. Read: An online journal for literacy educators, 4(6)-37-43. (*with A&M-SA student)

Piper, R.E. (2018). Preschool-Aged Children’s Identity Development: Exploring Gender through Multicultural Literature. In B.J. Guzzetti, T. Bean, & J. Dunkerly Bean (Eds), Literacies, Sexualities and Gender: Understanding Identities from Preschool to Adulthood, (pp. PGS). NY, NY: Routledge.

Rowe, D., McNaught, J., Yoho, L., Davis, M., & Mazzotti, V. (2018). Helping students make informed decisions about transition via web-based resources. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 41(4), 252-259.

Sharp, L.A., Diego-Medrano, E., Hughes, C., Raymond, R. D. & Piper, R.E. (2018). Overcoming the Challenges and Pressures Experienced by Literacy Teacher Educators. English in Texas, 48(1), 14 – 19.

Sharp, L. A., Raymond, Roberta D., & Piper, R.E. (2018). The Preparedness of Preservice Literacy Teachers: Viewpoints Among Literacy Teacher Educators. Journal of Teacher Education and Educators, 7(2), 101 – 122.

Sharp, L.A., Piper, R.E., & Raymond, R. (2018). Are we preparing teachers for literacy leadership? The Reading Teacher. 72(2), 223 – 272.

*Zamora, V. & Pittman, R. T. (2018). The effects of two computer-based literacy intervention on students’ reading performance. 2018 TALE Yearbook, 5, 56-62. (*with A&M-SA student)

ELP Leadership

Dr. Debbie Vera- Chair

Dr. Theresa Garfield- Associate Chair

Dr. Ramona T. Pittman-Associate Chair

Edition Editor, Ramona T. Pittman- For comments or concerns, send an email to .

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